New Kansas football center Mike Novitsky enters the 2021 campaign as one of the top players at his position. Novitsky was named to the Rimington Trophy Watchlist on Friday, the Boomer Esiason Foundation announced.
Novitsky, a redshirt junior transfer from Buffalo who arrived in Lawrence this summer, is one of 40 centers nationally to be recognized. He is one of five centers in the Big 12 to make the list along with Colin Newell of Iowa State, Oklahoma State’s Danny Godlevske, Steve Avila of TCU, and Texas Tech’s Dawson Deaton.
Given his resume, it is no surprise that Novitsky was named to this watch list. Novitsky started 20 straight games at center for Buffalo over the 2019 and 2020 seasons and was named first-team All-MAC last year.
Last season, he helped block for an offense that ranked second in the nation in rushing yards per game and allowed only one sack on the year. The Buffalo offensive line was a semifinalist for the Joe Moore Award, which is given to the top offensive line in the FBS.
What is interesting is that this year’s committee worked with Pro Football Focus to narrow down the list to the top centers nationally.
Per PFF’s NCAA premium stats, Novitsky had the third-highest offensive grade among all centers in college football with a mark of 88.3 in 2020. He was also fourth among centers in run blocking with a grade of 86.5. The Jayhawks, meanwhile, ranked last among all FBS programs in center grade last season.