Cave, Eifert on watch list for top center, tight end awards

Notre Dame senior tight end Tyler Eifert was named to the John Mackey Award Preseason Watch List, while senior center Braxston Cave earned recognition on the Rimington Trophy Fall Watch List.

The Mackey Award is given annually to the most outstanding collegiate tight end, while the Rimington Award is presented annually to the most outstanding collegiate center.

Cave (Granger, Ind./Penn H.S.) has played in 35 games during his career. He started 22 straight games before a foot injury in 2011 required surgery and forced him to miss the remainder of season.

Prior to the setback, Cave started the first nine games at center and helped Notre Dame's offense average 173.6 rushing yards per game and 5.5 yards per carry. A Rimington Trophy candidate a year ago as well, he also spearheaded an offensive line that allowed only five sacks in 324 pass attempts in the season's first nine games.

Eifert (Ft. Wayne, Ind./Bishop Dwenger H.S.) is the lone returning 2011 Mackey Award finalist on the list. He led all tight ends in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 63 receptions and 803 receiving yards last season. Eifert broke Notre Dame's record for most catches and receiving yards in a season by a tight end.

In 2011, Eifert was named first-team All-American by the Walter Camp Football Foundation, second-teamAll-American by the Associated Press and third-team All-American by both and Phil Steele.

Eifert, the only tight end on the 2012 watch list for the Maxwell Award (college football's outstanding player of the year), has 90 receptions for 1,155 yards in his Notre Dame career. He is tied with Kyle Rudolph for the fourth-most catches in a career by a Notre Dame tight end and ranks second all-time in receiving yards by a Fighting Irish tight end. Eifert needs 39 receptions and 605 receiving yards to break Ken MacAfee's school records for career catches and career receiving yards by a Notre Dame tight end.

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