STORRS, Conn. (July 26, 2006) University of Connecticut senior tight end Dan Murray (Gloucester, Mass.) has been named to the official preseason watch list for the John Mackey Award. The Mackey Award is presented annually by the Nassau County (N.Y.) Sports Commission to the best collegiate tight end.
Murray enters his fifth year at UConn overall, and his third as a full-time starter, with 60 career receptions for 815 yards (13.6 avg.) and nine touchdowns. The nine TD grabs ranks fourth in school history amongst tight ends. An All-BIG EAST selection in 2005, Murray has never missed a game for the Huskies, playing in all 35 during his career.
Murray is one of 30 players named to the watch list and one of just two chosen from the BIG EAST Conference, joining Clark Harris of Rutgers. The recipient will be announced in December.
Presented since 2000, the award is named for John Mackey who became just the second tight end ever elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Named to the NFL's 50th Anniversary Team, the Syracuse grad spent most of his pro career with the Baltimore Colts, helping the team to a pair of Super Bowls, including a victory over Dallas in Super Bowl V. After retiring, he became the President of the NFL Players Association where he helped create the league's free agency system.
The previous Mackey Award winners are UCLA's Marcedes Lewis (2005), Virginia's Heath Miller (2004), Miami's Kellen Winslow, Jr. (2003), Colorado's Daniel Graham (2002) and Iowa's Dallas Clark (2001). Remarkably for such a young award, each of the past three Super Bowl Champions have featured a Mackey Award winner. Miller started at tight end for the Pittsburgh Steelers in their Super Bowl XL victory while Graham started for the New England Patriots for their wins in Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXIX.