Ebron Named John Mackey Award Finalist

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

UNC tight end Eric Ebron has been named one of three finalists for the John Mackey Award presented to college football's best tight end.

The Friends of John Mackey has announced three finalists for the 2013 John Mackey Award. Listed alphabetically, they are Eric Ebron (JR, North Carolina), Nick O'Leary (JR, Florida State) and Austin Seferian-Jenkins (JR, Washington).

A native of Greensboro, N.C., Ebron leads the Tar Heels in receptions and receiving yards.  This is the second consecutive season that a Tar Heel has been a finalist for a major offensive award.  Last year, offensive guard Jonathan Cooper was a finalist for the Outland Trophy.

The three finalists were determined by confidential balloting of the John Mackey Award Selection Committee. Given annually to the most outstanding collegiate tight end, the 2013 John Mackey Award recipient will be announced on December 11, 2013 and presented live on December 12,2013 at The Home Depot College Football Awards Red Carpet Show: 6:00 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

One name notably missing from the finalist list is Texas Tech's Jace Amaro who is listed as a tight end and has 92 receptions and over 1100 yards receiving. However, as noted here, Amaro lines up in the slot receiver position most of the time and therefore was not named a finalist.

That leaves Ebron going against fellow ACC tight end Nick O'Leary of Florida State and Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Here is a glimpse of how the three finalists stack up statistically.

Player Games Receptions Yards YPC YPG TDs
Eric Ebron, UNC 11 50 774 15.48 70.4 3
Nick O'Leary, FSU 11 27 457 16.93 41.5 7
Austin Seferian-Jenkins 10 31 361 11.65 36.1 6

Ebron has more receptions and total yards but is behind the other finalists with only three touchdowns. He is second to O'Leary in yards per catch. Still, Ebron's stats make a strong case however that is just part of what the selection committee will consider. According to the John Mackey Award Criteria areas such as blocking and NFL potential are also factors in the decision.

It should be noted Ebron was named the John Mackey Tight End of the Week following his 199-yard, one touchdown performance versus Miami in Week 8. O'Leary also received the honor in Week 1. No tight end has received that honor twice this season. For exposure purposes, the fact Ebron's best game came in the Thursday night affair versus Miami is a boost. Likewise, O'Leary has played a couple of solid games on nationally televised Saturday night games which included trucking a Clemson defensive back after a catch.

With Ebron having declared for the NFL Draft already, he has one regular season game left vs Duke on Saturday. This will be his best chance to state his case to become the first UNC player ever to win a national offensive award. If Ebron has a big day, it will help his chances for winning this award and should help UNC get the Victory Bell back.

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