Carlson a finalist despite missing two games

MANHASSET, N.Y. -- The John Mackey Selection Committee did not snub John Carlson even though the Notre Dame tight end missed nearly a quarter of the season.

Carlson, Arizona State's Zach Miller and Minnesota's Matt Spaeth on Thursday were named the finalists for the John Mackey Award, which is "given to the collegiate tight end who best exemplifies the play, sportsmanship, academics and community values" of the Hall of Famer.

A senior, Carlson had 46 catches for 621 yards and four touchdowns for the Fighting Irish (10-2) but suffered a knee injury early in their victory over Air Force on Nov. 11 and missed their next two contests, including a 44-24 setback at Southern California last weekend.

Miller, a junior, had 41 catches for 420 yards and three touchdowns for Arizona State (7-5). He was the Sun Devils' primary receiving threat, catching 25 more balls any other player.

A senior, Spaeth had 47 receptions for 564 yards and four TDs for the Golden Gophers (6-6) and was named their team MVP.

The winner will be announced at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN on Dec. 7.