The award is given to the most outstanding collegiate tight end and is selected by the John Mackey Award Selection Committee
O’Leary was a finalist for the award last season after making 33 catches for 557 yards while hauling in seven touchdowns as a junior.
He heads into his senior season as one of the best tight ends in the nation and on the heels of being named to the All-ACC Second team and CBSSports.com All-America Third team among other accolades. O’Leary is famous for not just his on field talent but also the way he goes about it – he doesn’t wear gloves, rather, he plays the game the old fashioned way, a rarity in current times.
USF’s Sean Price is also named to the watch list. The 6-foot-3 tight end made 21 catches last year for 185 yards as USF struggled to a 2-10 record.
The watch list was also released for the Rimington Trophy, given to the nation’s premier center by the Boomer Esiason Foundation.
Austin Barron (FSU), Austin Reiter (USF), Max Garcia (UF) and Joey Grant (UCF) were all named to the list.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2014 NFL Draft, won the John Mackey Award last season.
FSU’s Bryan Stork, who Barron is replacing, won the Rimington Trophy last season after an excellent season and contributor of the Seminoles national title squad. He was a 4th round pick of the New England Patriots in the draft.