Jarod Thornton becomes first North Central football player to win the Rimington Award

North Central College football player Jarod Thornton wins the 2023 Division III Rimington Award
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North Central College senior offensive lineman Jarod Thornton was named the Division III 2023 Rimington Award winner, which is given to the top centers in FCS, Division II, Division III and NAIA college football.

Thornton finishes off a decorated career

In his fourth season as a starter with the Cardinals, Thornton was also named a 1st team All-American by d3football.com and the Associated Press. The senior and his fellow o-linemen helped propel NCC to the number one scoring offense in all of Division III football and a runner up finish in the National Championship game. Thornton was part of National Championship victories in 2019 as a freshman and as a junior in 2022. He played in the Stagg Bowl in all four seasons. Since joining the NCC program out of Homewood-Flossmoor, the Cardinals went 56-3 in games Thornton started at center.

This past season the Cardinals led all of Division III football in scoring offense (58.6 points per game), total offense (567.5 yards per game) and passing efficiency (249.02) in 2023 while setting new CCIW single-season records for points (576), points per game (64.0), touchdowns (83), total yards (5,504) and yards per game (611.6) in CCIW conference play. North Central established a new all-divisions collegiate record for scoring (879) and set new North Central single-season offensive records for total yards (8,513) and touchdowns (126).

The man Thornton snapped the ball to for the past three seasons, Luke Lehnen was also named the recipient of the 2023 Gagliardi Trophy.

Thornton succeeds on the field and off

In addition to being the first North Central player to win the Rimington, Thornton was named a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by the National Football Foundation (NFF) to the nation’s top scholar-athlete in September. He graduated from North Central in May with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Management.

The 2023 Rimington Award winner in the FCS Division is Gus Miller of South Dakota State University. The starting quarterback for SDSU is former Neuqua Valley star Mark Gronowski, who has led the Jackrabbits back to the FCS National Championship game after winning the title in 2022.