NC State’s Jaylen Samuels is a hybrid performer so versatile that the ACC added an “all-purpose” position to its football all-conference team to make sure he gets his proper due.
Technically, though, he’s listed as a tight end.
As such, he’s one of eight players named Tuesday as semifinalists for the John Mackey Award as the nation’s best player at that position.
Wake Forest’s Cam Serigne, who has caught more passes than any tight end in school history, is also among those still in the running for the trophy named in honor of the former Syracuse and Baltimore Colts Hall of Famer.
The other players named as semifinalists are South Carolina’s Hayden Hurst, Oklahoma’s Mark Andrews, Miami’s Christopher Herndon, UMass’ Adam Breneman, Wisconsin’s Troy Fumagalli and Penn State’s Mike Gesicki.
Samuels has 61 catches for 502 yards and four touchdowns for the Wolfpack while also rushing 58 times for 284 yards and nine scores.
Serigne has caught 28 passes for 393 yards and eight touchdowns in 2017. In addition to setting a school record for tight ends with 158 career catches, the senior last week at Syracuse also surpassed North Carolina’s Eric Ebron as the ACC’s all-time leader in career receiving yards by a tight end with 1,912.
The two will go head-to-head against one another on Saturday when Samuels’ Wolfpack and Serigne’s Deacons play their annual Atlantic Division showdown in Winston-Salem.
The eight semifinalists were chosen in balloting among a Mackey Award selection committee and will be narrowed to four finalists next week. The winner will be announced on Dec. 6 and presented as part of a made-for-television awards show the following day.