Anthony Fasano, John Carlson, Kyle Rudolph, Tyler Eifert, and Troy Niklas represent an unbroken chain, a 10-season conveyor belt of talent that has reaffirmed Notre Dame as “Tight End U” in recruiting circles.
But despite having sent so many tight ends to the professional ranks, only one Notre Dame player has captured the John Mackey Award, given to the outstanding college tight end each year. Tyler Eifert won the award in 2012 -- now senior Ben Koyack hopes to join Eifert in the winner’s circle this year, after being named to the summer watch list for the Mackey award.
Notre Dame’s schedule will see them battle a number of tight ends on the list, including Florida State’s Nick O’Leary, who was a finalist last year.
The watch list for the Rimington Award was also released Tuesday and senior Nick Martin will hope to bring the award to South Bend for the first time. The Rimington award is given to the best college center and Martin was one of a whopping 66 players to make the watch list. Notre Dame’s opponents this season had nine players named across the two lists:
Louisville -- TE Gerald Christian (Mackey Award), Jake Smith (Rimington Award)
Florida State -- Nick O’Leary (Mackey Award), Austin Barron (Rimington Award)
Arizona State -- De’Marieya Nelson (Mackey Award)
USC -- Randall Telfer (Mackey Award)
Northwestern -- Brandon Vitabile (Rimington Award)
Stanford -- Graham Shuler (Rimington Award)
Purdue -- Robert Kugler (Rimington Award)
Besides Eifert’s win in 2012, Notre Dame has come close to winning the Mackey Award on two other occasions with Anthony Fasano (2005) and John Carlson (2006) both being named finalists.