Tight End Evaluations

Offensive coordinator Garrick McGee gives his thoughts on how tight end looks after spring drills. These are part of a series of evaluations taken from the June print issue of Hawgs Illustrated, our college football preview.

Post-spring evaluations from offensive coordinator Garrick McGee:

80 Chris Gragg
6-3, 236, JR

He's one of our most impressive athletes on the team pound for pound. He's got a lot of talent. He's a long strider with size and talent. He can really run and cover some ground. He's a match-up problem. He has to develop as a blocker on the line of scrimmage because we are a tight end side running team. We expect our tight ends to be able to bang with defensive ends. That's a position where we lost some good players. We are going to have to replace them. He's one of the guys who really needs to have a good summer so he can get out there and run the ball. We know he can run and he's a match-up problem for defenses. He's going to run and catch the football. But what he has to bring to the table is his blocking. We lost very good players, but we can replace the talent. It's just the mental side of it, the toughness. It's being able to go out there on the road at Mississippi State and you are behind at halftime and you are still mentally tough enough to play your best. You have to get out there in overtime when we have a chance to win it and Zack Hocker missed a kick. Then our offense goes out there again in a second overtime and they are mentally tough enough to put the ball into the end zone right away. That's what we have to develop. By the time we get there, we'll have it.

87 Austin Tate
6-6, 253, SO

He's come a long way. He's big. When he first got here, he could not bench 225 pounds. Now he's got himself into position to be a big, physical tight end. He hasn't had a lot of reps. He's a new kid to our offense. He's another guy who has to develop mentally so he can get out of there and play for 60 snaps in an SEC game against a really talented defensive end. He has to learn to take shots and keep playing and take care of the ball.

88 Garrett Uekman
6-4, 254, FR

He's talented. He can run, he can catch. He can lead block. He's not afraid of contact at all. He's a freshman coming off a redshirt. He's got some development to do, but as far as talent, he's got all of it.

89 Denton Simek
6-6, 268, FR

He made the move from offensive tackle to tight end. He struggled being out in space for the first time ever. He's been an offensive or defensive linemen his whole life. But we felt with his size and ability, he has the potential to help us at tight end at some point. I liked the way he did get in there and grind. Running around making catches put him out of his element, but he's going to get better in this offseason.

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