University of Arizona sophomore tight end Rob Gronkowski has been named to the watch list for the 2008 John Mackey Award for the nation's best collegiate tight end. The watch list was released by the Nassau County Sports Commission.
Each eyar, the award recipient is selected by a vote of the John Mackey Award Selection Committee and announced in mid-December.
Mackey, a National Football league Hall of Fame member, is considered by many to be the best to have played the tight end position. A tight end against 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 NFL Players Association.
Gronkowski, a promising big man in the UA’s receiving rotation, caught 28 passes as a true freshman in 2007, piling up 525 yards to lead the Wildcats with an 18.8-yard average per catch. He snagged six scoring passes, and has an ability to break tackles and pull away in the open field.
Gronkowski, who earned freshman All-America honors from a number of news organizations, joins a number of Wildcats on preseason watch lists, including UA senior quarterback Willie Tuitama for the Maxwell and O'Brien awards, junior offensive tackle Eben Britton for the Outland Trophy, senior receiver Mike Thomas for the Maxwell Award and sophomore punter Keenyn Crier for the Ray Guy Award. Senior place kicker Jason Bondzio also is expected to contend for the Lou Groza Award.
The John Mackey Award, presented since 2000, lists seven NFL players as alumni: Dallas Clark ('01) of the 2007 Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts, two-time Super Bowl Champion Daniel Graham ('02) of the Denver Broncos, Kellen Winslow Jr. ('03) of the Cleveland Browns, Heath Miller ('04) of the 2006 Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, Marcedes Lewis ('05) of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Matt Spaeth ('06) of the Pittsburgh Steelers and 2007 John Mackey Award recipient Fred Davis of the Washington Redskins.