Senior tight end Bryce Williams became the first ever Pirate to be named to the Mackey Award, given annually to the nation's best tight end.

East Carolina senior tight end Bryce Williams is one of 33 players named to the John Mackey Award Watch List, according to an announcement by the John Mackey Committee Wednesday.

A Second-Team All-American Athletic Conference selection as a junior, Williams is the first Pirate to be named to the Mackey Award Watch List, which is given annually to the most outstanding collegiate tight end.

Williams, who started five of 13 games in 2014, caught 18 passes for 237 yards (13.2 ypc) with four touchdowns. The Winston Salem, N.C. native hauled down at least one pass in 10 of 13 contests and posted his first career multi-TD game at Tulsa (15 and 13 yards) in a 43-32 victory. Williams also added TDs at Virginia Tech (4 yards) and against Connecticut (10 yards).

He also has played an integral role in the Pirates’ rushing attack as a blocker. ECU turned in its first 2,000-yard campaign since 2009 last fall and averaged 4.8 yards per rush – the unit’s highest per-carry clip since 2007.

During his three-year career, Williams has 38 receptions for 457 yards (12.0 ypc) with nine scores. Twenty (20) of his 38 catches have gone for 10 or more yards with a career-long of 31 at Tulane in 2013. He has hauled down multiple passes on 14 occasions with a career-best four against Southern Miss (2013).

Williams is the third Pirate named to a preseason watch list this season following, Isaiah Jones (Paul Hornung Award/July 6) and Zeek Bigger (Chuck Bednarik Award/July 7).

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 2015 Mackey Midseason Watch List will be announced on Oct. 12 followed by the semifinalist on Nov. 16 and finalists on Nov. 24. The 2015 John Mackey recipient will be announced on Dec. 9 and then presented live on Dec. 10 at The Home Depot College Football Awards Red Carpet Show on ESPNU.

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