Temple center Matt Hennessy is spending some postseason time in rare company. Named a first-team All-American Athletic Conference choice last week, the 6-foot-4, 295-pound Hennessy is among three finalists for the Rimington Trophy, which honors the top center in college football.
The winner will be announced Thursday on ESPNU.
Joining Hennessy, a redshirt junior, as finalists are Oklahoma redshirt sophomore Creed Humphrey (6-5, 316) and Wisconsin junior Tyler Biadasz (6-3, 318).
“It’s been a long-term goal of mine to be a finalist,” Hennessy said.
He’s especially grateful since his two competitors come from highly regarded Power Five schools.
“I thought regardless of my level of play, I didn’t know if the exposure would be there, competing with schools like Wisconsin and Oklahoma which are routinely in the Top 10,” Hennessy said. “I thank our media department for that."
He also should thank his game film, which spoke volumes this year.
This season in 11 starts (he missed one game because of injury), Hennessy has allowed only four pressures and no sacks.
“A lot of that is having guys next to me like Jovahn Fair and Vincent Picozzi and then Joseph Hooper stepping in," he said. “I think in Jovahn and Vincent, I have played next to two of the better guards in the country.”
Fair is a two-time second-team all-conference choice, and Picozzi was having an outstanding season until suffering a season-ending lower-body injury during the ninth game, a 17-7 win at South Florida. Hooper started the final three games in his place.
Hennessy has made 35 career starts at Temple and will add another when the Owls (8-4) play North Carolina (6-6) in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27 in Annapolis, Md.
Beyond that, his future is unknown. Hennessy, who will graduate this month, says he hasn’t decided whether he will enter the NFL draft.
“Right now I am excited to play in the Military Bowl,” he said.
So he will prepare for the bowl, but before that, enjoy being a finalist for such a prestigious award, no matter who is the winner.
“It’s kind of like a dream come true,” he said. “It’s hard to fathom, really.”