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Mountain West football: Three players named to Rimington Trophy watch list

A fairly extensive initial list doesn't have much good news for the MWC, but a trio of returning starters made the cut.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Watch list season rolls on as the Rimington Trophy, given annually to the nation's top center, released a lengthy list of candidates today that, surprisingly, includes just three names from the Mountain West.

Bo Bonnheim is one of three returning seniors along the offensive line for the Fresno State Bulldogs, having started 21 games over the last two seasons. Though Fresno's aerial attack struggled throughout the season, Bonnheim did help power a running game that averged just over 4.5 yards per carry.

Austin Stephens, on the other hand, became part of the solution for the overhauled Utah State Aggies line in 2014, picking up where former all-conference performer Tyler Larsen left off during last year's 10-win campaign. USU's rushing numbers improved over the course of the year, averaging 5.23 yards per carry in conference action, and Stephens figures to anchor a more experienced line in 2015.

The third is Boise State Broncos center Marcus Henry, who has 27 starts under his belt and was a first-team all-Mountain West performer last year. He spearheaded the Mountain West's most efficient attack in 2014, and can be considered the best of the conference's top line heading into the upcoming season.

The MWC's sparse presence is a far cry from a year ago, in which six Mountain West centers were named to the watch list. All of last year's six eventual finalists came from Power 5 conferences, including Rimington winner Reese Dismukes from Auburn.