As the weekend draws to a close, I wanted to catch up on some news that life prevented me from spending more time on during the last week. The big thing I wanted to spend more time talking about was Brandon Lingen’s appearance on the John Mackey Award watch list. For anyone who might have forgotten, the Mackey Award is given to the nation’s top tight end every season (i.e. the award that Maxx Williams should have won in 2014).
Brandon may not be coming into the season with as much hype as Maxx did in 2014, but he has certainly proven his worth to the Gophers in their first year post-Williams:
The junior from Wayzata, Minn., played in 12 games last year and started 10. He caught 33 passes for 428 yards and three touchdowns. Lingen had two 100-yard receiving games last year and was named Minnesota's Tight End of the Year and All-Big Ten Honorable Mention. Lingen was also named CoSIDA Academic All-America second team and Academic All-Big Ten.
Lingen caught the first and second touchdown of him career at Purdue last year. He also caught five passes for a career-high 111 yards against Michigan (fourth-most by a Gopher tight end since 1950 and most by a tight end since Ben Utecht had 104 against Wisconsin in 2001). Lingen scored one touchdown and caught six passes for 105 yards at Iowa. His two 100-yard receiving games last year (111 vs Michigan and 106 at Iowa) made him the first Gopher tight end to have two 100-yard games in the same season since at least 1950.
It’s likely that Lingen will be a key part what fans hope will be an improved Minnesota offense. Over the past 3 seasons Mitch Leidner has relied on a strong receiving tight end in the passing game and nothing suggests that trend will change. As a result, we’ll all be watching closely to see how quickly Brandon comes back from an off-season shoulder surgery.
In the meantime, congrats to Brandon and GO GOPHERS!