Conklin's return lifts Chippewas; receives national honors
Tyler Conklin was named the John Mackey Tight End of the Week after leading the Central Michigan football team in its 26-23 Mid-American Conference victory last Saturday at Ohio.
The senior tight end registered career highs with 10 catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns.
It was Conklin’s first appearance of the season after recovering from a foot injury during the preseason.
"It feels good to be back," Conklin said. "After the injury, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to come back and the timetable kept changing. The fact that it all worked out had to be part of God's plan to get me back on the field. It feels great to be back and doing what I love with all my teammates."
In July, Conklin was named to the John Mackey Award Preseason Watch List. The award goes out annually to the best tight end in college football.
This is the second time in his career that Conklin has received the weekly award.
Head coach John Bonamego called Conklin a "difference-maker" on and off the football field.
"That's why he's a captain and one of the leaders on this team," Bonamego said. "He's a multi-talented, explosive weapon on offense. Having him back in the lineup makes a big difference."
Last week's win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Chippewas and evened their record at 3-3, 1-1 MAC.
"That was my test game," Conklin said. "It was my game to just go out there and see how it feels on my foot. I've just been feeling better and better each day so the recovery process has been good. I feel great."
Heading into its homecoming game at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, CMU is slated to face MAC West Division favorite Toledo. The Rockets (4-1, 1-0 MAC) are coming off a 20-15 victory over Eastern Michigan in their MAC opener.
While it's always a better atmosphere playing in front of CMU’s own fan base, Conklin said Saturday will be "just another game."
"It's good to be back in front of the fans and have the community come out and support you a little more than usual," Conklin said. "That's always a plus, but for us it's just another week. It's another team we have to prepare for and go out and beat.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Kelly/Shorts Stadium. The game can also be viewed on ESPN3.