EVANSTON, Ill. -- For the second consecutive year, Northwestern superback Drake Dunsmore was selected to the John Mackey Award preseason watch list. The Nassau County Sports Commission has handed out the award annually since 2000 to the nation's premier performer at the tight end position.
Dunsmore is one of 34 national candidates and one of seven from the Big Ten. Winners will be announced as part of the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show held on Dec. 8.
Through three years as a key contributor on the NU offense, Dunsmore has proven himself to be a dynamic offensive threat as well as a reliable pass and run blocker. The son of former Chicago Bears tight end Pat Dunsmore, he has caught at least 40 passes each of the last two seasons and has eight career touchdowns to his credit.
An honorable mention All-Big Ten choice a year ago, Dunsmore's career-best performance came in the 2010 Outback Bowl when he caught nine balls for 120 yards, including an impressive 66-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown.
The Mackey Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) and is named for the man many consider to be the best tight end in the game's history. The NFL Hall of Famer is also a Super Bowl champion and was the first president of the NFL Players' Association.
The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game's predominant awards. The members of the NCFAA are unveiling their preseason watch lists over a 13-day period this month. Fifteen of the association's 21 awards select a preseason watch list. Following is the complete 2011 preseason watch list calendar:
Tue., July 5: Maxwell Award/Bednarik Award
Wed., July 6: Biletnikoff Award/Mackey Award
Thu., July 7: Lou Groza Award/Ray Guy Award
Fri., July 8: Bronko Nagurski Trophy/Outland Trophy
Mon., July 11: Jim Thorpe Award
Tue., July 12: Rotary Lombardi Award
Wed., July 13: Rimington Trophy
Thu., July 14: Butkus Award
Fri., July 15: Davey O'Brien Award/Doak Walker Award
Mon., July 18: Walter Camp Award