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Minnesota Football: Is Seth Green an early contender for the John Mackey Award?

Gopher fans have been dreaming of converting a quarterback to tight end. Dream no more and let the hype begin.

Seth Green preparing to throw a pass Gopher Sports

The preseason watch list for the John Mackey Award, which is presented annually to the best tight end in college football, will be announced on Friday, July 20.

And I’m telling you right now, if the Golden Gophers’ newly minted tight end Seth Green isn’t on it, the selection committee is in for a rude awakening this fall.

As far back as Moses Alipate and as recently as Mitch Leidner, Gopher fans have been clamoring to convert one of their quarterbacks into a tight end. Alipate made the leap, but never saw the field. Leidner said, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Green will be different.

Back in April, the redshirt sophomore made the switch official and will have three seasons now to make his mark at the position, where he’ll compete with the likes of Ko Kieft and Colton Beebe for playing time. I like Kieft and Beebe as much as the rest of you, but I don’t think either of them brings to the table what Green possesses.

And no, this is not satire. Think about it: Green is a natural athlete. Combine his speed and athleticism with a 6’4’’, 229-lb. frame and you have a mismatch nightmare at tight end. The second coming of Moses Alipate? I don’t think so. Alipate was 6’5’’ and 281 lbs and didn’t make the transition to tight end until three years into the program.

And if you look back on the offense that coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca ran at Western Michigan, he utilized more athletic tight ends in the passing game. There wasn’t much of that to be seen last season at Minnesota, but Brandon Lingen and Nate Wozniak weren’t exactly cut from the mold that Ciarrocca prefers to have at his disposal.

Not buying it? Get your laughs in now. When Green is scorching the turf this fall, catching touchdown passes from the Louisville slinger Tanner Morgan, I’ll be the one laughing.