Accolades continue to come in for Reese Dismukes, Auburn's heart and soul
SI.com released their 2014 Preseason All-America Team on Tuesday and the SEC is well represented with 16 players.
The lone Auburn Tiger named to the squad is center Reese Dismukes, who is on the second team. Oregon’s Hroniss Grasu is the first team center.
Dismukes, labeled as the heart and soul of Auburn’s offense, could be in training camp right now for an NFL squad. His decision to return makes Auburn’s offensive line unequivocally better. Losing Dismukes along with Alex Kozan, out for the season with a back injury, would have been difficult.
To say that Dismukes is a special breed of center would be an understatement.
Dismukes comes from a family of football players. His grandfather played at Georgia Tech and his brother was a kicker at Alabama. Dismukes came to Auburn in 2011 because he knew that he would have a chance to start early. Senior Ryan Pugh, who started at center as a freshman, was graduating. No one excepted Dismukes to follow in Pugh’s footsteps but he did. Dismukes beat out a third-year sophomore for the starting job and, like Pugh, would be in the starting lineup as a freshman. In a league dominated by fierce pass-rushers, starting as an 18-year old speaks volumes.
From the time he first snapped the ball to Barrett Trotter against Utah State on Sept. 3, 2011 until last year’s national championship game, Dismukes has been a model of consistency. Auburn has played in 40 games since Dismukes arrived on campus. He has missed just three games. In all 37 games that Dismukes has played, he’s started.
“Yeah, it is pretty rare to come into this league, start early and stick around,” Dismukes said at SEC Media Days back in July. “One of the reasons I came to Auburn was the chance to start as a freshman. That ended up happening. Thankfully I’m not a freshman anymore because I was terrible.”
Dismukes wasn’t that bad considering he was named to the SEC Coaches’ All-Freshman Team. After getting past ankle and elbow injuries his sophomore year, the accolades came frequently. Last season he was a preseason second team All-SEC and a first team All-SEC center at the end of year. He won the Ken Rice Award as Auburn’s best blocking lineman and was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll. Perhaps the greatest acknowledgement of Dismukes’ success has been being named to Rimington Watch List three years running and being a finalist last year.
“It would be awesome to win a Rimington,” Dismukes said. “But at the end of the day, all that matters is if you win football games. If you do that, you’re going to be in the hunt for one of those awards at the end of the year.”
What makes Dismukes so good at blocking and open in up holes for Auburn’s running backs is his ability to make changes once the ball is snapped.
“My job as a coach is for (players) to know what to do before the ball is snapped,” said Auburn offensive line coach J.B. Grimes, who is entering his 35th year of coaching. “To be an efficient player, he has got to know where that first play is going. Then when the ball is snapped, you only know what is going to happen by throwing them out there and seeing if they can do it. They’ve got to be able to make adjustments. Reese Dismukes is the best I have ever seen at being able to adjust to different things.”