Since the Mackey Award debuted in 2000, there has never been a repeat winner. That changed Friday night.
Georgia tight end Brock Bowers won the award after doing so last year as a sophomore. Even despite missing three games due to a high ankle sprain, Bowers was the Bulldogs’ top playmaker as they made yet another trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship.
In his 10 appearances this year, Bowers hauled in 56 receptions for 714 yards and six touchdowns to as the top weapon for Carson Beck. That tied his freshman year total receptions
But Bowers’ season got complicated by his ankle injury, which required tightrope surgery. He returned quickly, but sat out the final regular season game against Georgia Tech and didn’t practice in the lead-up to the SEC Championship against Alabama. While the Bulldogs won every game until that day in Atlanta, Bowers’ absence was still a big storyline.
“Well people called him and told him that. Those people will not be representing him, I can promise you that,” Smart said. “All it did was piss him off. He said, ‘I had people calling and telling me I shouldn’t play, Coach.’ He said, ‘That just drives me crazy. It makes me want to play more to prove them wrong.’ He said, ‘Why am I in this game if I’m not going to come back and play?’
“He’s not risking millions, guys. He has an opportunity to get more millions. Like, it’s the other way. It’s not the way, because he’s a great player. The NFL knows people heal. They heal from that injury. They’ve had tons of that same injury in the NFL. All he did was go out and stamp himself as a warrior.”
Brock Bowers beat out two other finalists — Ohio State’s Cade Stover and Colorado State’s Dallin Holker — for the Mackey Award. Stover had a career year for the Buckeyes with 576 receiving yards and five touchdowns, while Holker had the most receiving yards of the group with 767. He also had six touchdowns.
Ultimately, though, the voters chose to give the award to Bowers. Now, the next question for him is when he’ll hear his name called in the draft in April.