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July 8, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; July 8, 2014 - Penn State will own one of the most skilled and talented tight end groups in the country in 2014, and the John Mackey Award Watch List confirmed that when juniors Kyle Carter and Jesse James were both named to the preseason list for the prestigious award that honors the nation's top collegiate tight end.
Penn State joined Oklahoma and Oregon as the only two schools with multiple selections to the 40-player preseason watch list.
The Mackey Award honors outstanding athletic prowess on the field, along with positive sportsmanship-like behavior, good academic standing & exceptional leadership abilities. The award recipient is determined by confidential balloting of the John Mackey Award Selection Committee, which is composed of respected members of the media and former NFL players.
James enters his junior campaign as the team's leading returnee in receptions and receiving yards, and was named pre-season All-Big Ten by Sporting News, which selected one all-conference team, earlier this offseason. James has made 18 starts in his initial two seasons, tied for fourth-highest on the squad.
The former South Allegheny High School standout made 25 catches for 333 yards and three touchdowns in 2013, starting every game. His 13.3-yard average was second only to All-America wideout Allen Robinson. James made at least two receptions in eight games last season, including a career-best six catches and grabbing his first touchdown of the season in the four-overtime win over No. 18 Michigan. He gained a season-high 67 yards against the Wolverines, including the 20-yard TD reception.
Carter was tied for third on the team with 18 receptions for 222 yards and one game-winning touchdown. A strong and improved blocker and receiver, he was a mid-season candidate for the John Mackey Award, after being the only freshman on the award's mid-season watch list in 2012. The vastly talented and athletic Carter was a consensus Freshman All-American during the 2012 campaign.
Limited by an arm injury suffered in the 2013 season-opener against Syracuse, Carter did not miss a game for the Nittany Lions. He tied his career-high with six catches for a season-high 79 yards at Indiana, including a 26-yard catch to set up a score. Carter caught the game-winning touchdown pass against Illinois, a 15-yarder from Christian Hackenberg in overtime.
The John Mackey Award is named after NFL Hall of Famer John Mackey, who is considered to be the best to have played the tight end position. 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.
The 2014 John Mackey Award Midseason Watch List will be announced on October 13, semifinalists will be named on November 17 and finalists chosen on November 24. The award will be presented live on ESPNU on December 11 during The Home Depot College Football Awards Red Carpet Show.
With Carter and James' selection the Nittany Lions now have four players on preseason watch lists. The watch list for the Maxwell and Bednarik Award include sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg (Palmyra, Va.) and junior cornerback Jordan Lucas (New Rochelle, N.Y.), respectively.
James Franklin was named Penn State's 16th head football coach on January 11. A product of Langhorne, Pa., Franklin led Vanderbilt University to unprecedented success the past three years as head coach, including consecutive nine-win seasons and bowl victories the past two years, as well as back-to-back Top 25 finishes, all for the first time in Vanderbilt history. In his 20th year of coaching, Franklin was a two-time All-PSAC quarterback at East Stroudsburg University and set or tied 23 school records.
More than 4,000 new Penn State football season tickets have been sold for the 2014 campaign. There again was no increase in season tickets prices for Penn State football for the upcoming season.
Fans are now able to purchase Penn State football season tickets and make their Nittany Lion Club donation online at GoPSUsports.com/seasontickets, while choosing their own seats by utilizing Virtual Venue. New season tickets also are available by calling 1-800-NITTANY, weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
The Recent Graduate ticket program gives Penn State graduates who earned an undergraduate degree from 2010-14 at any campus the opportunity to purchase up to two season tickets for $300 per ticket for the seven-game home schedule this fall. The cost includes a $50 donation to the Nittany Lion Club and is a savings of 35 percent from the regular $460 season ticket price ($360 + $100 NLC donation).
More than 600 Recent Graduate program season tickets have been sold. Interested recent graduates can call 1-800-NITTANY, weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Penn State returns 40 letterwinners and 15 starters (7 offense, 7 defense, 1 specialist) for the upcoming season and will play a trio of 2013 Top 10 teams this fall. The Nittany Lions will host Rose Bowl Champion Michigan State (Nov. 29), Ohio State (Oct. 25, 8 p.m.), Northwestern (Sept. 27-Homecoming, 12 p.m.) and Maryland (Nov. 1) during its 2014 Big Ten home schedule. Penn State will host Akron (Sept. 6), UMass (Sept. 20) and Temple (Nov. 15) during its non-conference slate.
The Nittany Lions open the season Aug. 30 vs. UCF in the Croke Park Classic in Dublin, Ireland.
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