Player Capsule: JayJay Wilson
Position: Tight End
Weight: 250 pounds
2015 season quick review: Still listed on Arizona State's official roster on its website as a linebacker even though he played exclusively on offense this spring, Wilson bounced between the two sides of the ball as a true freshman in 2015. He started out camp at tight end with an injury that was limiting before being looked at as a Devil backer and inside linebacker. Eventually he settled back on offense in a limited role, primarily as a blocking lead back, and on special teams.
Tight ends coach Del Alexander on Wilson: "Really good size, strength, athleticism. He's nice and light on his feet but also a seeker of contact. Having him be physical, he did some things in the spring that we really liked in that regard. But he's also able to take off vertically and be a threat."
SunDevilSource.com analysis (06/16): For his size Wilson is an above average athlete at the tight end position in the Pac-12. A natural football player, he looked good in high school as a hybrid linebacker, as a running back, as a receiver of the football. He's very well put together physically, especially this year after spending some months getting his frame leaner and even more nimble and explosive. He's got very good foot quickness and agility for the position, runs well and changes directions fluidly. He has a high ceiling at the position for the Sun Devils in years to come.
Comparatively, Wilson is bigger and more athletic than Chris Coyle was when Coyle set the school record for tight end receptions in 2012, Todd Graham's first year coaching ASU. Wilson is also bigger and more athletic than current starter Kody Kohl. Under Graham, ASU hasn't had a high school recruit who possesses the type of base physical tools that Wilson has. As a result, Wilson can be used in more applications in the passing game, and also more frequently in general in this regard if coaches decide to do so. He's a three level receiving target, is difficult for linebackers to cover in space, and has good hands and tends to make plays on the football.
There are technical issues related to route running that will require some refinement, of course, including being more explosive and proficient coming out of the stem on the top his routes, and how he releases off the line of scrimmage. But he shows promise from all tight end alignments in the scheme as a pass catcher and has the toughness to make contested plays on the football and hang in for the play even when anticipating heavy contact.
From a blocking standpoint, Wilson's physical disposition really stands out. He embraces striking players, securing the alley and preventing edge defenders from getting into their run fits. As he gets better with hand placement and footwork in this regard he's got a chance to excel, even as he's not especially long for the position. That's one of the things that may be a bit limiting, but Wilson's athleticism, toughness and ball skills make him a threat to steal game reps from older players.
Projected depth chart status: The Sun Devils have a senior returning starter in Kody Kohl and a junior who played a fair amount last year in Raymond Epps, but that doesn't necessarily mean Wilson will be delegated to a reserve role. He's too talented to not get onto the field in some offensive capacity and if he really is on his game could even play his way into the starting rotation. He's also a great special teams prospect who can be used on multiple units including kickoff and kickoff cover.