Allen Reisner displays "mad ups" during this game against Michigan State, wowing both fan and foe with his considerable vertical leap. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)
It's sort of strange to think about Allen Reisner as being a senior leader on offense. Yes, he's been around forever, but always as a second or third option behind guys like Tony Moeaki or Brandon Myers. A year or two ago, Reisner would show flashes of solid play, but never enough to get us thinking, "now there's a guy who's going to be one of the best in the nation." Of course, we're not coaches, so we're always going off a pretty limited sample size (and, some would argue, equally limited knowledge base) when it comes to evaluating backups, but still.
But, at any rate, he's been fantastic for the Hawkeyes this season. Reisner has 35 catches for 370 yards and a couple scores, and some of those catches have been downright remarkable--to the point where I'm not so sure that Marvin McNutt has the best hands on the team anymore.
Reisner's one limitation is that he's not exactly a downfield threat; look at Iowa's starting tight ends going back to Dallas Clark, and any one of them was better at stretching a defense vertically than Reisner is. But Reisner is deceptively elusive, and no, that's not a euphemism for "white receiver;" Adam Robinson qualifies here too. Reisner's ability to make a catch, make one move to get the defender going in the wrong direction, and then get upfield for as much as he can get is, basically, what an offensive coordinator should want out of a tight end (other than 4.5 speed and a borderline-felonious approach to blocking, of course).
At any rate, the John Mackey Award Committee has noticed Reisner's contributions to the Hawkeyes and is rewarding him accordingly; the Marion native is one of eight TEs nominated as semifinalists for the coveted Mackey Award:
- George Bryan (JR, North Carolina State)
- Michael Egnew (JR, Missouri)
- Ladarius Green (JR, Louisiana)
- Daniel Hardy (SR, Idaho)
- Lance Kendricks (SR, Wisconsin)
- Allen Reisner (SR, Iowa, HEY MACKEY DUDES YOU SHOULD VOTE FOR THIS GUY)
- Luke Stocker (SR, Tennessee)
- D.J. Williams (SR, Arkansas)
Is Reisner likely to win the award? Well, no; presumably, stats do matter to the committee, and Reisner doesn't match up all that favorably with his peers here; Egnew and Kendricks are much more productive from a yardage standpoint, and while nobody's been great at getting on the scoreboard, Reisner's stats are really pretty unremarkable across the board. He's probably not a great candidate to be one of the three finalists to be announced next week unless he torches Ohio State (we are not opposed to this scenario by any stretch).
But you know what? Limiting one's standards of success as a tight end to "John Mackey Award Finalist" is a pretty narrow approach to the game, and Reisner's accomplishments already speak well enough for themselves, even if Ricky Stanzi doesn't get him the ball six times per game. He's definitely one of the top 10 tight ends in the nation this season, he's definitely going to get some looks from NFL teams (even if his 40 time knocks him out of the draft), and he's another in a long line of productive Iowa tight ends. Those should all be tremendous points of pride for Reisner and his family,