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Minnesota Football: Spring Position Previews - Tight End

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Will this be the season Brevyn Spann-Ford fulfills his potential?

NCAA Football: Minnesota at Indiana Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

With spring football practice underway at Minnesota, we’ll be breaking down each position group in the lead-up to the spring game at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 30.

2022 Tight End Roster

Returning Starter(s): Brevyn Spann-Ford
Other Returners: Nick Kallerup and Jameson Geers
Spring Enrollees: Spencer Alvarez
Fall Enrollees: Nathan Jones

Out the Door: Ko Kieft and Austin Henderson

Spring Tight End Preview

We will all miss Ko Kieft for one reason or another, whether you appreciated his unique hairstyles or his unofficial position as the battering ram of the Gophers’ ground game.

Wayzata walk-on Nick Kallerup and redshirt freshman Jameson Geers are probably the tight ends best equipped to take over for Kieft in knocking the snot out of defenders, but the most intriguing tight end on the roster has always been St. Cloud native Brevyn Spann-Ford.

His combination of size and athleticism makes him a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses, and last season was his most productive as a pass catcher, recording 23 receptions for 296 receiving yards and one touchdown. With former Minnesota offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca returning to the fold, there has been considerable hand-wringing among Gopher fans who fear that Spann-Ford will see a decreased role in the passing game.

But those are not fears shared by anyone in the program, including Ciarrocca.

“Brevyn has a really big vision for himself on where he wants to go,” Ciarrocca said earlier this spring. “When I got back, Brevyn and I sat down and we talked. He was telling me about his vision that he had for himself and where he wants to go. And my comment back to him was, ‘You need to show me that you’re willing to do that work that it’s going to take to get there.’ And since he walked out of my office that day, he’s done nothing but show me that he’s willing to do the work.”

Ciarrocca also mentioned that Spann-Ford has been working on his route running this spring with new tight ends coach Greg Harbaugh, who replaces Clay Patterson.

“There’s certain things we’re trying to we’re working on with his route running, but Greg’s working really hard on his route running. Greg’s got a great receiver background. So he really understands the science behind the route running and the breakpoints. He’s just really working hard and getting him to play physical all the time, to be aggressive and confident. And he really has been out there.”

Early enrollee Spencer Alvarez is also participating in spring practice but has been limited as he recovers from a minor knee surgery in January.