The D Zone

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

2 TE's who didn't take typical path to success, selected for John Mackey Award Watchlist

Like the headline states 2 local TE's didn't take the common or typical way of getting noticed as national college football players.  Graduates of; L'Anse Creuse North - Tyler Conklin and Battle Creek Lakeview - Donnie Ernsberger on Tuesday were selected for the pre-season John Mackey Award watchlist, which is awarded to the country's best tight end.

Lets begin with the two high schools,  LCN is in Macomb County on the far east, nearby Selfridge Air Base and Lakeview is southwest of downtown Battle Creek, the BC-area simply put hasn't produced college bound athletes unless they're "can't miss prospects" for their level which is what has happened.

Tyler Conklin out of L'Anse Creuse North didn't get much football attention and went to play basketball at D2 school Northwood.  Conklin's story is obviously one of passion and accomplishing goals as he left to walk-on at CMU.  Conklin will have a story of his own, as few players have the work ethic necessary to complete that process.

Donnie Ensberger was 6'3" 225 lbs as an upcoming high school junior and 100+ tackler in 3 years on Varsity.  He just never got over the hump of being from an under-recruited area during the process.  His only other offer was from Grand Valley State who has a history of taking overlooked / borderline D1 talent to winning national titles, etc.  It's safe to say unless he walked-on to a different D1 and if P.J. Fleck didn't take a chance on a local stud that he would probably be a D2 All-American or some other accolades.  Instead, Ernsberger earned a grayshirt and when he came to Western, he was driven to succeed with the opportunity he earned and now is mentioned as one of the best FBS TE's.

Conklin in his 2nd year at CMU in 2016 caught 42 passes for 560 yards and 6 touchdowns.

Ernsberger through 3 years has caught 11 catches for 134 yards and 1 touchdown while playing 39 games.  He's best utilized as a blocker.

The only other player since 2012 we have recorded from Michigan who earned this pre-season honor was Troy Athens / Iowa TE Jake Duzey in 2015 and no former Michigan grad has won the award.

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