This is the position with the most question mark's for this season. The starter is likely to be Beau Reliford(6-6, 253). Reliford, a junior, hauled in 11 balls for just over 100 yards last year and figures to be a bigger part of the offense in 2010. As a receiver he can get the job done because he possesses terrific size and athleticism. He will need to continue to develop as a blocker and consistency in both aspects is a concern. He has flourished in the new strength and conditioning program and should have a big August camp.
When Reliford was recruited it was understood that he was quite raw as a player, but after a couple of years in the system, we could see the proverbial "giant leap" this season. Should that happen, he is yet another piece to a fantastic offense. We see almost no chance that he is not improved from last year as he was coming on down the stretch.
Junior Ja'Baris Little(6-3, 240) has yet to do much on the field, partyly due to injuries. If there is a turning point for Little in his career it would appear to be right now. The opportunity is there to at least be part of certain packages. He should be a plus blocker, but he has to want to be. That remains to be seen. His role would be more of a H-Back than traditional tight end.
Matt Dunham(6-2, 245) is back and after a rather long journey he will finally play his senior season. Out of shape last year and behind the curve, he had no impact. He appears to be in better shape and that is the first step. However it is going to be tough to find snaps for Dunham.
Two freshmen bring reason for optimisim. Willie Tye's (6-3, 235) scouting report is "Willie Tye is a very athletic, very fast tight end prospect that simply needs to put it all together on the field and when he does, he has great upside. Tye does a nice job finding soft spots in zones to get open and even when he's tightly covered is physical enough to make the tough catch. Is both an intermediate and deep threat and can make people miss in open space. The biggest concern with Tye is just consistent effort." It is a big jump from Connecticut high school ball to the ACC however.
The second freshmen is Tank Sessions(6-6, 235). Sessions scouting report was "Sessions is as athletic as they come at his size. His background in basketball has helped with his coordination and footwork at tight end and defensive end. He needs to play with the football mentality, add strength, and work on blocking. Hands, quickness, size, and athleticism are his biggest strengths and he could have a bright future on the gridiron if he focuses on that sport."
It is safe to say that these two bring a potentially different dimension to the passing game. But how much time will they need? We think at least a year.
A long term project is walk-on Jonathan Wallace. The 6-7, 240 redshirt freshmen from Lee in Jacksonville shows just enough to think that down the road he could be a contributor.
On the high side, Reliford develops, Little is solid, and either youngster Tye or Sessions show some spark with a couple of plays. This scenario gives the Noles not only a quality year at the position, but makes it a strength for 2011(everyone returns). The low side would start with an injury to Reliford.
While the Tight End position has never been featured at Florida State, the winds could slowly be changing and this might be the first year it is evident. With talents like Reliford, Tye, and Sessions it is easy to see the spot becoming a bigger part of the offense. Consistency is going to be the key here.