WKU senior tight end Mitchell Henry has been named to the 2014 John Mackey Award Preseason Watch List, an award given annually to college football's most outstanding tight end, the organization announced Tuesday morning.
Henry, who reeled in 25 catches for 305 yards and two touchdowns as a junior in 2013, is one of 38 tight ends on the John Mackey Award Preseason Watch List and one of just three tight ends representing Conference USA. UAB's Kennard Backman and UTEP's Eric Tomlinson join Henry as representatives of Conference USA on the watch list.
Henry's appearance on the list marks the third time in the past four seasons WKU has had a tight end on the John Mackey Award Preseason Watch List, as former Hilltopper great Jack Doyle was selected in both the 2011 and 2012 preseasons. Doyle was one of eight semifinalists for the award in 2012 and is currently playing in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts.
As WKU's No. 2 tight end in a run-heavy offense during the 2011-12 seasons, Henry was still a consistent playmaker for the Hilltoppers, tallying 21 receptions for 300 yards and six touchdowns. He became WKU's top tight end in a more balanced attack in 2013 and recorded a career high 25 catches and 305 receiving yards while finding pay dirt twice. He enters his senior year with 46 career receptions, 605 yards and eight touchdowns.
Henry's recognition by the John Mackey Award is his third preseason honor in 2014, as he was also named Preseason All-Conference USA by Phil Steele and Athlon Sports earlier this summer.
The John Mackey Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 21 awards boast 678 years of tradition-selection excellence. The John Mackey Award recipient is selected by vote of the John Mackey Award Selection Committee and the 2014 John Mackey recipient will be announced on Dec. 10, 2014. The award will also be presented live on Dec. 11 at The Home Depot College Football Awards Red Carpet Show on ESPNU.
Other key dates include the announcement of the 2014 Mackey Midseason Watch List on Oct. 13, the Mackey Semifinalists on Nov. 17 and the 2014 Mackey Finalists on Nov. 24.
NFL Hall of Fame member John Mackey is considered to be the best to have played the tight end position. A tight end by whom all others are measured, Mackey was a role model on and off the field as demonstrated by his Super Bowl Championship, his commitment to community and his place in history as the first President of the NFLPA.
The John Mackey Award has been presented since 2000 and lists thirteen NFL alumni, which includes: two-time Super Bowl Champion Daniel Graham (`01), 2006 Super Bowl Champion Dallas Clark (`02), Kellen Winslow II (`03), two-time Super Bowl Champion Heath Miller (`04) of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Marcedes Lewis (`05) of the Jacksonville Jaguars, 2008 Super Bowl Champion Matt Spaeth (`06) of the of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Fred Davis (`07), Chase Coffman (`08), Aaron Hernandez (`09), D.J. Williams (`10) of the New England Patriots, Dwayne Allen ('11) of the Indianapolis Colts, Tyler Eifert ('12) of the Cincinnati Bengals and Austin Seferian-Jenkins ('13) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.