While the Iowa Hawkeyes still have just over three weeks to prepare for their matchup with the #22 Kentucky Wildcats in the VRBO Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day, we have officially hit awards season in college football. Interestingly, after a season in which offensive woes plagued the Hawkeyes and defense and special teams led the way to a 10-win season, it’s an offensive player who brings home some major national hardware.
Junior center Tyler Linderbaum was awarded the Rimington Trophy on Thursday evening as part of the College Football Award Show. Linderbaum becomes Iowa’s first ever recipient of the award given annually to the nation’s top center.
Linderbaum was one of three finalists for the award, beating out Boston College’s Alec Lindstrom and Virginia’s Olusegun Oluwatimi. The winner was determined via the voting for three separate All-America teams: the Walter Camp Foundation, Sporting News, and Football Writers Association of America.
While Iowa’s first winner of the prestigious award, Linderbaum was only the third Hawkeye to be named a finalist and the first to do it twice after making the cut a season ago. Austin Blythe was the last Hawkeye other than Linderbaum to be named a finalist. He earned the honors in 2015. Before him, Bruce Nelson was Iowa’s only other finalist back in 2002.
Beyond the Rimington Trophy, Linderbaum was also a finalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award, given annually “to the college football lineman —offense or defense-who, in addition to outstanding performance and ability, best exemplifies the character and discipline of Vince Lombardi.” Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson took home those honors on Wednesday.
Linderbaum was also one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy, presented to the nation’s top interior lineman. Those honors went to Jordan Davis, defensive tackle of Georgia.
Earlier in the year, Linderbaum was named first team All-big Ten by both the coaches and the media while being named the Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year in the Big Ten. He was a first team All-American at midseason according to the Associated Press, The Athletic, CBS Sports and Sporting News.
Linderbaum is certainly not done earning awards. Expect several more All-America honors in the coming weeks.