Who is Matt Stankiewitch? I, for one, hadn't heard much of him before he was named the starting center in preseason camp in 2011.
That's on me.
Stank came out of Blue Mountain High School in Schuylkill Haven, PA, a consensus 3/4 star offensive guard who seamlessly shifted to the center position last year, and is a finalist for the Rimington trophy, given to the nation's top Center; this trophy was last won by a Penn Stater when AQ Shipley won it following the 2008 season.
He's anchored a line that was decent last year (allowed the fewest number of sacks in the Big Ten), but made remarkable strides this year, allowing only 21 sacks on the season (1.75 per game) and paving the way for Zach Zwinak's 1000 yard rushing season, a feat virtually no one expected preseason. Stank was also named to the coaches first team All-Big Ten team, and was on the media's second team.
After redshirting in 2008, Stank saw time in all twelve games of his RS freshman season in 2009, including starting at Guard in two games. He played sparingly in the first six games of his sophomore season in 2010 before being sidelined for injury, so you'll have to forgive me for being surprised that he was named the starter for 2011.
I've rarely been more glad to have underestimated a player, as Stankiewitch has exceeded all expectations I, and many others, had for him. NFL Draft Scout lists him as their #10 center coming out of college, which seems a bit low considering his contention for the Rimington, but regardless of what his future holds, he no doubt will be successful, as he's scheduled to graduate this month with degrees in management and advertising/public relations.
Thanks, Matt, for the years of your time in blue and white--we at Black Shoe Diaries salute you.
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