FORT COLLINS — Trey McBride breathed a sigh of relief when the celebration started.
On Thursday night, while seated beside family and friends at Canvas Stadium, the Colorado State football star fidgeted anxiously in a dapper blue suit before an explosion of noise inside the stadium club. A live ESPN broadcast confirmed the inevitable.
McBride won the Mackey Award given annually to the best tight end in college football.
“I was very nervous and just super excited that it all fell into place exactly how I wanted,” McBride said. “I’m beyond blessed, grateful and honored. This is such a cool award that I get to bring back to Fort Collins and celebrate with my teammates and the fanbase at Colorado State.”
The award highlighted a historic season for the Fort Morgan native who led all tight ends nationally in catches (90) and receiving yards (1,121) as a senior. McBride beat out Iowa State’s Charlie Kolar and Texas A&M’s Jalen Wydermyer for the honor.
A large crowd cheered following the announcement. McBride’s CSU teammate and brother, Toby, was the first to offer encouragement.
“(Toby) said: ‘It’s about time you get some recognition. Congratulations,’” McBride recalled. “He’s happy as heck for me. He said he knew it all along.”
McBride became the first Rams tight end to eclipse the 1,000-yard receiving mark in a single season. He finished his four-year career with 164 catches for 2,100 yards and 10 touchdowns. McBride thanked coaches and teammates for that success.
But McBride’s CSU tenure ended with a sudden coaching change.
The Rams fired head coach Steve Addazio last week after a 4-12 record over two seasons. McBride’s reaction?
“After the season I focused on training and I let those guys (in athletic administration) focus on the coaching,” McBride said. “I have no comment on the coaching change. Whatever is best for the program. I just want to see this program succeed. If that’s what they thought it took, and what they had to do, then that’s their decision. I have no say in that.
“I’m excited for the future.”
McBride is considered the top-ranked tight end prospect in the upcoming NFL Draft, per ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. He is projected by most analysts as a late-first or early-second round pick.
“I just want to be a player that can go in and make an immediate impact — whether that’s putting my hand in the ground and blocking or if I’m splitting out catching balls,” McBride said. “I just want to be there and get on the field as much as I can possibly play. No matter what that takes.”