On Monday, the Missouri Tigers' junior TE Michael Egnew was named one of three finalists for the 2010 Mackey Award, which is awarded each season to the nation's top collegiate TE. As a finalist, Egnew follows in the footsteps of two former Missouri TEs, consensus 1st-Team All-Americans and Mackey Award Finalists, Chase Coffman and Martin Rucker. Coffman won the award in 2008, and Rucker was a finalist in 2007.
"It's just an honor, first of all, to even be mentioned like that," Egnew said. "To even be mentioned with those guys is just an honor. I just try to catch the ball, and run hard."
Egnew, of Plainview, TX, leads the nation's tight ends with 78 receptions. That, and his 663 receiving yards, which also leads the other two Mackey finalists, Wisconsin senior Lance Kendricks (35 receptions, 547 yards receiving, and 4 TDs), and Arkansas senior D.J. Williams, Arkansas (46 receptions, 561 yards receiving, 4 TDs), appear to make Egnew the front runner for the award, which is usually accompanied by All-American status.
Egnew's Head Coach, Gary Pinkel, himself a former tight end, talked about Michael Egnew.
"First of all, in talking about Chase Coffman and Ruck, they're First-Team All-Americans," said Coach Pinkel. "They're great players, and they had great careers here. And, they kind of set the bar for tight ends here."
"Michael (Egnew)," Coach Pinkel continued. "He's just changed so much from the first two years! It's just remarkable how he's matured into this great competitor, and this guy that's driven to be successful! It doesn't surprise me, his toughness. I mean, it seems like he gets tougher every week, and makes those tough, difficult catches. He's 235 pounds, and 6'6", and he's got great foot speed. He's turned into just a great competitor. And, you can see that in how he plays..................... Certainly, he's having a great year, and he's worked very hard, and he's very deserving of that (award)."
Coach Pinkel talked about the advantage of having a big athlete like the tight ends he's had at Missouri, and the "big target" they present for the Missouri QB, and the size mismatch that it presents for the opposition. He also pointed out how well Egnew runs, saying that he's a "4.5 guy".
A little later, Coach Yost talked about his great tight end.
"He's been a great player for us," said Coach Yost. "I mean, all of the tough catches that he's made. He gives you a weapon on the inside, with his ability to go up and catch the ball. He's a big-bodied guy in there, and then he's kind of a violent runner after he gets the ball. It's kind of what we were used to, with Coffman and Rucker, and having that back has been a real plus for us."
Egnew played at the Z WR position, backing up Wes Kemp, and at the Y receiver position, backing up Danario Alexander, a year ago. But Coach Yost pointed out that they always projected Egnew as a tight end.
"We recruited him as a tight end," explained Coach Yost. "With his height and frame, we figured he'd grow into our type of tight end."