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Oct. 19, 2009

University of South Carolina junior tight end Weslye Saunders is one of 22 players listed on the 2009 John Mackey Award midseason watch list, as released today by the Nassau County Sports Commission.

Saunders, a 6-5, 280-pounder from Durham, N.C., is currently third on the squad with 17 catches for 194 yards, an average of 11.4 yards per catch. The Gamecocks are ranked 23rd in both major polls this week with a 5-2 record, 2-2 in the SEC.

Given annually to the best collegiate tight end, the award recipient is selected by vote of the John Mackey Award Selection Committee and the 2009 John Mackey winner will be announced on December 10, 2009. Other key dates include the announcement of the 2009 Mackey semi-finalists on November 16, 2009 and the announcement of the 2009 Mackey finalists on November 23, 2009. All future announcements can be found at

The John Mackey Award midseason watch list is an update from the preseason watch list. This list is meant to draw attention to tight ends in contention for the annual award based on their performance in the first half of the active season.

The John Mackey Award presented since 2000, lists eight NFL players as alumni: Dallas Clark (’01) of the 2006 Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts, two-time Super Bowl Champion Daniel Graham (’02) of the Denver Broncos, Kellen Winslow II (’03) of the Tampa Bay Bucaneers, two-time Super Bowl Champion Heath Miller (’04) of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Marcedes Lewis (’05) of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Matt Spaeth (’06) of the of the 2008 Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, Fred Davis (’07) of the Washington Redskins and the 2008 John Mackey Award recipient Chase Coffman of the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Nassau County Sports Commission, a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization created to enhance the quality of life through sports is responsible for the administration of the John Mackey Award and the John Mackey Award Selection Committee. For more information, please visit

The John Mackey Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). 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 NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients. For more information, visit the association’s official website,