Cal football’s Michael Saffell earns Rimington Trophy watchlist nomination

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Cal offensive lineman Michael Saffell, the projected starting center for the Bears this fall, was named to the Rimington Trophy watchlist Friday morning. The honor is annually awarded to college football’s best center and is named after former Nebraska star Dave Rimington.

After spending his first two seasons at right guard, Saffell will replace veteran Addison Ooms and return to the position where he won first-team all-state honors in high school.

As a true sophomore last season, Saffell recorded starts in each of Cal’s first six contests before suffering a season-ending injury. He surrendered just four pressures in 266 pass-blocking attempts.

In addition to his strong play up front, he earned first-team Pac-12 All-Academic honors as an intended business administration major. Saffell also inherited Patrick Laird’s Summer Reading Challenge for the upcoming season, acting as the program’s ambassador after Laird’s departure to the NFL.

In 2017, Saffell was one of just four true freshmen on the roster to see action, participating in seven games and making two starts. He is the second Cal student-athlete to earn preseason watchlist recognition, joining inside linebacker Evan Weaver (who made the Chuck Bednarik Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy lists).

Josh Yuen covers football. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @joshcal2020.