Three seasons ago (2013) was the last time that Ball State had any production to speak of from the Tight End Position Group. That season, 5th year senior Zane Fakes posted 41 receptions for 410 yards and 2 touchdowns. Since then, there really has not been much production receiving wise, from a position that is vital to the passing game in most offenses.
Hopefully all of that will change as a youth movement takes over for Head Coach Mike Neu and Offensive Coordinator Joey Lynch. Gone from this season is 5th year senior Sam Brunner (8 receptions) but back will be a variety of players that fit different molds and should spark production.
Leading off the list is the lone returning player who had any statistical production last season in So. Danny Pinter. At 6-4 254, the massive and strong Pinter is noteworthy as a blocker, but still managed to grab 3 passes a season ago. We don’t expect Pinter to be a focal point in the passing game, but rather a check-down release and blocking force that he already is.
Also back with playing time under his belt is fellow So. Kyle Schrank. The 6-3 231 Schrank is smaller than Pinter and more athletic. He came to Ball State with the hopes of being a pass catching target needed in the offense. Schrank was targeted a handful of times last season, but was unable to get any receptions. We think Schrank will continue to grow and should help produce next season in the passing game. Schrank seems more comfortable split out as a receiver like he was in high school or when used as an H-Back type player.
Davis, at 6-4 240, has great size to be an all-around TE. He has good hands and can be an effective blocker. We expect big things from this solid athlete.
Givan is more of a force as a receiver having moved in to TE from the WR position he played as a prep. Givan has decent size at 6-3 236 and is a great athlete that runs well and has great hands.
Koch is another big (6-4) and developing (215) target. He is a solid, willing blocker that is also a quality all-around TE prospect. He has above average hands and runs solid routes.
Based upon the influx of talent at the TE position, we think that Cardinal fans will see a large increase in production and be a larger part of the offense next season.