EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State junior Josiah Price, who set career highs for receptions (26), receiving yards (374) and touchdown catches (6) last season, has been named to the 2015 watch list for the John Mackey Award, presented to college football’s most outstanding tight end since 2000.
In addition to Price, the 33-player watch list features four other Big Ten tight ends, including Michigan’s Jake Butt, Penn State’s Kyle Carter, Iowa’s Jake Duzey and Ohio State’s Nick Vannett.
The 6-foot-4, 252-pound Price played in all 13 games in 2014, including six starts at tight end. The honorable mention All-Big Ten selection (coaches and media) ranked among the team leaders in TD receptions (second), catches (tied for third) and receiving yards (fourth). Price tied the school single-season record for most TD catches (6) by a tight end (Kellen Davis, 2007). Seventeen of his 26 receptions (65 percent) resulted in either a TD or first down. An honorable mention selection on CollegeFootballNews.com’s All-Sophomore Team, he caught at least one pass in 10 of MSU’s 13 games.
“Josiah Price is a very versatile player for our team, and his experience is a big asset,” MSU co-offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Jim Bollman said. “Josiah works diligently to be a consistent blocker, both on and off the line of scrimmage as well as in movement situations. He’s an excellent route runner, with fine hands. Josiah has been an exceptional receiver for us, especially in the red zone.”
Price had three receptions for 27 yards in MSU’s 42-41 win over No. 4 Baylor in the 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic, and his 8-yard TD grab from Connor Cook early in the fourth quarter helped spark the comeback.
He matched his career high with five catches for 72 yards against No. 14 Ohio State, including a 16-yard TD reception. Price caught three passes for a career-best 83 yards at Indiana, including a career-long 67-yard reception and a 10-yard TD grab. He was named Spartan Offensive Lineman of the Week for his performance against No. 19 Nebraska, including a 21-yard catch. Price had a career-high five receptions for 51 yards at No. 3 Oregon, including a 7-yard TD grab. He caught three balls for 54 yards in the season opener against Jacksonville State, including a 32-yard reception. His other TD catches came against Wyoming and at Purdue.
The Greentown, Indiana, native has appeared in 27 career games, including 12 starting assignments. His career totals include 43 receptions for 584 yards (13.6 avg.) and 10 TDs. Price already ranks third in school history for TD receptions by a tight end.
The award is named in honor of John Mackey (Baltimore Colts, 1963-71; San Diego Chargers, 1972), a five-time Pro Bowl and three-time All-NFL selection. In 1992, Mackey became only the second tight end to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In 10 seasons as a pro, his career totals included 331 receptions for 5,236 yards (15.8 avg.) and 38 TDs. Mackey was named to the NFL’s All-Decade (1960s) and 50th Anniversary Teams.
A three-year letterman at Syracuse from 1960-62, Mackey was named to the Orange All-Century Team in 1999 and had his No. 88 jersey retired in 2007. As a collegiate player, he had 27 career catches for 481 yards (17.8 avg.) and nine scores. Mackey was selected in the second round (No. 19 overall) of the 1963 NFL Draft by the Colts.
Semifinalists for the Mackey Award will be announced on Nov. 16. Finalists for the award will be identified on Nov. 24, with the winner announced on Dec. 9. The formal presentation of the award will be made at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Dec. 10 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Courtesy of Michigan State University