Nov. 21, 2002
The Nassau County Sports Commission (NCSC) is pleased to announce the nine semi-finalists for the 2002 John Mackey Award for best collegiate tight end in the country:
Bennie Joppru SR Michigan
Dallas Clark JR Iowa
George Wrighster JR Oregon
Jason Witten JR Tennessee
Kellen Winslow II SO Miami (FL)
Kevin Ware SR Washington
Mike Seidman SR UCLA
Trent Smith SR Oklahoma
Tom Swoboda SR California
Others receiving votes for this years semifinalist include: Kris Wilson, Pittsburgh; Tommy Collins, Connecticut; Ben Utecht, Minnesota; Brock Edwards, Texas; LJ Smith, Rutgers; Mobolaji Afariogun; Western Michigan; Robert Johnson, Auburn.
Since the award was first given out in 2000, 3 of the 4 finalists that have been eligible for the NFL Draft, have been selected in the first round. In 2001, award winner Dan Graham was selected 21st by the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots while finalist Jeremy Shockey was selected 14th overall by the New York Giants. Trent Smith, our 3rd finalist in 2001 returned for his senior year at Oklahoma and continues to show why he was selected as a finalist last year.
The winner of the award will be selected in December, 2002 and will be presented his trophy at the NCSC's Annual Awards Dinner Banquet at the Chateau Briand in Westbury, NY on April 8, 2003. The Mackey Award selection committee is composed of national sportswriters, commentators and outstanding NFL players.
The John Mackey Award was created by the NCSC under the guidance of board member Don McPherson, a county native and former NFL and Syracuse University All-American quarterback. Mackey, also a Nassau County native, is regarded as one of the best athletes to have played the position of tight end. In addition to being an NFL Hall of Famer, he is also a Super Bowl winner (Baltimore, Super Bowl V) and was the first President of the NFLPA.