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Nebraska's Rimington gains national fame at oft-overlooked center position

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In football, he who hikes is invisible, or nearly so. After the snap the center generally just becomes a needle in a haystack of flying bodies. At Nebraska, though, things are a bit different, since Dave Rimington is a haystack in his own right.

He stands 6 ft. 3 in. and tips the scales somewhere in the vicinity of 290 lbs. That puts him in the Incredible Hulk department even by major college football standards. But size alone doesn't account for all the accolades Rimington has received.

A consensus All-America for two straight seasons, he swept the Outland and Vince Lombardi awards this year as the nation's top lineman, and finished fifth in balloting for the Heisman Trophy, which has never gone to an interior lineman.

The Gibraltar-like economics major was also a shining example in the classroom, where his 3.2-grade point average earned him recognition as a top scholar-athlete by the National Football Foundation. Only one other player on a ranked team was similarly honored.

Rimington was whisked to the foundation's recent New York luncheon after a 17 -hour commute from Hawaii, where Nebraska completed its 12-game regular season. (College rules allow a 12th game, when it's played in Alaska or Hawaii.) With final exams coming up, the beefy senior had wanted to do some studying on the long flight, but instead fell asleep.

Missing what he called one of the most important weeks of the school year would be tough, but if there's one thing he's learned to do at Nebraska, besides blocking, it's how to cram. ''I've never had very good study habits,'' he said. ''I don't have that much time.''

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