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Michigan’s Tyrone Wheatley Jr. makes John Mackey Award watch list

Another Michigan player makes a preseason award watch list, this time it’s Tyrone Wheately Jr. that makes the John Mackey Award watch list, given to the best tight end in the nation.

Tyrone Wheatley Jr. scores a touchdown at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.
The Big House Report

Another day, another Michigan football player makes a preseason watch list.

There are 55 college football players who made the 2017 John Mackey Award watch list, and Michigan’s Tyrone Wheatley Jr. is amongst the qualifiers.

Wheatley’s nomination comes right after ex-Wolverine Jake Butt won the award in 2016. Butt snagged 46 receptions to go along with 546 yards and four touchdowns.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Iowa Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Now in its 17th year as an award, Wheatley will try to gain the accomplishment for back-to-back seasons in Ann Arbor. The winner of the John Mackey award is announced on Dec. 6.

The Buffalo, N.Y. native played in all 13 games for Michigan a season ago as a sophomore. He caught two passes for 27 yards, one of those being a 21-yard touchdown reception in a 41-8 route of Illinois last October.

His other main job was to block on field goal protection. Wheatley is competing with senior Ian Bunting and redshirt freshman Sean McKeon for a starting spot at tight end this summer.

Wheatley is the son of Tyrone Wheatley Sr. who was a running back at Michigan that was First-Team All-Big Ten player for three-straight seasons (1992-94), while helping the Wolverines to two Big Ten titles. He was a running back coach at Michigan from 2015-16, and is now with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

On Monday, Wilton Speight was named to the Maxwell Award watch list, given to the best quarterback in the country. Other teammates that cracked a preseason watch list were Maurice Hurst and Rashan Gary, as they were placed on the Bednarik Award watch list for the nation's best defensive player.

Michigan will open their season against Florida on Sept. 2 in Arlington, Texas at 3:30 p.m.