The award watch lists continue to come out with the beginning of the 2015 College Football Season less than two months away. Today, the watch lists for the John Mackey Award (best tight end) and the Rimington Trophy (best center) were released. The Hokies did not have any representatives on the Rimington Trophy watch list, but did have two on the Mackey Award’s watch list.
Ryan Malleck and Bucky Hodges were two of the 33 tight ends that were named to the 2015 Mackey Award watch list. The Hokies were one of two teams that had two tight ends named to this watch list, along with Colorado State, with Malleck and Hodges both making their first appearances on this list.
The Hokies are likely to use Malleck and Hodges a lot with Malleck regularly being used in a more traditional tight end role. Meanwhile, Hodges will be used in more of a hybrid role similar to how the New Orleans Saints used former tight end Jimmy Graham on the outside and in the slot.
Injuries seemed to affect Ryan Malleck some after the first two games of the season as he finished with 24 catches for 195 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Malleck is more of a traditional tight end that is a solid blocker for the Hokies’ improving rushing attack.
Malleck looked very impressive this spring and while he isn’t someone that looks like a serious contender for the award, don’t be surprised if the senior tight end has a strong season with 40+ receptions in a passing game that made a lot of progress at the quarterback spot with Michael Brewer this spring.
Bucky Hodges is a matchup nightmare for opposing head coaches and defensive coordinators due to his impressive combination of size, speed, and athleticism. Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes are likely building their pass defense game plan around how they are going to cover Hodges because of his impressive athletic talent.
Hodges was very good in his first season at tight end with 45 catches for 526 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Hodges’s strong freshman season did not go unnoticed as he was named to the All-ACC Third Team and multiple Freshman All-American teams. Hodges also seems to be a likely candidate to be named to the 2015 Preseason All-ACC team.
Hodges is extremely dangerous in the red zone and has the potential to have 10 to 12 receiving touchdowns because of his impressive athletic skill set, size, ball skills, and field awareness in the corners of the end zone. Hodges is not seen as a favorite for this award, but is definitely the sleeper in the field due to his tremendous upside as he develops more as a route runner and traditional tight end.
Congrats to Bucky Hodges and Ryan Malleck on being named to the 2015 Mackey Award Watch List.