ATHENS, Ga. --- Georgia junior Orson Charles was named one of three finalists for the 2011 John Mackey Award on Monday night, which is awarded annually to the most outstanding tight end in college football.
Clemson's Dwayne Allen and Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert join Charles as the three finalists for this year's honor. Arkansas' D.J. Williams was the 2010 recipient as Florida's Aaron Hernandez claimed the 2009 award. Charles represents the first Bulldog to be named a finalist since the award started in 2000.
The Mackey Award winner will be presented live at the Home Depot ESPN College Football Awards Red Carpet Show in Orlando, Fla., on December 8 at 6 p.m. on ESPNU.
Charles, a 6-3, 241-pound native of Tampa, Fla., has the most receptions of any Bulldog this year (35) and has recorded 435 yards receiving and five touchdowns through 11 games. With Georgia surging to third in the Southeastern Conference in total offense at 427.6 yards per game during the team's nine-game winning streak, Charles is coming off a performance where he led the Bulldogs with 40 yards receiving on three catches versus Kentucky.
Teaming up at Georgia with his former quarterback at Plant High School, Aaron Murray, Charles is tied for the most all-time career touchdown catches for any Georgia tight end with 10 and is ranked second in career yardage (1,231) and third in receptions (84). Charles has started 26 games in his career, including the last 21 in a row, and has been a key component to the Bulldogs having three different 100-yard rushers this season.
Charles has been a captain three times this season as he has also contributed on the kickoff team, PAT/field goal team and punt return team, including blocking a punt at Vanderbilt. A member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll with a 3.15 GPA, Charles has played a major role in the Bulldogs capturing their first outright SEC Eastern Division title since 2005.