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Gopher Football Preview: Tight Ends Upgrade or Downgrade

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

I believe that the rest of the offense has been covered and it is time to look at the Gopher Tight Ends for 2013. This is usually a group that nobody is talking about in July/August, they are part offensive line and part wide-receiver. They are a group that is undervalued until you have a really good one, then you realize just how valuable a good TE can be for an offense.

Like a few other position groups within the Gopher offense, this is one that is young and I think talented. There are a few Gopher TEs that I think are going to be outstanding play-makers for this offense. Bear in mind that in the Maryland-I Golden-I, these guys will be on the field and utilized quite a bit. First and foremost they need to be good blockers, glorified offensive tackles who will be threats to sneak out in the redzone when they are allowed to be play-makers. Last year the tight ends accounted for 7 of the team's 19 passing touchdowns. The only player gone from 2012 is John Rabe. An Iowa product who transferred to the U from Ellsworth Community College. Rabe was 2nd on the team with 4 TD receptions and led all tight ends with 14 receptions and 143 yards.

So who will be playing in 2013 and why am I so excited? Expect to see three names on the field most of the time. Drew Goodger, Maxx Williams and Lincoln Plsek. All three are going to play a lot and I think all three are going to be very good. These three are in the 6-4 to 6-5 range and 255-265. I don't want to overstate things too much, I'm not trying to say we have Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates and Aaron Hernandez Vernon Davis. But I really do believe this is a talented trio. Another position that has a little depth to go with some talent and they will all be here for the next couple seasons.

2013 TDG
Gopher Footbal Preview Posts

2013 Gopher Football Previews
* Quarterback Upgrade/Downgrade
* Running Back Upgrade/Downgrade
* Wide Receiver Upgrade/Downgrade
* Looking at Gopher Offensive Line
* Linebacker Upgrade/Downgrade
* The Year 3/4 Turn
* Defensive Depth Chart Speculation

Drew Goodger is the returner with the most experience and production. The junior has participated in 22 games, started 7 and caught three touchdowns last year as a true sophomore. He moves well, he is strong, he blocks well and should be a factor in the offense this year.

Maxx Williams is a redshirt freshman looking to make an impact this season. Williams is also a good sized kid who moves really well and I believe is going to end up being one of the better TEs in the conference before he graduates. Waconia's finest, is going to surprise people this year with a handful of redzone touchdowns and key 3rd down conversions.

Licoln Plsek is a sophomore out of West, Texas who participated in the final eight games of 2012. Like Goodger, he came to the U possibly as a defensive end but quickly settled in at tight end. He will get plenty of snaps, along with Williams and Goodger this year and as I've stated I think they are all going to be positive contributors to the offense.

After those three you have another trio of kids who will all see some action but their snaps will likely be more limited.

Junior, Alex Bisch is the next guy on the bench with any real experience on the field. As a sophomore, Bisch appeared in eight games but has not recorded any stats. I think you will continue to see Bisch in more special teams situations, more than at tight end or H-back.

Sahr Ngekia is a senior out of Holy Angels who is yet to see any action. He came into the program as a wide receiver and shifted to TE.

Duke Anwanyu is a redshirt freshman who stands a good chance to see some action this year. The Blaine product came in as an athlete who played some quarterback, running back, H-back and played on defense as well. Athleticism is the key here and Anwanyu is the kid of player who has big-play ability for his position. Snaps and opportunity are the key and I suspect you'll see him on the field at times this year, particularly in passing situations.

Freshman Nate Wozniac is a giant who reportedly moves well for being 6'9"! His size makes him an intriguing player as you don't typically see a kid with that kind of height playing football. Expect him to red-shirt and if he grows anymore maybe he should consider playing center for Coach Pitino.

I'll take this space to also talk about Mike Henry who will be on the field quite a bit this year as the team's starting fullback. He has seen action in 27 games over his career as FB, H-back, linebacker and on special teams. #30 should be on the field quite a bit this year and you may even see him get a few carries.

The names listed above are not playing any of the sexy positions on the offense, in fact they probably are getting less ink than the offensive line. But I think we have a nice crew of players here who will be productive and should make a difference in the offense.

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