Penn State football received more preseason recognition today, as tight ends Kyle Carter and Jesse James were both named to the John Mackey Award watchlist.
The Mackey Award is given annually to the nation’s top collegiate tight end. James, a rising junior, is set to start the 2014 season as the team’s leading returnee in receptions and receiving yards, with 25 catches for 333 yards in 2013. The team record was previously held by Allen Robinson, of course, who is now playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars. James was also named a preseason All-Big Ten selection by the Sporting News, so expect him to be a major playmaker for the Nittany Lions this season.
Meanwhile, fellow tight end Kyle Carter was tied for third on the team with 18 receptions for 222 yards. Carter was previously named to the Mackey Award watchlist in 2012, being the only freshman on the award’s midseason watchlist. Carter, a rising redshirt junior, was limited last season after an arm injury in the 2013 season-opener against Syracuse.
The criteria for the award includes athletic skill on the field, along with positive sportsmanship, good academic standing, and exceptional leadership abilities. The John Mackey Award Selection Committee is composed of members of the media and former NFL players. Former winners of the award include: Dallas Clark (‘02, Iowa), Heath Miller (‘04, Virginia), and Matt Spaeth (‘06, Minnesota). The winners of this year’s award will be announced Dec. 11.
Penn State is the only other school beside Oklahoma and Oregon with multiple selections to a preseason watchlist. Previous watchlist selections include the Maxwell Award for quarterback Christian Hackenberg and the Bednarik Award for junior cornerback Jordan Lucas.