clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Tight Ends, Upgrade or Downgrade in 2019?

New, 7 comments

What about the tight ends on this 2019 Gopher Football team?

NCAA Football: Purdue at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Not a position group that was really incorporated in the offense last year, at least not in the passing game. The tight end group accounted for 6 total catches in 2018 and was clearly more of a factor blocking in the run game, more so than a weapon in the passing game. Will that change this year?

2018

Starter: Bryce Witham OR Ko Kieft OR Jake Paulson OR Brevyn Span-Ford
Depth: Colton Beebe, Nate Umlor, Nathan Bursch

Kieft was certainly an important cog in the blocking game last season while Witham was the leader of that group with 3 catches for 75 yards. Paulson started 6 games as a redshirt freshman and Span-Ford was used in the minimum 4 games so he could retain his redshirt season.

This group really never stood out in a meaningful way, especially to the casual fan’s eye.

2019

Starter: Ko Kieft, Brevyn Span-Ford
Depth: Bryce Witham, Jake Paulson
Freshmen: none

This is essentially the same four names as a year ago with couple guys who played sparingly moving positions or graduating.

But the thing is, I think this group is going to be much more productive this season and in the passing game the name you are going to notice is Span-Ford. This kid is very athletic and now has had a year to perfect the finer points of the position and add some size. Span-Ford is one name that I look at as one who will break out in 2019.

The other three names, also key figures to this position group. Paulson and Kieft started most of the games last year so it would be silly to assume they’ll be relegated to significantly fewer snaps while Witham played in 11 games and is the eldest of the group.

Upgrade / Downgrade

Once again this is a group that essentially returns everybody. I expect in the areas of their position that are less obvious, they will all be improved. Knowing your role, more time to perfect the things like footwork and body positionining are important. But the real jump in 2019 is going to come in production in the passing game. Be prepared to fall in love with Span-Ford.

This is going to be a pretty big upgrade, in my opinion.

Poll

Is TE going to be an upgrade in 2019?

This poll is closed

  • 76%
    Upgrade - Yes
    (229 votes)
  • 23%
    Neutral - I’m sure they’ll be fine again
    (71 votes)
  • 0%
    Downgrade - ?
    (1 vote)
301 votes total Vote Now