- David Ubben, College Football
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The John Mackey Award, given annually to college football's top tight end, released its annual watch list on Tuesday, but only one Big 12 player made the list.
Baylor's Jordan Najvar was the only Big 12 representative on the 37-man list, and he caught 10 passes for 80 yards and a pair of touchdowns last season.
Still, the Big 12 had three quality tight ends who didn't make the list, which is a definite surprise. Texas Tech's Jace Amaro is the biggest name from that group. He's the Big 12's most talented tight end, but missed half of last season with a rib injury. He caught 25 balls for 409 yards and four touchdowns. Amaro is still eligible for the award despite not making the watch list, and if he stays healthy, making the list of semifinalists or even finalists is a definite possibility.
Oklahoma State's Blake Jackson isn't a traditional tight end, but neither was Missouri's Chase Coffman back when he won the trophy in 2008. Jackson led all Big 12 tight ends with 29 catches for 598 yards and four touchdowns as a first-year juco transfer. If he can fix his drop issues from last season, he's due for a big 2013.
I'd also have given a nod to Iowa State's Ernst Brun Jr., the Cyclones' leading returning receiver. He caught 26 balls for 330 yards and six touchdowns last season, with all six coming in conference play or against Tulsa. He broke loose for a 69-yard score against the Golden Hurricane in the Liberty Bowl and had his first career 100-yard game.
The tight end position in the Big 12 still isn't what it once was with Coffman, Jermaine Gresham, Martin Rucker and Brandon Pettigrew a few years ago, but it's a lot better than the Mackey Award watch list would indicate.
16hDavid M. Hale
2dBrandon Chatmon and Jake Trotter