Nearly one month after he was suspended indefinitely by Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, Buckeyes tight end Jake Stoneburner received some good news when he was named to the John Mackey Award watch list.
The award, which is presented by the Nassau County Sports Commission, is given annually to college football's top tight end. Since its inception in 2000, no Buckeye has ever won the award, although one of Meyer's former players at Florida, Aaron Hernandez, received the award in 2009.
Semifinalists for the award will be named on Nov. 12, with three finalists being revealed on Nov. 19. The award will ultimately be presented on Dec. 6 as a part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Red Carpet Show.
Stoneburner- who has already drawn favorable comparisons to Hernandez following spring practice- tied for the Buckeyes' team lead in receptions in 2011 with 14, and led Ohio State with seven touchdown catches. With one more touchdown catch, Stoneburner will tie the school record for career touchdown receptions by a tight end.
The Dublin, Ohio native had his scholarship revoked after he and offensive lineman Jack Mewhort each pled guilty to disorderly conduct charges in Shawnee Hills, Ohio in June. It is expected, however, that both Stoneburner and Mewhort will earn their scholarships back by the start of fall camp in August.
The 6-foot-5 tight end has lofty expectations for the final year of his college career.
"We want to come out and have a lot better year and show that last year was just a fluke," Stoneburner said. "I wouldn't say that we have a more of a chip on our shoulder but we are out to prove a little more that we are a better team than we were last year."
The announcement of the fifth-year senior's inclusion on the list comes one day after quarterback Braxton Miller was named to the Maxwell Award watch list, and defensive linemen John Simon and Johnathan Hankins were named to the watch list for the Bednarik Award.