DENVER — Trey McBride is one of the greatest tight ends to ever play college football and he now has the hardware to prove it. On Thursday night the senior from Fort Morgan was named the 2021 Mackey Award winner, which is annually presented to the nation’s best tight end. 

The esteemed honor comes after one of the most individually productive seasons by a tight end ever. McBride only recorded a pair of touchdowns this fall, one receiving and one rushing, his impact on the field was undeniable though. 

McBride is just the fifth tight end ever to record a 1,000 yard season in the FBS. With 1,121 this fall, he finished 79 yards shy of averaging exactly 100 yards per game but at 93.4 he still managed to crack the top 20 nationally. McBride’s 90 receptions in 2021 was the most by a tight end by far, and it was the 11th most in the country overall. Nobody else at the position even finished in the top 50. 

Trey McBride fends off Vanderbilt linebacker Michael Owusu on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at Canvas Stadium.

While the numbers alone prove that No. 85 is the best in the country, the film proves it even further. McBride was good for multiple contested catches a game and his ability to produce yards after the catch made him a huge weapon in the open field. It’s what caught the attention of the likes of Pro Football Focus and the Senior Bowl. That unique playmaking ability is also what has impressed Todd McShay who has consistently had McBride tabbed as the best tight end in the 2022 NFL Draft all season long. 

Nobody in Fort Collins needed the validation of a selection committee to know that Trey McBride is one of the most talented players in college football. Ram Nation has gotten a front row seat to watching him develop into the most elite tight end to ever play at CSU, which is really saying something considering the proud history the Rams have at the position. Joel Dreesen, Keli McGregor, Crockett Gillmore, Kory Sperry, Kivon Cartwright — CSU has had a long history of producing studs at tight end. But as talented as those guys were, McBride was just on another level. 

He leaves CSU as a Rams legend and a guy that you can make a legitimate argument for as one of the greatest players in program history. Obviously he has the talent to stack up with anyone, but when you factor in his commitment to CSU and what he’s meant to the fans over the last three years, it’s hard to come up with many others that can give McBride a run for the crown. 

Trey McBride stiff arms South Dakota’s Chase Norblade, Friday, Sept. 3, 2021 at Canvas Stadium.

There’s no shortage of former CSU players currently making Ram fans proud on Sundays. Shaq Barrett is one of the best pass rushers in the game and now that Michael Gallup is healthy again he’s making big-time plays for Dallas. Josh Watson, Rashard Higgins, Preston Williams and Olabisi Johnson have had nice moments in the league too. But I have a feeling we’re going to see a whole lot of McBride jerseys on campus in the coming seasons. His impact and his presence have meant a whole lot to a group of fans that haven’t had much to cheer for over the last half decade. 

I’ll say it one more time, we didn’t need anyone else to acknowledge McBride’s dominance. For two years the CSU diehards have made the case that No. 85 is TE1. It’s nice to see him get the recognition he deserves though. For a player that absolutely busted his ass for his school for little to no team success, you can’t help but feel good for him tonight. 

Congratulations, Trey. We all look forward to seeing you succeed at the next level. 


Justin is a Colorado State alumnus and has covered the Rams for DNVR since 2019. Prior to coming to DNVR, Justin was the founder of and the Sports Director for the Rocky Mountain Collegian. From 2013-15 he was an intern for CSU Football.