Louisville redshirt senior center Mario Benavides was named to the 2012 Rimington Award Watch List Thursday, marking his third season on the list.
A 6-foot-4, 301-pound bruiser, Benavides has missed just four games in his career and has started 34 games. He struggled with injuries throughout last season and missed spring practice to have surgery so that he'll be healthy for the 2012 season.
Benavides missed the first three games of last season, but returned to make 10 straight starts to help Louisville grab a share of the Big East Championship and a berth in the Belk Bowl.
Benavides was rock solid his first two seasons, starting all 12 games at center as a redshirt freshman while being named to Phil Steele's Postseason First Team All-Freshmen squad. He started 12 of 13 games his sophomore season, and was known for his smart, physical play in the interior line.
The 50-player 2012 Rimington Award Watch List includes 21 returning players from the 2011 Watch List, including Benavides. The SEC leads the way with nine players while the ACC, Big Ten, Mountain West, and PAC-12 check in with five players each. There are two graduate students and seven sophomores on the Watch List.