The John Mackey Award watch list was released this morning, and five player from the SEC made the preseason list for the award given to the nation’s top tight end, which is named after the former Syracuse great and NFL Hall of Famer.
In alphabetical order, the watch list nominees are Rory Anderson from South Carolina, Malcolm Johnson from Mississippi State, Arthur Lynch from Georgia, C.J. Uzomah from Auburn and Brian Vogler from Alabama.
Lynch is the preseason All-SEC first team tight end and had the most productive 2012 season of these five candidates, recording 24 receptions for 431 yards. Anderson leads the nominees with his five touchdowns from last season. Johnson is a breakout candidate for the Bulldogs this season provided he can stay healthy.
The tight end at Alabama who could and likely will overtake Vogler and play his way onto the watch list early in the season is true freshman O.J. Howard, who could be the most important freshman for the Crimson Tide’s potentially historic offense. At 6-foot-6, he will be a monster in the red zone and down the seam and looked like a future All-American in camp.
He is currently suspended following a DUI arrest, but my prediction for this year’s winner is Washington junior Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who had 69 receptions for 850 yards and seven touchdowns last season. Tyler Eifert from Notre Dame took home the honor last year and was a first-round pick in this year’s NFL draft.