Autauga Academy’s Howard on Mackey watch list
Former Autauga Academy star O.J. Howard was named to the preseason watch list for the John Mackey Award. (Photo courtesy Unv Alabama Athletics)
By Tim Gayle
Former Autauga Academy standout O.J. Howard is among the players on the preseason watch list for the John Mackey Award, given to the nation’s top collegiate tight end.
The Alabama junior is one of several in-state players honored on Wednesday with the release of the Mackey Award and Rimington Trophy preseason watch lists.
The Autaugaville native ranked fourth on the Tide’s receiving chart last year with 17 receptions for 260 yards. For his career, Howard has 31 catches for 529 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Other Southeastern Conference players on the Mackey Award watch list include Jerell Adams of South Carolina, Evan Engram of Ole Miss, Hunter Henry of Arkansas, Jake McGee of Florida and Steven Scheu of Vanderbilt. In all, there are 33 players listed on the 2015 preseason watch list – 18 seniors, 12 juniors and three sophomores.
A midseason watch list will be released on Oct. 12, followed by a listed of semifinalists on Nov. 16 and the finalists on Nov. 24. The winner will be announced on Dec. 9.
Howard wasn’t the only Crimson Tide player recognized on Wednesday. Senior center Ryan Kelly was one of 63 players on the Rimington Trophy fall watch list. A list of finalists for the award, which is given to the nation’s top collegiate center, will be released on Dec. 7.
In addition to Kelly, other Southeastern Conference centers on the watch list include Arkansas senior Mitch Smothers, Kentucky junior Jon Toth, LSU junior Ethan Pocic, Missouri senior Evan Boehm, South Carolina sophomore Alan Knott, Texas A&M senior Mike Matthews and Vanderbilt senior Spencer Pulley.
Other centers on the watch list include junior Joseph Scelfo of South Alabama, which participated in the inaugural Camellia Bowl last December, and Troy senior Dalton Bennett.
The members of the National College Football Association of America are releasing the preseason watch lists for 16 awards over a 12-day period. On Thursday, the top kickers in the nation will be revealed with the announcement of the preseason watch lists for the Lou Groza Award (placekickers) and the Ray Guy Award (punters).