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Unimaginative Mackey Award voters have no idea what to do with Jaylen Samuels

Clemson v North Carolina State Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Can you categorize NC State man-of-countless-skills Jaylen Samuels in one specific way? No, you can’t, which is part of what makes him special. Still, you’d think that the reigning first-team All-ACC tight end would merit some preseason recognition from a national award that handles that general spot on the field.

But no: Samuels is not on the pre-season Mackey Award watchlist; the Mackey Award is given to the country’s top tight end. There are five other ACC tight ends on this watchlist, but no Jaylen Samuels, because these people have no clue how to treat him. Lack of imagination does not excuse this unconscionable affront.

There is a dude on there from Louisville who caught 19 passes last year, though.

This is more comical to me than anything, though surely Samuels lined up often enough in a TE-ish type area to merit a spot on this incredibly unnecessary deep-dive into mostly slow guys who run five yards and catch passes once every other quarter.

Jaylen Samuels should be able to call his shot, anyway. If he says he is a tight end, then he’s a tight end. If he says he’s a halfback, then he’s a halfback. If he says he is a super-mega-destructo-back, then dat golly, that’s what he is. The label is immaterial, really—the bottom line is if you’re gonna make a 45-person “watchlist” for a position and it does not include Jaylen Samuels, then you have badly messed up.