(UHND.com) — Senior tight end Anthony Fasano was named as one of the three finalists for the John Mackey Award, given annually to the nation’s best tight end. The other finalists are Maryland’s Vernon Davis and UCLA’s Marcedes Lewis.
Fasano, a fourth year senior with an additional year of eligibility remaining, has had his best season by far this year despite sharing catches with two potential 1,000 yard receivers in Maurice Stovall and Jeff Samardzija. Fasano has caught 42 passes for 545 yards and two touchdowns including a career long 43 yard touchdown grab against Tennessee.
He was voted a finalist by the John Mackey Award Selection Committee with the winner being announced December 5 and being honored at the May 1, 2006 at the annual award dinner.
Davis, a junior, has caught 43 passes for 763 yards and 5 touchdowns this season — all career highs. Davis is Maryland’s leading receiver this year by over 200 yards. Lewis, has the best stats among the three with 55 catches for 711 yards and 10 touchdowns and is also the leading receiver on his team.
What makes Fasano’s appearance on this list so impressive is that despite not being his team’s go to receiver like Lewis and Davis, he still has comparable stats. While Lewis and Davis are their teams leading receivers, Fasano has to share catches with Biletnikoff Award finalist Jeff Samardzija who has 63 catches for 999 yards and Maurice Stovall who has 53 catches for 887 yards.
Its tough to judge Fasano’s chances for the award because unlike the other tight ends up for the awards, he isn’t the go to receiver on his team. Will the voters see the numbers he put up despite the other weapons on the Irish offense as a positive or will they see it as though he is getting the leftovers from the other offensive stars on the team?
It is pretty clear however, that the New Jersey native is one of the nation’s best tight ends with or without the award. Fasano has shown the ability to catch difficult passes this year as well as move with the ball in his hands. He has had some trouble holding onto the ball at times this year such as the USC game, but that doesn’t take away from what he has accomplished this year.
With Fasano’s nomination, Notre Dame now has finalists for the Davey O’Brien Award (best quarterback), Biletnikof Award (best receiver), and the John Mackey Award (best tight end). All this from a Notre Dame team that supposedly lacked talent at the skill positions last year.
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