They know how to grow them in Texas. Football players, not farmer’s daughters. Ram seniors, Crockett Gillmore and Weston Richburg, both of whom graduated from Bushland High School in Texas, have been recognized for excellence before the season has even begun.
Gillmore has been named to the John Mackey Award preseason watch list for his second consecutive year. Of the 37 players in the country to make the cut, three of whom are from the Mountain West Conference.
The award, currently held by Notre Dame’s former tight end, Tyler Eifert, is given annually to the collegiate TE who most exemplifies Hall-of-Famer, John Mackey, both in field production an off-the-field class.
Gillmore began his career as a Ram playing defensive end, but switched to tight end in 2011. He has since totaled 64 receptions for 731 yds and six touchdowns. Gilmore started in 22 of the 32 games he has played for CSU.
He and his partner, junior Kivon Cartwright, have combined for 93 career receptions totaling 1,104 yds and nine touchdowns, making them one of the most effective tight end pairings in the nation.
For CSU’s center and captain, Richburg, this is his third consecutive year to be placed on the Rimington Trophy watch list. This award, named after Nebraska’s Dave Rimington, and held by Alabama’s Barrett Jones, is given to the most outstanding center in college football.
The 6-4 power house has anchored the offensive line in all 36 starts in his career for the Rams. He is one of only 24 players in the nation with 36 or more career starts, and has the third-most starts of any center Division I.
Throughout his tenure at CSU, Richburg has greatly improved the offensive line, allowing the offense to rush an average, of 169.6 ypg in the final half of the 2012 season, up from 99.7. They also reduced their previous average of 3.6 sacks per game to just 1.0; allowing only two in the final three games of the season.
This honor is one of many decorating Richburg, he was a second-team All-Mountain West selection in 2011 and an honorable mention All-MW in 2010 and 2012. This year, he has also been named to the Outland Trophy watch list and Rotary Lombardi Award, both of which are specific to outstanding linemen. The awards are set to be announced on July 11 and 15 respectively.
Gillmore and Richburg will have a longer anticipation for the presentation of both the John Mackey Award winner and the Rimington Trophy recipient. Mid-season honors for the Mackey award will be given on Oct. 14, semi-finalists on Nov. 18, finalists a week later, with the final winner announced on Dec. 12, at The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPNU. The Rimington Trophy will be presented on Jan. 14, 2014 at the Rococo Theatre in Lincoln, Neb.
The Rams’ season opener vs. the University of Colorado is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 1 at 4 p.m. MT. Student tickets are on sale now for $20 at CSURams.com.