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NCAA Football

Top 10 Candidates to Win the 2014 Mackey Award

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Top 10 Candidates to Win the 2014 Mackey Award

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Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

With the NFL putting such a great focus on tight ends lately, we're seeing more and more college teams utilize great athletes at the position, and it's making for some excellent football. This season's batch of Mackey Award candidates is stellar throughout. Here are the top 10 heading into this 2014 season.

10. C.J. Uzomah, Auburn

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

10. C.J. Uzomah, Auburn

c.j. uzomah auburn tigers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Because of Auburn's tendency to keep the ball on the ground, Uzomah naturally doesn't receive a whole lot of love when it comes to the traditional stats, which is going to hurt him in his quest for the Mackey Award.

9. Rory Anderson, South Carolina

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Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

9. Rory Anderson, South Carolina

rory anderson south carolina gamecocks
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

In order for Rory Anderson to really find himself in the discussion for the Mackey Award this season, he first needs to become a bigger part of South Carolina's offense. Last season's numbers (17 catches for 235 yards) won't make him competitive for the award this season.

8. Randall Telfer, USC

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Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

8. Randall Telfer, USC

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Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Randall Telfer has spent the last two seasons as the Trojans' blocking tight end, but the senior should be getting an opportunity to work a little more down the field after the departure of Xavier Grimble.

7. Kyle Carter, Penn State

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Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

7. Kyle Carter, Penn State

kyle carter penn state nittany lions
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Carter has some serious potential as a receiver in Penn State's offense. His superb athleticism saw him to 453 yards on 37 receptions his freshman season of 2012. He regressed a bit last year, but with the Nittany Lions losing wide receiver Allen Robinson, quarterback Christian Hackenberg is going to be looking for other targets.

6. Ben Koyack, Notre Dame

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Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

6. Ben Koyack, Notre Dame

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Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

I'm taking a shot here with Ben Koyack at No. 6 because he doesn't have a proven track record with Ohio State. The reason I think he emerges this season is because of the opportunity he'll finally be getting now that the depth chart ahead of him has cleared up. And his frame at 6-foot-5, 261 pounds can hopefully be utilized.

5. E.J. Bibbs, Iowa State

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

5. E.J. Bibbs, Iowa State

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

In his first year at Iowa State, after having played junior college ball, E.J. Bibbs hauled in 39 passes for 462 yards and was a Second-Team All-Big 12 selection in 2013.

4. Braxton Deaver, Duke

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John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

4. Braxton Deaver, Duke

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John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The entire Duke season was a huge surprise last season, and one of the largest contributors to that was tight end Braxton Deaver, who tallied up 46 receptions for 600 yards and four touchdowns. If he can maintain that sort of production this season, he'll be right up there towards the top.

3. Tyler Kroft, Rutgers

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Jeff Griffith-USA TODAY Sports

3. Tyler Kroft, Rutgers

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Jeff Griffith-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Kroft had an excellent breakout season in 2013 with 43 catches, 573 yards and four touchdowns. At 6-foot-6, he's a quarterback's dream target in the red zone. Look for Kroft's role to expand even more this season.

2. Jeff Heuerman, Ohio State

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Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

2. Jeff Heuerman, Ohio State

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Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Heuerman missed this spring with an injury, but if he can pick up where he left off last season, we're talking about a serious contender for the Mackey Award. Heuerman caught 26 passes for 466 yards last season, and he's going to be targeted in 2014 by Heisman hopeful quarterback Braxton Miller.

1. Nick O'Leary, Florida State

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Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

1. Nick O'Lear, Florida State

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Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Nick O'Leary is in the process of recovering from a second motorcycle accident, but his success on the field shouldn't be hindered. After being on the receiving end of seven touchdowns last season, O'Leary now owns the school record for touchdowns by a tight end (11) and has a great opportunity to win the Mackey Award this season.