2016 John Mackey Award watch list

Forgotten at times in Alabama's offense last year, Crimson Tide tight end O.J. Howard made a lasting impression in a national championship win over Clemson with a five-catch, 208-yard performance. Not surprisingly, that impression carried over to the 2016 Mackey Award watch list.

Howard passed on early NFL draft entry to return for his senior season, and enters the year as a strong candidate for the Mackey honor. Howard, Virginia Tech's Bucky Hodges and Ole Miss' Evan Engram are among the top tight ends on the watch list for the Mackey award, which goes to the nation's top tight end. Oregon's Pharaoh Brown, who also made the list, returns this fall after missing all of last season recovering from a serious leg injury.

Arkansas' Hunter Henry, drafted in the second round by the San Diego Chargers, won the Mackey Award last year. Other notable recent winners include Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (2011) and Tyler Eifert of the Cincinnati Bengals (2012).

The winner will be announced on Dec. 7.

Watch lists for other awards will be released this month as follows:

2016 John Mackey Award watch list

Jeb Blazevich, Georgia
Pharaoh Brown, Oregon
Barrett Burns, Appalachian State
Jake Butt, Michigan
Cethan Carter, Nebraska
Connor Cella, Rice
C.J. Conrad, Kentucky
Buck Cowan, Idaho
Darrell Daniels, Washington
Elkanah Dillon, USF
D.J. Dowdy, Cincinnati
Evan Engram, Ole Miss
Gerald Everett, South Alabama
Billy Freeman, San Jose State
Mike Gesicki, Penn State
Jarred Gipson, Nevada
DeAndre Goolsby, Florida
Cole Hikutini, Louisville
Bucky Hodges, Virginia Tech
Wyatt Houston, Utah State
O.J. Howard, Alabama
Ryan Izzo, Florida State
Blake Jarwin, Oklahoma State
Ben Johnson, Kansas
Alize Jones, Notre Dame
George Kittle, Iowa
Kody Kohl, Arizona State
Jordan Leggett, Clemson
Brandon Lingen, Minnesota
Troy Mangen, Ohio
Hayden Plinke, UTEP
Josiah Price, Michigan State
Michael Roberts, Toledo
Jake Roh, Boise State
Keith Rucker, Georgia State
Mason Schreck, Buffalo
Dalton Schultz, Stanford
Cam Serigne, Wake Forest
Jonnu Smith, Florida International
Jeremy Sprinkle, Arkansas
Todd Stafford, Massachusetts
Colin Thompson, Temple
Cody Tuttle, Eastern Michigan
Ethan Wolf, Tennessee
Ryan Yurachek, Marshall

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread*.

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