Tennessee football senior Dominick Wood-Anderson is on the preseason John Mackey Award Watch List. The Volunteers tight end has the profile to win it.
If you’re going to win the John Mackey Award for the nation’s best tight end, you need to be a receiving tight end and have an offensive coordinator who loves you. Tennessee football has a tight end who fits both categories.
Dominick Wood-Anderson, a four-star junior college transfer from a year ago, had 17 receptions for 140 yards and two touchdowns with the Vols last year. But he was stuck in a timing-based offense led by Tyson Helton that emphasized speedy receivers, and the poor offensive line play prevented the offense from getting anything going.
This year, Tennessee football figures to still struggle there, but the Vols remain loaded with potential. With Jim Chaney as offensive coordinator, Wood-Anderson, who is on the Mackey Award Preseason Watch List, has a great chance at winning it. Just look at the Mackey track record, Chaney’s track record as an offensive coordinator, and Wood-Anderson’s profile.
The Mackey Award undervalues primary blocking tight ends, which is why Austin Pope, the No. 2 tight end, is not as likely to make the list. Blocking has actually been a weakness of Wood-Anderson’s, but his receiving skills are elite. That’s why the 6’4″ 257-pound senior belonged.
On top of that, though, for as much as Chaney loved to run the ball with the Georgia Bulldogs, he has always loved balance and mismatches. And in Wood-Anderson, he has a mismatch at tight end, something he has loved to use in the passing game in the past.
Don’t believe it? Look at the 2012 year, his last time on Rocky Top. The Vols had a historically great passing offense, who was similar to Wood-Anderson in that he wasn’t a great blocker, had 36 receptions for 562 yards and five touchdowns.
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If you’re concerned about Wood-Anderson being held back because the Vols are so loaded with weapons elsewhere, including four potential go-to wide receivers and two more athletic slot guys along with Ty Chandler and Tim Jordan as elite pass-catching running backs, don’t worry about it. Chaney can get around that as well.
In 2012, the offense was loaded with guys like Cordarrelle Patterson, Justin Hunter and Rajion Neal. It didn’t stop Rivera from putting up his numbers, and Jarrett Guarantano could have plenty of chances to throw to Wood-Anderson and get him his numbers this year.
Simply put, Tennessee football’s situation puts Wood-Anderson in the perfect spot to win this award. Jeremy Pruitt clearly loves him, as he loves tight ends in general, and he is the perfect guy for Chaney to work with.
As a result, Wood-Anderson should definitely be a guy on anybody’s watch list to win the Mackey Award. Everything is in place for him to do that, and if he does, it will mean that Guarantano had a great season throwing the ball.