Despite shoulder injury, Spaeth wins John Mackey Award as country’s best tight end

Spaeth is Minnesota’s all-time leading tight end in receptions and receiving yards.

Matt Spaeth will need his surgically-repaired shoulder to heal quickly, not just because of his future NFL career, but because he’s going to need to carry around another trophy.

The senior on Minnesota’s football team won the 2006 John Mackey Award – which honors the top tight end in the country -the Nassau County Sports Commission and the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show has announced.

“I am honored to be named the recipient of the John Mackey Award,” Spaeth said in a press release. “This is truly unbelievable and a moment that I will never forget.”

Spaeth becomes the first Gophers player and the third Big Ten player to win the award since its inception in 2000. He beat out junior John Carlson of Notre Dame and junior Zach Miller of Arizona State.

In 11 games this season, Spaeth caught 47 passes for 564 yards and four touchdowns. He became the school’s all-time leading tight end in receptions (109) and receiving yards (1,293) along the way.

“For me, this has been the most memorable season of my career because of the way we hung together as a team and being recognized as the top tight end in the nation only adds to that,” Spaeth said in the release. “I would like to thank my family, coaches and teammates for all their support, and I couldn’t be happier to accept this award on behalf of the University of Minnesota.”