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Virginia Tech tight end named to the John Mackey Award watch list

Mitchell has a chance to be one of the best tight ends in the ACC in 2021.

NCAA Football: ACC Kickoff
James Mitchell
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech senior tight end James Mitchell was named to the John Mackey Award watch list this week. The Mackey Award is given annually to college football’s top tight end.

Mitchell, a 6-foot-3, 242-pounder from Big Stone Gap, Virginia, was one of three Hokies who attended the ACC Kickoff with head coach Justin Fuente this week. Mitchell caught 26 passes for 435 and four touchdowns in 2020. He also rushed for a touchdown.

At the ACC Kickoff, Mitchell was asked what he did to get better for 2021, per Virginia Tech’s official website:

Yeah, first off, I added a lot of weight to my frame. Since the last season, I’ve gained eight to ten pounds. I’m running well. I’m as strong as I’ve ever been. That was a huge part of me coming back, was continuing to get stronger. I play down there in the trenches. Continue to be able to block those guys on the line. Also working on my routes. I try to do a lot of things for the offense. Being able to go out there and run routes against DBs and safeties, that’s also something I’ve tried to focus on.

Mitchell has a chance to be one of the top tight ends in all of college football in 2021. He will certainly be a favorite target of quarterback Braxton Burmeister.

The Mackey Award was established in 2000, named after Hall-of-Fame tight end John Mackey, who played collegiately at Syracuse before his NFL career.

Florida’s Kyle Pitts won the award last year.