Dickerson Mackey Award Finalist

Dorin Dickerson's stock continues to rise, and Pitt's senior tight end can only enhance it the next few weeks.

With big games at West Virginia Friday night and against Cincinnati Dec. 5 at Heinz Field, Dorin Dickerson could secure the prestigious John Mackey Award, annually presented to the nation's top tight end by the Nassau County Sports Commission.

Dickerson (Imperial, Pa./West Allegheny) was among three finalists selected by a vote from the John Mackey Selection Committee, it was announced Monday. The other finalists include Florida junior Aaron Hernandez and Brigham Young senior Dennis Pitta. The winner will be announced Dec. 10 during the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show.

On the year, Dickerson has 43 receptions for 496 yards (11.5 yards per catch) and 10 touchdowns. His 10 scores established a single-season Pitt record for a tight end to eclipse the nine that senior Kris Wilson had in 2003. Wilson, now with the NFL's San Diego Chargers, also was a John Mackey Award finalist that year and earned Associated Press All-America honors.

For additional information on the John Mackey Award, please visit www.johnmackeyaward.org or www.nassausports.org.

Hernandez has 46 catches for 571 yards (12.4), but just two touchdowns, while Pitta has 55 catches for 753 (13.7) and seven scores. So, Dickerson and the Panthers rate admirably with both competitors.

Ranked No. 8 by The Associated Press and No. 9 in the USA Today coaches poll, Pittsburgh has its highest November rankings since 1982. The Panthers are ninth in this week's Bowl Championship Series ratings, which is their highest BCS listing since it was established.

Pitt achieved its lofty rankings after winning six consecutive games to improve to 9-1 on the year, its best start since the 1982 Panthers. Quarterback Dan Marino led that squad to a 9-1 start as well.

The Panthers put their undefeated Big East record (5-0) on the line against West Virginia (7-3, 3-2) Friday at 7 p.m. at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va. The game will be a national ESPN2 telecast.

Pitt concludes its regular season against Cincinnati (10-0, 6-0) at Heinz Field on Dec. 5. The game will have a noon kickoff and decide the winner of the 2009 Big East championship and resultant Bowl Championship Series berth.

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