Miami Hurricanes center Jakai Clark potential award winning season

MIAMI, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 23:. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 23:. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Miami Hurricanes center Jakai Clark has the potential for an award-winning season. Clark was named to the Rimington Trophy Watch List last week. The Rimington Trophy honors the best center in college football. Clark was one of 40 centers named to the watch list and one of five from the ACC.

The trophy is named after former Nebraska center Dave Rimington. Rimington was a consensus First-Team All-America in 1981 and 1982. Clark is entering his second season as the starting center for Miami after taking over for Corey Gaynor in the middle of the 2021 season. The watch list was announced Friday morning.

The Rimington Trophy worked with Pro Football Focus to select the 40 centers on the watch list. Brett Romberg in 2002 is the only Miami center to win the Rimington Trophy. Clark was far better in pass protection than as a run blocker in 2021 per the Pro Football Focus metrics. Clark needs to improve to win the Rimington Trophy in 2022.

Clark is part of an experienced offensive line returning for Miami in 2022. In 32 career games, Clark has made 31 starts. Clark started the final nine games at center in 2021. As a true freshman in 2019, Clark started the final 12 games at right guard. Clark didn’t play in the 2019 season opener versus Florida.

As a true sophomore in 2020 Clark started 10 games primarily at left guard. Clark began the 2021 season as a third-year sophomore as the backup to Gaynor. Clark enters the 2022 season as a fourth-year junior with the extra year of eligibility granted to all 2020-21 athletes due to Covid.

Fourth-year junior left tackle Zion Nelson and fifth-year offensive lineman D.J. Scaife join Clark as extremely experienced starters for the Miami Hurricanes up front. Jalen Rivers who was a significant contributor as a true freshman in 2020 returns after missing all but three games in 2021 with a knee injury.

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Scaife projects as the starting right tackle. The Miami starting right guard will likely be decided during training camp in August. Clark, Nelson and Scaife returning for Miami gives the Hurricanes a lot of experience on the OL and a good foundation for the 2022 season. Clark should have his best collegiate season in 2022.