Before the season began, there was no shortage of Pitt football players on various watch lists. Now that the season is halfway, tight end Scott Orndoff still finds himself in the hunt for the prestigious Mackey Award given to the nation's top tight end. He is listed as one of 30 players in contention.
Orndoff has seen his production limited the past few years with J.P. Holtz around, but I've always thought he was an above-average tight end that could flourish a little more statistically if he was the main guy. Same for Holtz, actually. And we're starting to see that this year.
Orndoff already has a career-high with 14 catches this season and we're only halfway there. In addition, his 203 receiving yards are just shy of his career-best last year when he had 244. He's only had one game without a catch this year and also has a pair of receiving touchdowns. That 74-yard touchdown reception he had against Georgia Tech helped bolster his stats quite a bit.
The team being without Tyler Boyd has also likely helped him. Factor in the loss of Dontez Ford and all of the young, unproven receivers, and you could make the argument that his numbers should be even higher. But so far, he's been a solid, reliable target for Pitt.
Overall, he's on pace for one of the best seasons by a Pitt tight end in recent years. Holtz's top output was his 350-yard season last year and that was the top year in terms of yardage since Dorin Dickerson topped 500 yards back in 2009.