2014 Auburn Position Preview: TE/H-Back

We continue our preview of the 2014 Auburn Tigers with a look at the tight ends and the H-Back position.

Auburn, Ala.--For Auburn tight ends coach Scott Fountain there is plenty to be excited about heading into the 2014 season with seniors C.J. Uzomah and Brandon Fulse both returning, but with talented fullback Jay Prosch now with the Houston Texans that role is still up for grabs as the Tigers prepare for a new season.

With incoming freshmen Chris Laye and Jakell Mitchell at his disposal along with walk-on Gage Batten, Fountain has talented pieces in place to get the job done. Now the question is how will they fit together in Gus Malzahn's offense?

Leading the way is the versatile Uzomah. A valuable receiver for the Tigers last season with 11 receptions for 154 yards and three big touchdowns, Uzomah will likely be the guy Auburn targets in the passing game when looking to utilize the tight end. An improving blocker as well, he gives the offense some different options because of his ability to line up wide as a receiver, with his hand on the ground as a true tight end, or even in the backfield as an H-Back.

A more powerful player who has been known more as a blocker during his three seasons on the Plains, the 6-4, 272 Fulse is basically like another offensive lineman on the field at times for the Tigers, but he can do so much more. Impressive during the spring in his role as a fullback/H-Back type for the Tigers too, Fulse gives the offense the added dimension of being a receiver out of the backfield when he is in the game.

Brandon Fulse

Getting valuable experience last season playing behind Prosch, the 6-0, 242 Batten is the definition of a true fullback and could see some time in short yardage situations this year. Effective between the tackles, he showed in the spring that he could get to the edge when needed and should be a solid contributor when called upon in 2014.

More of a true tight end, the 6-4, 236 pounds, Laye got valuable experience in the spring after graduating early from high school and enrolling for classes in January. Getting a feel for the offense was one of the big things for him, but even more important was his head start in Ryan Russell's strength and conditioning program. Likely a player that will spent much of his time with his hand on the ground, Laye will need to continue to work on his blocking to be ready if and when his named is called this year.

Chris Laye

A player who could have a very bright future in the Auburn offense is Mitchell. Displaying running back skills despite his 6-3, 225 size, the Opelika standout is back to full speed now after missing his entire senior season because of a knee injury.

With soft hands and a physical running style, Mitchell excelled as a wildcat quarterback his junior year with the Bulldogs and scored 14 rushing touchdowns. Those skills should come in handy in the Auburn offense as he could like up in the slot or in the backfield for the Tigers.


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