By Chuck Pool (firstname.lastname@example.org) -
Rice tight end Connor Cella is one of 45 tight ends who have been named to the 2016 John Mackey Award preseason watch list, which was released on Wednesday.
A senior from Katy, Texas who came to Rice after a stellar career at Taylor High School, Cella has been the Owls starter since his freshman year. He matched his career high by catching 13 passes for a career-high 209 yards as a junior and was added to the Mackey Award’s midseason watch list.
Given annually to the most outstanding collegiate tight end, the award recipient is selected by vote of the John Mackey Award Selection Committee and the 2016 Mackey Award recipient will be announced on December 7, 2016 and then presented live on December 8, 2016 at The Home Depot College Football Awards Red Carpet Show on ESPNU. All future announcements can be found at www.johnmackeyaward.com.
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 John Mackey Award presented since 2000, recognizes fourteen alumni that have played in the NFL: two-time Super Bowl Champion Daniel Graham (‘01), 2006 Super Bowl Champion Dallas Clark (‘02), Kellen Winslow II (‘03), two-time Super Bowl Champion Heath Miller (‘04), Marcedes Lewis (‘05) of the Jacksonville Jaguars, 2008 Super Bowl Champion Matt Spaeth (‘06) of the of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Fred Davis (‘07), Chase Coffman (‘08), D.J. Williams (‘10), Dwayne Allen (’11) of the Indianapolis Colts, Tyler Eifert (’12) of the Cincinnati Bengals, Austin Seferian-Jenkins (’13) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Nick O’Leary (’14) of the Buffalo Bills and 2015 John Mackey Award recipient Hunter Henry of the San Diego Chargers.
Cella and the Owls will open their 2016 campaign on September 1 when they face defending C-USA Champion WKU at 7 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.