Notre Dame junior tight ends Troy Niklas and Ben Koyak have been named to the 12th annual John Mackey Award watch list, it was announced on Tuesday by the John Mackey Award Selection Committee.
The John Mackey Award, named in honor of NFL Hall of Famer John Mackey, has been given to the collegiate tight end who best exemplifies the play, sportsmanship, academics, and community values since 2000. Mackey played for Syracuse before spending eight years with the Baltimore Colts, which included a Super Bowl V victory and five pro bowl selections.
Niklas started playing outside linebacker for the Fighting Irish before transitioning to tight end during the 2012 spring practice. During his sophomore season he started in seven games, recorded five receptions for 75 yards and one touchdown against rival Boston College on Nov. 10. Niklas became only the 10th player in Notre Dame history to find the end zone against Boston College.
Koyak played in 12 games for the Irish and started in the BCS National Championship game against Alabama in the three tight end package with Niklas and 2012 John Mackey Award winner Tyler Eifert. Koyak registered three receptions for 39 yards last season including a 23-yard catch against Navy.
Semifinalists for the Mackey Award will be announced Nov. 18, while the three finalists for each award will be unveiled Nov. 25. The winners of the 2013 Mackey Award will be announced as part of the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show held on Dec. 12.
The Mackey Award winner is selected by the Mackey Award Selection Committee, composed of media members and former NFL members.