Rice junior Connor Cella is one of 35 tight ends around the country who have been named to the midseson watch list 2015 John Mackey Award, which was released on Wednesday.
Cella has bounced back from an injury-shortened 2014 season to lead the Owls with an 18 yards per catch average through the first six games. He has set a career-high with 180 yards, 60 of the coming on a key reception to spark the Owls’ fourth quarter comeback at FAU on October 3.
Founded in 2000, the award honors Pro Football Hall of Famer John Mackey who redefined the role during his standout NFL career. 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 2015 recipient will be announced on December 9 and then presented live the following night onThe Home Depot College Football Awards Red Carpet Show on ESPNU. The 2015 semifinalists will be announced on November 16 and the finalists eight days later.
Past winners of the award include 13 standouts who went on to play in the NFL who have gone on to play for six Super Bowl winners: 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) of the Pittsburgh Steelers, 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 and 2014 John Mackey Award recipient Nick O'Leary of the Buffalo Bills.
Cella and the Owls will return to action on Saturday, October 24 when they host Army West Point at Rice Stadium at 11 a.m.