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Wisconsin football: C Dan Voltz named to second consecutive Rimington Trophy watch list

Voltz named to the spring watch list for the nation's best center...again.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Another spring watch list announced. Another Wisconsin Badgers offensive linemen named to said watch list.

For the second-consecutive year, junior center Dan Voltz was named Tuesday to the spring watch list for the Rimington Trophy -- given to the nation's top center.

Voltz anchored an offensive line in 2014 that helped spring former Badgers running back Melvin Gordon to 2,587 yards rushing, including a then-FBS record 408 yards vs. Nebraska on Nov. 15. The Badgers' offense ran for an average of 320.1 yards per game, third-best in the FBS.

The 6'3, 311-pound center will be needed to help anchor a younger and less experienced offensive line in 2015 in head coach Paul Chryst's pro-style offense, but will have talented junior running back Corey Clement to open holes for. Clement ran for 949 yards and nine touchdowns in 2014 with a 6.5 yards per carry average.

Here's the official press release from the Wisconsin athletic department:

MADISON, Wis. -- Dan Voltz is once again in the middle of the discussion when it comes to determining the nation's top center.

The Wisconsin junior was named Tuesday to the spring watch list for the Rimington Trophy, giving him preseason consideration for the award for the second-consecutive year.

Voltz is one of 52 players included on the list of candidates for the award presented annually to the best center in college football, which includes six from Big Ten Conference programs.

The Barrington, Illinois, native started all 14 games at center for Wisconsin last season and helped the Badgers post a school-record rushing performance that saw UW average 320.1 yards per game to rank No. 3 nationally.

Wisconsin averaged 6.91 yards per carry, the fourth-best mark in FBS history, and posted the nation's two most prolific rushing performances of the season by tallying a school-record 644 yards vs. Bowling Green on Sept. 20 and 581 yards vs. Nebraska on Nov. 15.

Voltz was part of the offensive line that led the way for Heisman Trophy runner-up Melvin Gordon to pile up 2,587 rushing yards -- second-most in FBS history -- and a total of 32 touchdowns.

Gordon and fellow running back Corey Clement combined to cover 3,536 yards, smashing the FBS single-season record for rushing yards by a pair of teammates -- which Gordon and then-teammate James White set at 3,053 just a year earlier.

Overall, Wisconsin's offense averaged 468.9 total yards per game last season, the third-highest total in program history. UW's line also allowed just 13 quarterback sacks in 14 games.

Voltz gives the Badgers a preseason candidate for the Rimington Trophy for the sixth time in the last seven seasons. He joins John Moffitt (2009), Peter Konz (2010, 2011) and Travis Frederick (2012) -- each went on to become NFL draft picks -- as preseason honorees in that timeframe.

Al Johnson, who achieved the distinction in 2002, is the Badgers' lone Rimington Trophy finalist.

Dave Rimington, the award's namesake, was a consensus first-team All-America 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 Trophy uses the All-America teams named by the Walter Camp Foundation, Sporting News and Football Writers Association of America to determine the recipient of the award. The winner will be recognized at the Rococo Theatre in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Jan. 16, 2016.