Having versatile, pass-catching tight ends is nothing new for the Mid-American Conference, and now the conference is receiving praise in the form of thee MAC tight ends being named to the 2014 John Mackey Award Watch List.
The recipient of the award, given to the "most outstanding collegiate tight end" will be named on December 10, but will be given to the recipient live on December 11 during the Home Depot College Football Awards Red Carpet Show that will be on ESPNU. This according to a release from the Award's selection committee on NYSportScene.com.
The Northern Illinois Huskies' Luke Eakes, Kent State Golden Flashes' Casey Pierce and Eastern Michigan Eagles' Tyreese Russell have all been highlighted for selection to the watch list, and deservingly so.
Shall we run through the highlights and skill-sets of these respective qualified athletes?
Eakes, an incoming redshirt senior for the Huskies, is a 6-foot-5-inch 258-pound wall who has helped a stampede of a running game in DeKalb for the last few years. Eakes compliments his blocking on the end with several long catches, hauling in multiple long receptions over the last several years. Last year Eakes contributed 12 receptions and 113 yards in the air with two touchdowns.
The Golden Flash, Pierce, is a 6-foot-4-inch 235-pound rising senior, and was a consistent target down the homestretch of the 2013 season, averaging 4.25 catches a game in the team's last four games. Pierce finished with 35 receptions, good for 364 yards and five touchdowns, the latter stat was good enough to lead the team.
Eagle Tyreese Russell was a point of pride for an EMU that bluntly, went through some crap last year. The 6-foot-3-inch 235-pounder is a senior who hauled in 44 balls last year for 594 yards and three touchdowns. It was a year in which his role in the offense greatly expanded, as Russell finished with only 12 receptions in 2012. Maybe you want to get to know Tyrese.