2016 John Mackey Award and Rimington Trophy Watch Lists Include 10 MW Student-Athletes

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A total of 10 Mountain West football student-athletes were named to the 2016 preseason John Mackey Award and Rimington Trophy watch lists on Wednesday. The John Mackey Award is given annually to the most outstanding collegiate tight end, while the Rimington Trophy honors the nation’s top center. 

On the John Mackey Award watch list is Boise State junior Jake Roh, Nevada senior Jarred Gipson, senior Billy Freeman of San José State and Utah State senior Wyatt Houston

A 2015 All-Mountain West Second Team honoree, Roh caught 33 passes for 357 yards and a touchdown a year ago for the Broncos. Gipson earned All-MW honorable mention honors last season after catching 19 passes for 247 yards and five touchdowns while blocking for a pair of 1,000-yard running backs. Freeman hauled in 48 catches for 586 yards and six touchdowns last season en route to a First-Team All-MW accolade and an honorable mention All-America nod from SI.com. Houston played in all 13 games in 2015, making nine starts as he finished the year with 25 receptions for 307 yards and three touchdowns.

The Rimington Trophy watch list includes Colorado State junior Jake Bennett, Hawaii sophomore Eli Asotui, senior Nathan Goltry of Nevada, San Diego State senior Arthur Flores and seniors Will Kreitler and Austin Stephens of UNLV and Utah State, respectively. 

Bennett started all 13 games in 2015, helping block for an offense that ranked third in the Mountain West with 417.0 yards per game. Asotui made 12 starts as a freshman last season, helping pave the way for 1,000-yard rusher Paul Harris. Making 13 starts in 2015, Goltry helped Nevada become one of just three teams in the nation with a pair of 1,000-yard running backs. Flores blocked for a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in Donnel Pumphrey (1,653 yards) and Chase Price (1,008), marking the first time in school history that San Diego State had multiple 1,000-yard rushers. Kreitler earned 2015 Honorable Mention All-Mountain West Conference and is a 2016 preseason Second Team All-MW choice by Phil Steele's and a third-team pick by Athlon. Stephens was an All-Mountain West Honorable Mention selection and a Phil Steele Second-Team All-MW honoree in 2015.