The season is finally getting closer. The release of preseason watch lists for the major college football awards confirms it, and starting with the first two that were released on Monday and including all of them that follow, BuckeyeNation will break them down to see which Ohio State representatives have a shot at bringing home some hardware.
John Mackey Award
What: Given to the nation's outstanding tight end
On the list: Senior Jake Stoneburner
Credentials: Stoneburner's reception total might not have turned a lot of heads, even though his 14 grabs led the Buckeyes last season. But he made the most of the passes thrown his way, turning them into seven touchdowns -- a number that ranked fourth nationally among players at his position. With Ohio State looking to exploit matchups in Urban Meyer's spread offense and more balls expected to be in the air, Stoneburner figures to be in line for better numbers.
Odds: Assuming Stoneburner doesn't miss a beat after returning from his scholarship-less summer by meeting all the requirements set by Meyer for a full reinstatement after his misdemeanor arrest in June, the senior could certainly play his way into contention for the trophy. He seems like a safe bet to stay on the list when the semifinalists are announced Nov. 12.