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Minnesota Football 2023 Preview: Upgrade / Downgrade Tight End

After a breakout year by Spann-Ford, will this position be an upgrade in 2023?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 15 Minnesota at Illinois Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This is largely a unit that has had far more impact in the run game than in the passing game over recent seasons. In the first four years of the PJ Fleck era the tight end accounted for just over 6% of the passing offense. The two years following were over 20% as Brevyn Spann-Ford began grow into his role.

He now enters his final season with the Gophers after breaking out in 2022.


Starter: Brevyn Spann-Ford, Nick Kallerup
Depth: Jameson Geers

Spann-Ford finally had that breakout year people had been waiting for. The third-year tight end led the team in receptions with 42 and had 497 yards receiving. This was enough to earn him 3rd team All-Big Ten honors.

Nick Kallerup was also a fixture in the offense, replacing the underappreciated Ko Kieft, mostly contributing to the blocking game. And Jameson Geers also was a regular in the rotation, playing in 9 games.

And that was basically it for TEs who participated last season. A thin group that was fortunate to remain healthy.

The numbers by Spann-Ford were the best TE receiving numbers that we have seen in the Fleck era. He really became a weapon in the offense.


Starter: Brevyn Spann-Ford, Nick Kallerup
Depth: Jameson Geers, Nathan Jones

More of the same from 2022 but everyone is a little stronger and more experienced.

Spann-Ford is on watch lists and is a potential first-team All-Big Ten caliber player this season. He is likely going to have quite a few offensive targets and will be a key play-maker.

And I think it is reasonable to think that Kallerup is going to be even better in the run game, opening holes for the bevy of new backs.

Geers is developing into a reliable option behind Spann-Ford. And Jones, who redshirted last season, will likely get some action on the field.


When you are returning the entire position, and it was a position group that was pretty good, you expect that this will be a slight upgrade. But this unit has a chance at being a significant upgrade.

I believe that Spann-Ford is not only going to become a focal point for this offense, but I think a concerted effort will be made to truly feature him. He has a chance to increase his draft stock for next spring if he’s able to have a great season. I am predicting as much for him this fall.

This is going to be an upgrade.


Is TE going to be an upgrade for the Gophers?

This poll is closed

  • 86%
    UPGRADE - Brevyn Spann-Ford is going to be drafted after a great 2023 season
    (249 votes)
  • 12%
    NEUTRAL - It was good last year, will be good this year
    (36 votes)
  • 1%
    DOWNGRADE - I’m a pessimist
    (3 votes)
288 votes total Vote Now