The 2014 Penn State Nittany Lions were awarded with two more watch list nominations on Tuesday. A day after quarterback Christian Hackenberg and cornerback Jordan Lucas were named to the watch lists for the Maxwell Award and the Bednarik Award, junior tight ends Kyle Carter and Jesse James were listed on the Mackey Award watch list.
The Mackey Award is named after John Mackey, often considered the best tight end that every played, and honors the nation’s top tight end each season. The award honors players who not only show great ability on the field, but also good behavior and positive academic performance.
When former head coach Bill O’Brien arrived at Penn State he transformed the tight end position. Once used primarily as a blocker at the school, O’Brien instituted an offense that featured the tight end as an important weapon in the passing attack. Over the past two seasons, Carter and James have been the best of the bunch.
Carter tied for third on the team last season with 18 receptions. He had 222 yards receiving and one touchdown, a game-winning reception against Illinois. In 2012, he was named a Freshman All-American after finishing second on the team with 36 receptions for 453 yards.
James showed promise during this 2012 freshman season, finishing second on the team with five touchdowns. Last year he caught 25 balls for 333 yards and three touchdowns. He returns this year as the team’s leading receiver with the departure of Allen Robinson. Big things are expected of James this year, as he’s already been named a preseason All-Big Ten by the Sporting News.
The John Mackey Award Midseason Watch List will be announced on October 13 with semifinalists being named on November 17. The finalists for the award will be announced on November 24. The award will be presented on December 11 as part of The Home Depot College Football Awards Show.