For two weeks, Reese Dismukes was committed to The University of Alabama. Growing up in Spanish Fort, Alabama, he may have been an Auburn fan, but he was committed to The University of Alabama.
He wasn’t the first member of his family to commit to Alabama as his older brother Jonah was a former kicker for The Crimson Tide. Playing time and how his mother felt about the decision were two of the biggest reasons that swayed him to Auburn instead.
“I was committed to Alabama under the table for like two weeks, my mom cried every night, so that played a big reason,” Dismukes said. “But at the end of the day it came down to playing time, I could go into Auburn, and I could play right away or at least have that chance.”
William Vlachos was Alabama’s center at the time. As a returning senior, it might have been difficult for a newcomer in Dismukes to beat Vlachos out for the starting center job.
Dismukes chose the Tigers, and the rest was history.
He was Auburn’s starting center from 2011-14, and during Dismukes' time at Auburn, he started in all 50 games that he played in. He missed two during the 2012 season, but outside of that, every game he played in was a start.
That type of longevity was valuable for Auburn after First Team All-SEC center Ryan Pugh graduated after the 2010 season.
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“I was lucky to stay fairly healthy throughout my career,” Dismukes said. “My coaches in high school prepared me from a game standpoint and a mentality standpoint that gave me the ability to learn the offense quick and then take control.”
Dismukes did not just learn the offense quickly but also succeeded in his role. He was selected to the First Team All-SEC twice during his four-year career, along with being the first Auburn offensive lineman to win the Rimington Trophy.
The Rimington Trophy is given to the best center in all of college football. Dismukes won the trophy in his senior season. While he received a lot of awards and accolades during his time, being a two-time captain means just as much.
“I’m probably more proud of being a captain of the team twice,” Dismukes said. “You know that’s probably my most proud accomplishment.”
While the awards and accolades highlighted Dismukes, he considers them team awards. Winning the Rimington Trophy was one of the reasons that he came back for his senior season, and the trophy may have Reese Dismukes name on it, but he shares it with his fellow offensive linemen.
“I wasn’t the only person that won that per se,” Dismukes said. “I know I got the trophy, but you had Chad Slade, you had Avery Young, Alex Kozan those guys that were next to me. You had Greg and Shon, you had Patrick Miller and even had Danzey in there some. That was a unit award, can’t do anything without the guy next to you.”
For those wondering where the trophy is now, Dismukes’ parents have the award.
As the starting center from 2011-14, Dismukes experienced both the highs and lows that Auburn went through during this time frame.
He was there in 2012 when the Tigers went 3-9, and head coach Gene Chizik was fired. He was also there when Auburn stormed back in 2013, winning the SEC and earning a spot in the BCS National Championship.
While the 2013 season was magical for fans, it is special for Dismukes too. The 2013 season is his favorite memory while at Auburn. Auburn took the SEC West by storm, and the offensive line helped pave the way for the nation’s best rushing offense.
“We had a unit, we led the nation in rushing, and I don’t think that’s ever been done by an SEC team, so probably that year,” Dismukes said. “Just how it didn’t matter who it was, it was the number one defense in the country or the worst defense in the country; we were going to take it to you and make you like it.”
Dismukes may no longer suit up for the Tigers on Saturdays in the fall, but he has stayed plenty busy. Since graduating from Auburn, he spent some time on NFL practice squads for the Carolina Panthers, Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos.
After retiring from football, Dismukes is back in Mobile, Alabama, where he works as a commercial insurance broker. He specializes in insuring transportation companies, but anyone with a business, he is more than happy to help.
Dismukes has also started a non-profit called The 50 Foundation. The organization’s mission statement is “Our Mission is to raise awareness & funding for Epilepsy and other organizations that enable and foster the betterment of our society’s youth.”
The creation of The 50 Foundation was important for Dismukes.
“My little brother has epilepsy; I was fortunate enough to go play football and meet a lot of people,” Dismukes said. “That was a way that when I came back home and wanted to continue to give back to the community that really supported me and especially my family, and that was the real reason there just to give back and try and find a cure for epilepsy.”
Outside of his non-profit and commercial insurance responsibilities, Dismukes has created a podcast with former teammate Alex Kozan called Auburn Football: Between The Tackles.
This might sound like a tough schedule to manage, but Dismukes still finds time to follow along with Auburn football during the season.
As a former offensive lineman for the Tigers, Dismukes is hoping that fans will be patient with this year’s offensive line. The Tigers are replacing four starters on the offensive line and have hired a new offensive line coach, not to mention the absence of spring football because of COVID-19.
“Be patient this year, it’s going to be interesting to see what happens,” Dismukes said. “You’re going to have a lot of hungry guys, but it’s going to take some time, especially up front on the offensive line. They’re not going to be everything they need to be on day one, but that’s fine. Be patient with them, and I’m excited to see what this new O-line coach can do.”
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