The John Mackey Award released its 33-name midseason Watch List on Monday and, considering the state of the position in college football, this may very well be the only 33 names that meet its criteria.
We all remember the Jace Amaro fiasco last year, where the Texas Tech tight end was first deemed not eligible for the award, then granted eligibility, only to be snubbed from the finalist list despite ranking sixth nationally with 106 catches, while North Carolina’s Eric Ebron ranked second among tight ends at 62. Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins took home the 2013 trophy.
Wake Forest’s Cam Serigne leads all tight ends with 29 catches for 282 yards and one touchdown. He ranks 78th nationally among all pass-catchers, and stands as the only tight end in the top 100.
Here is the full list, presented in alphabetical order:
– Rory Anderson – South Carolina
– Kennard Backman – UAB
– E.J. Bibbs – Iowa State
– Gerald Christian – Louisville
– Evan Engram – Ole Miss
– Billy Freeman – San Jose State
– David Grinnage – N.C. State
– Connor Hamlett – Oregon State
– Mitchell Henry – Western Kentucky
– Jeff Heuerman – Ohio State
– Bucky Hodges – Virginia Tech
– Austin Hooper – Stanford
– O.J. Howard – Alabama
– Jesse James – Penn State
– Malcolm Johnson – Missisippi State
– Ben Koyack – Notre Dame
– Tyler Kroft – Rutgers
– Jimmay Mundine – Kansas
– Nick O’Leary – Florida State
– Casey Pierce – Kent State
– Joel Ruiz – Georgia State
– Tyreese Russell – Eastern Michigan
– Wes Saxton – South Alabama
– Cam Serigne – Wake Forest
– Jean Sifrin – Massachusetts
– Justin Sinz – Purdue
– Jonnu Smith – Florida International
– Randall Telfer – USC
– Eric Tomlinson – UTEP
– C.J. Uzomah – Auburn
– Clive Walford – Miami (Fla.)
– Alex Welch – Miami (Ohio)
– Maxx Williams – Minnesota
Semifinalists will be announced Nov. 17, finalists a week after that, and the winner will be revealed at ESPN’s college football awards show on Dec. 11.
A common opponent has been added to the schedules of both the Michigan and USC football teams.
Thursday, Fresno State announced that it has reached an agreement with the Michigan and USC football programs for future games. The Wolverines game will be played in 2024 while the Bulldogs will face the Trojans.
Obviously, both of those contests will be road games for Fresno State.
The game against Michigan will mark the first-ever meeting between the schools. Fresno State and USC have met five times previously, the first coming the first in 1992 and the most recent in 2019. The Trojans own a 4-1 record in the mini-series, with that lone loss coming in the first-ever meeting.
This past season, the Trojans got past the Bulldogs but lost starting quarterback JT Daniels to torn ACL.
Fresno State and USC had also been scheduled to meet again in 2022 and 2025. According to USC, that 2025 game has been moved to 2026.
For its newest assistant, Texas A&M football turned to an ACC school. And, a familiar face for that matter.
Thursday, A&M announced that Tyler Santucci has been hired by Fisher as linebackers coach. Santucci will replace Bradley Dale Peveto, who was still under contract but won’t return for the 2020 season.
Santucci’s hiring marks a homecoming of sorts as the assistant spent the 2018 season as a defensive analyst for the Texas A&M football program.
Last season, Santucci was the linebackers coach at Wake Forest. That was his first on-field job at the Power Five level. His first on-field job at the FBS level came as linebackers coach at Texas State in 2016.
In 2017, Santucci was a defensive analyst at Notre Dame. During that brief stint in South bend, Mike Elko was the Fighting Irish’s defensive coordinator, the same position he’s held with the Aggies since he was hired in January of 2018.
The first coaching job for Santucci, who played his college football at Stony Brook, was at his alma mater as safeties coach.
In Jimbo Fisher‘s second season in College Station, the Aggies posted an 8-5 record. A&M has won both bowl games since Fisher took over the program. After finishing tied for second in the SEC West his Fisher’s inaugural season, the Aggies dipped to fourth in 2019.
After one semester at Michigan, freshman running back Jordan Castleberry has transferred to Maryland. Castleberry announced his transfer decision on his Twitter account on Thursday.
Castleberry originally committed to West Virginia during his recruiting process out of high school. Shortly after his commitment to West Virginia, Michigan became a more likely recruiting victor. Castleberry enrolled at Michigan in July 2019.
Castleberry did not play for Michigan in 2019, so he can use the 2019 season as a redshirt year to preserve a year of eligibility. However, NCAA transfer rules will force Castleberry to sit out the 2020 season. This will not make Castleberry eligible for Maryland until the 2021 season, at which point he will have three seasons of eligibility remaining.
Family will always be more important than football, which is why Ruffin McNeill will be putting football on hold for an undetermined amount of time. Oklahoma announced on Thursday that assistant head coach and outside linebackers coach McNeill will leave football to help take care of his father.
“This was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make,” McNeill said in a statement released by Oklahoma. “But in the end, being near my dad was a necessary choice. Right now I need to be a son again and I need to help my brother and other family members take care of my dad, who is battling significant health issues. This is not retirement for me. I still want to coach in some form or fashion. But right now that can’t be the case. My focus needs to be on my dad back in North Carolina.”
“Ruffin means so much to me and to my family, and his family means so much to him,” Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley said in a statement. “I know his decision to leave OU was a very difficult one, but was one he felt he had to make.”
Although McNeill said this is not a retirement decision and expressed a desire to continue coaching when the time is right, Riley confirmed the Sooners will be looking for a replacement on the staff.
“I still want to coach in some form or fashion,” McNeill said. “But right now that can’t be the case.”
McNeill joined the Oklahoma coaching staff under Riley in 2017.