Herd’s Selby named to Rimington Trophy Watch List

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall junior center Michael Selby, who is making a big move on the Thundering Herd offensive line for the 2015 season, was named today to the Rimington Trophy Watch List.

The Rimington is presented annually to the nation’s outstanding center in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). The award is presented by the Boomer Esiason Foundation. Selby is among 63 names on the watch list.

Selby is expected to make his first career start at center when the Herd opens the 2015 season on Sept. 6 against Purdue at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Selby is moving from right guard, where he started all 14 games last season, helping Coach Doc Holliday’s team to a 13-1 record, a Conference USA title and a final national ranking (No. 22/23).

Selby has been a mainstay on the Herd offensive front for his two seasons at guard with the Herd. A 6-foot-2, 276-pounder from Sandersville, Ga., Selby has played in 27 games for one of the nation’s top offenses.

At center, he follows two-time All-C-USA first team selection Chris Jasperse, a past Rimington candidate who is now a rookie with the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals. Jasperse started every game (53) in his Herd career, finishing with 4,040 snaps.

Selby has been part of an offensive line that has brought Marshall to the most improved rushing offense over the past two seasons. In 2012, the Herd averaged 4.23 yards per carry. In Selby’s two seasons in the program, that average has increased to 5.05 in 2013 and 6.81 last season. That 2.58-yard improvement is tops in major college football over that span.

With Selby in the starting lineup up front, the Herd averaged 559.2 yards total offense last season – ranking second nationally to Baylor (581.5). Marshall ranked No. 8 in rushing offense and No. 18 in passing, and was the only offense to rank in the top 20 in both categories besides College Football Playoff finalist Oregon.

Selby was voted to the Conference USA All-Freshman Team in 2013. He is one of seven C-USA centers on the 2015 Rimington Watch List.

Auburn’s Reese Dismukes won the 2014 Rimington Trophy.

The award was established for the 2000 football season. Since its inception, the Rimington Trophy has raised over $2.6 million for the cystic fibrosis community. The Boomer Esiason Foundation, which is committed to finding a cure for cystic fibrosis, has raised over $115 million for CF Research.

Dave Rimington, the award’s namesake, was a consensus All-America first team center at Nebraska in 1981 and 1982, during which time he became the Outland Trophy’s only double winner as the nation’s finest college interior lineman.

The Rimington finalists for 2015 will be announced on Dec. 7. The winner will be recognized at the Rimington Trophy Presentation at the Tococo Theatre in Lincoln, Neb., on Jan. 16, 2016.

Johnson on

Maxwell Award list

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall star running back Devon Johnson, who burst into national consciousness last season with 1,767 rushing yards for the nationally ranked Herd, was named today to the Maxwell Award Watch List for the 2015 season.

The Maxwell Football Club, of Philadelphia, has presented the Maxwell Award annually to the national college football player of the year since 1937. The 2015 Maxwell Watch List includes 80 players.

Johnson, a senior from Richlands, Va., was moved to running back in August camp prior to last season by Coach Doc Holliday and his staff after Johnson had previous stints at linebacker and tight end. Despite missing one game and significant portions of others, the 6-foot-2, 242-pound Johnson gave Marshall a new balance on offense with his bullish rushing.

Johnson – nicknamed “Rockhead” by Herd players and coaches — was moved from tight end primarily to provide protection in the passing game. By season’s end of a Conference USA championship year for the No. 22/23 Herd (13-1), Johnson had 10 games of 100 or more rushing yards, including a school-record 272 yards in an Oct. 25 victory over Florida Atlantic.

He also had games of 198 yards at Old Dominion and 199 yards against Rice. Forty-eight of his 206 rushes were for 10 or more yards, and he had 14 carries of 30 or more yards. Johnson’s longest run was a 75-yarder in a crucial late-season victory at UAB. He also had six pass receptions for 121 yards and two touchdowns – and didn’t allow a sack in picking up blitzes.

His 8.58 yards per carry topped all FBS running backs who carried more than 150 times during the season. Johnson ranked fifth nationally with 135.9 yards per game, and ran for 17 touchdowns, including a season-high four TDs in the win over FAU. Johnson’s 1,767 rushing yards ranks No. 2 in Herd history (Chris Parker, 1,833 in 1995) and is the school mark in Marshall’s major-college seasons.

Johnson was one of 10 semifinalists last season for the Doak Walker Award, which is presented to the nation’s top running back. He led Conference USA in rushing and was voted by league coaches as an all-conference first team selection. And with Johnson leading the way, Marshall set a school record for ground yards in a season, with 3,807, topping the previous mark (3,395 in 1996) by more than 400 yards.

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota won the 2014 Maxwell Award.

Semifinalists for the 2015 Maxwell Award will be announced Nov. 2, while names of the three finalists will be unveiled Nov. 23. The winner of the 2015 Maxwell Award will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show Dec. 10, 2015. The formal presentations will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala hosted by Tropicana Hotel & Casino Atlantic City on March 11, 2016.

Johnson and the Herd will open the 2015 season on Sunday, Sept. 6 (Labor Day weekend) at 3 p.m. against Purdue at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. The Boilermakers will be the first Big Ten Conference football team to visit Huntington.

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