FORT WAYNE – Four in-state college football programs put players on the watch list for the nation’s top tight end.
Indiana senior Ted Bolser, Purdue senior Gabe Holmes, Notre Dame juniors Troy Niklas and Ben Koyack, and Ball State senior Zane Fakes all made the John Mackey Award watch list, which the Mackey Award committee released Tuesday.
The Mackey Award goes to the best tight end at the FBS level.
Koyack and Niklas replace last season’s Mackey Award winner, Tyler Eifert, for the Irish. The duo combined for nine catches, 119 yards and one touchdown while playing behind the 2013 NFL draft choice and Fort Wayne native.
Bolser, who was an All-Big Ten choice in 2012, makes his third appearance on the watch list. He caught 41 passes for 445 yards as a junior, both good for third in a single season for IU tight ends.
Holmes had a career-high 25 catches as a junior, with 158 yards and two touchdowns. He will be used plenty in coach Darrell Hazell’s tight end-heavy schemes this fall.
Fakes had the best season production-wise of the group, with five touchdowns en route to an All-Mid-American Conference first team selection. He caught 57 passes for 461 yards last season.