Swanson one of six Rimington finalists

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas senior Travis Swanson is one of six finalists for the Rimington Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top center.

Swanson became a finalist after starting every game on the Razorbacks’ offensive line in 2013. He started every game in his career, too, logging his 50th straight in Arkansas’ season-ending loss at LSU on Nov. 29.

“When I first came into this, obviously, you’re not thinking I want to start 50 straight games. It kind of just happens,” Swanson said before the LSU game. “I’m thankful for it, to be able to not miss any of those (games).”

The two-year captain joins Auburn’s Reese Dismukes, Oregon’s Hroniss Grasu, Oklahoma’s Gabe Ikard, Utah State’s Tyler Larsen and Florida State’s Bryan Stork as finalists. The 2013 Rimington Trophy winner will be named Thursday before the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

The Rimington winner is selected by determining the consensus All-American center from three existing All-America teams (Walter Camp Foundation, Sporting News and Football Writer’s Association of America).

Swanson — who Arkansas coach Bret Bielema repeatedly called the best center in the country this season — would be the second Razorback to win the award if selected. Former Hog Jonathan Luigs won the 2007 Rimington Trophy.

But Bielema believes Swanson has the tools to have a successful NFL career even if he isn’t recognized as the top center in college football with the Rimington Trophy.

“Travis got invited to the Senior Bowl, and if he goes and performs the way that I’ve seen him perform in practice, he will be no less than a second-round draft pick,” Bielema said before the LSU game.