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The stalwart of Iowa’s offensive line is earning recognition early and often

NCAA Football: Michigan at Iowa Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa center James Daniels has solidified himself as a potential front-runner for the Rimington Trophy.

Daniels was put on the watch list back in May, but the Boomer Esiason Foundation finalized its final preseason watch list this morning.

The Rimington Trophy is awarded the nation’s best center; no Iowa player has won it in its 17-year history. Former Iowa center Austin Blythe was a finalist for the award in 2015.

Daniels started 11 games last year at center, missing two starts to injury. He started two games as a true freshman at guard in 2015, seeing action in all 14 games during that season’s run to the Rose Bowl.

Daniels is poised to be the next great offensive lineman from Iowa. Last year he was named third team All-Big Ten by Big Ten coaches and media, and first team Sophomore All-America by Campus Insiders. His play has been instrumental to Iowa’s success in the run game over the past two seasons, and he will continue to be relied upon heavily as Iowa breaks in a new offensive coordinator this year.