July 6, 2011
Bethpage, N.Y. - Vanderbilt senior Brandon Barden is one of 34 players named to the 2011 Mackey Award preseason watch list, the Nassau County (N.Y.) Sports Commission announced today.
The Mackey Award, named for NFL Hall of Famer John Mackey, is presented annually to college football's most outstanding tight end.
Barden, from Lincolnton, Ga., is one of four Southeastern Conference tight ends named to the watch list. The others are junior Orson Charles of Georgia. junior Philip Lutzenkirchen of Auburn, junior Michael Williams of Alabama.
Barden is the conference's active leader among tight ends in receptions and receiving yards. He enters his final season as a Commodore with 91 career catches, good for 991 yards and eight touchdowns.
As a junior, Barden earned second team All-SEC honors from the Associated Press by pacing the Commodores with 34 receptions and 425 receiving yards in 2010.
Only two Commodore tight ends, former All-Americans Allama Matthews and Chuck Scott, have more career receptions at the position than Barden.
The last two Mackey Award winners have been standouts from the SEC: D.J. Williams of Arkansas in 2010 and Aaron Hernandez of Florida in 2009.
Mackey is considered to be among the best to have played the tight end position. A tight end by whom all others are measured, Mackey was a role model on and off the field as demonstrated by his Super Bowl championship, his commitment to community and his place in history as the first President of the NFLPA. Ten former Mackey Award recipients have played in the NFL, including Hernandez, 2001 winner Dallas Clark, 2003 winner Kellen Winslow II and 2005 winner Marcedes Lewis.
The Commodores open their first season under Head Coach James Franklin by hosting Elon on Sept. 3 in Vanderbilt Stadium. Season tickets for the Commodores' seven-game home schedule remain available online at the official website (vucommodores.com), by phone at (615) 322-GOLD or in the Athletic Box Office in McGugin Center on campus.