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Position Preview: Tight End


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We take a brief break from 'Texas to the SEC' talk and continue our position preview series with kickoff against Louisiana just 43 days away. Let's talk about the tight ends:

Departures

Malcolm Epps (Portal)- 3 catches for 42 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2020

Epps began his college career at wide receiver but was moved to TE prior to the 2020 season. He was used a red-zone target a handful of times throughout last season, but was never able to carve out a consistent role. He went through spring practice with the new coaching staff before opting to enter the portal and transfer to USC.

Additions

Ja'Tavion Sanders- #12 overall player in the country, #1 ranked ATH

Juan Davis- #542 overall player in the country, #34 ranked TE

Gunnar Helm- #663 overall player in the country, #34 ranked TE

The Longhorns added some talent to the TE room from the 2021 class, headlined by Ja'Tavion Sanders. The Denton Ryan standout played DE and TE in high school, but will start his career on the offensive side of the ball. He has a chance of making an immediate impact and could see the field early this fall.

Davis and Helm were both early enrollees who participated in spring ball. Both flashed during the spring game but are likely headed for redshirt years.

Returning Players

Sr Cade Brewer (2020 stats)- 15 catches, 169 yards and 2 TD's

Jr Jared Wiley (2020 stats)- 9 catches, 166 yards and 1 TD

Rs-So Brayden Liebrock (2020 stats)- 2 catches for 11 yards

Texas will have plenty of experience returning as they welcome back Cade Brewer and Jared Wiley. Brewer will be entering his 5th season in the program and has 22 career starts. He appeared to drop some weight over the winter and looked more athletic throughout the spring. 

Wiley saw his snaps increase as the 2020 season progressed and has shown a lot of potential as a pass catcher. The big question with the junior will be if he is able to hold up in the run game and when he is asked to stay in for pass protection. If the answer to those two question are yes, then Wiley could be in for a big year.

Liebrock is a little bit of a wildcard at the position. He battled injuries in 2020 but came to campus known for his pass catching ability. With a strong fall camp, he could be in line for role as a pass catching TE in Steve Sarkisian's offense.

Outlook

Several months ago, Sarkisian mentioned that tight end was one of the most important positions in his offense. Texas will be in 11 and 12 personnel the majority of the time on offense, so it makes sense that a premium will be placed on the position. Lucky for Sarkisian and offensive coordinator Kyle Flood, this is probably the deepest the Longhorns have been at TE in quite a while. 

The expectation is Sarkisian's system will be more tight end friendly, allowing both Brewer and Wiley to fit into roles that maximize their skillsets. Liebrock and Sanders are both likely to provide positive contributions as well, setting the table for what could be a productive year from the tight end room.

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12 hours ago, Sirhornsalot said:

Embarrassing riches at TE.

Sanders is going to kill it. Wiley has just scratched the surface of his potential. Liebrock could emerge big time in this offense.

Agree. 

Or...Wiley or Liebrock could kill it at tight end and Sanders could kill it on defense, depending on need.

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Solid write up. Should be interesting  how the staff uses the TEs.  Hopefully makes any 2nd, 3rd, and/or 4th amd short easier to make. Plus a difficult decision on DCs on how to cover these and redzones which should help the offense going forward. 

 

 

 

 

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On 7/23/2021 at 11:57 PM, Sirhornsalot said:

Embarrassing riches at TE.

Sanders is going to kill it. Wiley has just scratched the surface of his potential. Liebrock could emerge big time in this offense.

Is he?...I keep hearing rumblings about him being the laziest player on the team. I hope what I have been hearing is just so much BS. Then I her that he wants to just play DE.

 

I need some real football. I am being over whelmed by all the bullshit.

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