Texas Tech junior Jace Amaro on Monday was named one of eight semifinalists for the Mackey Award and one of 10 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award.
The Mackey Award goes to the nation’s top tight end. The Biletnikoff goes to the top receiver. Since its inception in 1994, the Biletnikoff Award has always been won by a wide receiver, but any player who catches a pass is eligible.
Amaro is the first player to be a semifinalist for both since Missouri’s Paul Coffman in 2008.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” Amaro said. “It’s something I had as a goal this upcoming season. That’s a great thing. It’s great for our school.
“I would trade those things for Ws, for wins. If anything, I’d rather be undefeated than be on the list for both of those. That’s the point of view I have on the accolades.”
Amaro has 92 receptions for 1,157 yards and six touchdowns. He ranks seventh in the FBS in catches per game at 8.4 and 12th in the FBS in receiving yards per game at 105.2.
The season opener against SMU and last week’s loss to Baylor were the only games in which Amaro did not catch at least eight passes.
Tech fans were incensed in mid-October when Amaro was not included on the Mackey Award’s midseason watch list, because he lines up more often as an inside receiver in Tech’s offense than a traditional tight end in a three-point stance.
Tech has lobbied Mackey Award officials on Amaro’s behalf in the past month, advocating for his consideration.
“It wasn’t too surprising to me,” Amaro said. “The coaches over here and the staff and the media staff over here said they had a plan for it and to ‘Keep playing the way you’ve been playing. Don’t worry about things you can’t control. It’ll work out in the end.’
“I kept playing, and it ended up happening. That was kind of the goal that they had for me and, again, they did a great job doing that.”
The finalists for both awards are scheduled to be announced next Monday.
No tight end has ever been among the three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, so Amaro has a chance to be a trailblazer in that regard.
“It’s a great opportunity,” he said. “That was a little more shocking to me. It’s going to be a little bit tougher to win that one than maybe the tight end award.
“I have one game left, one game to show everything I can do. I still haven’t played the best I feel like I can play -- a complete game, blocking, catching the ball, doing all those things. I plan on doing that, the last game we have here, and it’ll work out in the end the way the Mackey Award thing did.”
Tech has semifinalists for three major awards. Ryan Bustin is among the 20 remaining candidates for the Lou Groza Award for the nation’s top kicker. The junior from Kilgore leads the FBS in field goals made (21), field goals attempted (24) and field goals per game (1.9).