Tide’s Howard On Watch List For Top Tight End

Over the years, Alabama has had more football team success than individual honors, though that certainly has been changing in the Nick Saban era. The Crimson Tide has never had a winner of the John Mackey Award, though. This year Bama has a sophomore on the Mackey Watch List.

O.J. Howard, an Alabama sophomore from Prattville’s Autauga Academy, is on the watch list for the award given to the nation’s most outstanding tight end. The award was begun in 2000.

In the Saban Era, Alabma has had its first Heisman Trophy winner (Mark Ingram), first Doak Walker (Trent Richardson), first Broyles Award for top assistant coach (Kirby Smart), and first Maxwell Award winner (A.J. McCarron). Saban players Rolando McClain and C.J. Mosley joined Derrick Thomas as Butkus Award winners and Andre Smith and Barrett Jones were added to the Outland Trophy winners with Chris Samuels. Barrett Jones was the first winner of the William F. Campbell Trophy (the “Academic Heisman”), the Rimington, and the Wuerffel trophies.

Not that Saban has not had nice team success, of course, including three national championships and also winning the Disney Spirit Award in 2011 for the efforts of the Crimson Tide following the devastating tornado that struck Tuscaloosa on April 27, 2011.

Although Howard shared starting duties and playing time with Brian Vogler in his first season at Bama, the 6-6, 240-pounder made the most of his opportunities in his first college season last year. He played in all 13 games and had five starts. He caught 14 passes for 269 yards (a team best 19.2 yards per catch) and two touchdowns.

Howard had been the Scout.com top-ranked tight end in the nation following his prep career.

Selected by vote of the John Mackey Award Selection Committee, the recipient will be announced on December 10 and then presented live on December 11 at The College Football Awards Red Carpet Show. Other key dates include the announcement of the Mackey Midseason Watch List on October 13, the Mackey semifinalists on November 17, and the finalists on November 24.

NFL Hall of Fame member John Mackey is considered to be the one of the best to have played the tight end position. 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 presented since 2000, lists thirteen alumni to have played in the NFL: 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.

Last year’s winner was Seferian-Jenkins of Washington.

Also, last year, the John Mackey Leadership Award was presented to Baltimore Ravens General Manager Ozzie, a Hall of Fame performer at Alabama.

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