USC tight end Weslye Saunders is one of 30 players listed on the 2009 John Mackey Award watch list, as released by the Nassau County Sports Commission today. Given annually to the best collegiate tight end, the award recipient will be announced on December 10th.
Saunders, a 6-5, 280-pound junior from Durham, N.C., caught 16 passes for 214 yards during the 2008 season with three touchdowns while appearing in all 13 games. In his two years at USC, he has caught 28 passes for 365 yards, an average of 13.0 yards per catch. He was a Freshman All-SEC selection by the Sporting News in 2007.
Saunders is expected to have a bigger role in the Gamecock offense this season because of the depature of tight end Jared Cook to the NFL.
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 has been presented since 2000.