The Mackey Award annually goes to the "Best Collegiate Tight End" but don't take it from me, take it from the Official John Mackey Award website. Unfortunately, that may not be the case this season as Toledo tight end, Michael Roberts was not named to the award semi-finalist list. The list, released on November 14, listed eight tight ends, six of the eight from major Power Five conferences and traditional powerhouses. On the flip side, Gerald Everett of South Alabama and Adam Breneman of UMass were named as potential award recipients.
Meanwhile, in Toledo, Michael Roberts is having one of the best seasons the Mid-American Conference has ever seen at the tight end position. Roberts is currently tied for No. 8 nationally in tight end receptions with 38 in just ten games (prior to Ball State). Aside from this, Roberts has twelve touchdown receptions, that's five more than any other tight end in the entire country, which is mind-boggling. The six-five, 270-pound Cleveland native has fought through adversity in several instances throughout his lifetime, which included his father being placed in jail, leaving his mother to raise him and his siblings. Roberts was also diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and a speech impediment. From there, Roberts would lose his grandmother to cancer and a little brother after he was accidentally shot. Roberts enrolled at Ohio University before being deemed academically ineligible, leaving Roberts to transfer to Toledo. While that is the backstory to Roberts' struggles in life, in which he has overcome, Roberts will tell you that nobody is looking for any pity or condolences. Instead, the Rockets would like 'M-80' recognized for his hard work this season as he stands out as one of the best tight ends in the country.
However, the sixteen person committee deciding the John Mackey Award failed to recognize the nationally unknown gem in the Glass City. These sixteen people, ranging from Lee Corso of ESPN, to former NFL tight end Dallas Clark, may have some explaining to do on selecting six 'Power Five' tight ends. Nobody will argue that the players selected aren't having great seasons, but when a player left off of the list has five more touchdown receptions than anyone in the country, some eyebrows are raised. Yes, Roberts does lack in the reception and receiving yards categories on the nationally scale but he is more than a receiving tight end. The Rocket senior lines up in the backfield during several occasions to block for Kareem Hunt and a Rocket offense that ranks No. 5 nationally in total yards per game. The Rockets also rank No. 10 in the country in redzone offense, thanks in large part to Roberts and his touchdown receptions near the goal line.
Michael Roberts may not be bringing home the Mackey Award for the nation's best tight end but one thing is for certain, he's a true Rocket to fans, students, and alumni in Rocket Country. Despite the lack of recognition from the sixteen John Mackey Award committee members, the Glass City will always recognize Roberts for not only the obstacles he has had to overcome, but the way he has become a senior leader and has lit up the scoreboard in the Glass Bowl.
For more information on the John Mackey Award and the semi-finalists, go to the John Mackey Award website.
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