16?Blake Mack???6’4/245 Jr
37?Avery Johnson???6’2/235 RFr
81?Javonis Isaac???6’2/215 Fr
*82?Warren Leapheart??6’5/245 RSr
87?Brandon Brockman??6’3/215 RJr
*Will miss 2016 due to injury
The tight end position was dealt a blow with the loss of Darion Griswold to graduation, as the 6’5/245 target netted 65 receptions and 10 total touchdowns over his four year career.
Then, during fall camp, presumptive starter Warren Leapheartsuffered an Achilles injury that has ended his 2016 season before it began.
This leaves little in the way of experience at a position that may be used more than ever with a change of offensive coordinator.
Blake Mack now will get the first crack at the position after moving from wide receiver in the spring. The Lonoke native is a big, fast, and physically gifted presence at the position and has gone from 225 pounds at the end of 2015, to pushing 250 as fall camp moves on. He brings wide receiver elements to the position and the potential to cause match up nightmares on slower linebackers and smaller defensive backs, but he must work on his blocking.
The only returning player with experience at the position is Jonah Hill. Hill has been hampered in fall camp by a hamstring injury, and the injury bug has followed Jonah since he stepped foot on campus. Tight end coach Dan Dodd likes Hill’s willingness to block, or as Dodd calls it “Contact Courage”.
Another move that was made during the offseason was to bring Avery Johnson over from linebacker. The Highland native is athletic and has the contact courage that Dodd likes, and was a gifted offensive player in high school. The task for Johnson will be learning the offense and fitting into the position.
True freshman Javonis Isaac of Lafayette, Louisiana, is another guy that Dodd likes because of his willingness to block. The freshman is fast enough and is very athletic, but will probably be a redshirt this season as he puts on weight.
Walk-on Brandon Brockman rounds out the group, and has shown some receiving prowess, catching a couple of touchdowns in last fall’s scrimmages.
The lack of experience is probably the only thing that holds this group back from being one of the strengths of the team. Though the loss of Leapheart hurts, the sheer athletic ability of this group may help overcome that loss to be a bright spot on offense.
Possible Depth Chart
?Brandon Brockman OR