You can add tight end Mike Gesicki's name to the growing list of Penn State players being recognized in preseason watch lists. The junior was among the 45 tight ends named to the watch list for the John Mackey Award, given annually to the nation's top tight end. Gesicki joins Michigan's Jake Butt, Nebraska's Cethan Carter, Iowa's George Kittle, Minnesota's Brandon Lingen and Michigan State's Josiah Price as the Big Ten athletes to receive recognition for the award.
Gesicki was maligned by drops and inconsistent play last year, but will have an opportunity to see his role increase this year with the departure of Kyle Carter and Brent Wilkerson. Last year, in his sophomore season, Gesicki had 13 catches for 125 yards and 1 touchdown - not exactly what fans were hoping for.
A four-star recruit, and one of the top tight-ends in his class, fans have been looking forward to seeing Gesicki's athleticism and ability to create mismatches for opposing defenses. There have been flashes of his raw ability, but a struggling offense hasn't helped with his numbers and usage. With a new offensive coordinator, and a new QB with a softer arm, many are looking forward to seeing Gesicki grow into a more prominent role on the offense. It seems for the past three years we have been prepared for one of Penn State's to contend for the Mackey Award, and here's hoping that Gesicki is able to stay healthy and feature in the game plan enough to be named a finalist.