Is this the year that potential mirrors production for Alizé Mack?
The senior was named Friday to the watch list of the Mackey Award, given to the country’s best tight end, for the third consecutive year.
Mack has all the right measurements to be a standout ball hawker: 6-foot-4 3⁄4 inches, 244 pounds and a good ability to highpoint the ball. But drops and an inability to separate from clingy defenders has limited his production to just 32 grabs and 356 yards in two full seasons.
Mack and Durham Smythe both made the organization’s 2017 watch list. Mack, then known as Alize Jones, was named to the pre-season list in 2016 before being declared academically ineligible.
If a Notre Dame tight end is to win the award, they’ll likely thank Chip Long in their acceptance speech. The Irish’s offensive coordinator’s game plans have always included tight ends as a major component, and some packages feature two or more.
Tyler Eifert won the award in 2012, the only Notre Dame player to do so in the award’s 18 year history. (Anthony Fasano was a Top 3 finalist in 2005, John Carlson a Top 3 finalist in 2006 and Ben Koyack was a semi-finalist in 2014.) The award was won last year by the Oklahoma Sooners’ Mark Andrews, who was a third round pick of the Baltimore Ravens.
There are also five Irish opponents who had players named to the award’s watch list: Michigan Wolverines’ Zach Gentry and Sean McKeon, Ball State Cardinals’ Nolan Givan, USC Trojans’ Tyler Petite, Vanderbillt Commodores’ Jared Pinkney and the Stanford Cardinal’s Kaden Smith.
The award’s selection committee is, in alphabetical order:
ESPN’s Charles Arbuckle; Dallas Clark, who won the award in 2002 and played in the NFL until 2013; ESPN’s Marc C. Connolly; College Gameday’s Lee Corso; Big Ten Network’s Tom Dienhart; Daniel Graham, who won the award in 2001 and played in the NFL until 2012; Keith Jackson, who played tight end for the Oklahoma Sooners and then the Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins and Green Bay Packers; Joey Lucci and Phil Steele of Phil Steele Publications; Jerry Mackey Sr., Tim Stratton, who won the award in 2000 while playing for the Purdue Boilermakers; Dave-Te’ Thomas, the NFL Draft Report; Ben Utecht, who played for the Minnesota Golden Gophers and then the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals; NY Daily News’ Dick Weiss and D.J. Williams, who won the award in 2010 with the Arkansas Razorbacks and then played five years in the NFL.