Clay Burton: Junior that has been at the position for about 15 months now coming over from defense.
Through January: Burton played above his head given the fact he switched over to tight end for the first time in his career last January. He only had two catches for 12 yards but his physical play at the line of scrimmage was a bonus and months before spring ball the staff had to question where some of that was going to come from.
Improvements since January: Burton has developed some skills in catching the ball. He made some plays with his hands and feet in the few open practices that we saw. The staff loves his eagerness to get better and he has the size (6-4, 254) to be a weapon at the position. He really had no leg up on anyone and he went out and won the starting job (for now) with effort.<
Needs to work on:Some of everything with an emphasis still on route running, catching the ball, and heading up field.
Expectations for August: Stay consistent in his effort and continue to get quicker and stronger.
Tevin Westbrook: Junior and just like Burton, he moved over from the defensive side at the same time.
Through January: Westbrook had a chance at a couple of passes, but ended up with no receiving stats on the year. He was an early season target in the end zone as he should be with his size (6-5, 262).
Improvements since January: Like Burton, he showed a little more promise in catching the ball this spring. He's always been a bit athletic having played basketball at a high level in high school and he showed that for the staff at times in March and April.
Needs to work on: He has even more ability at the line of scrimmage, but a little less threat in the passing game than Burton. Get precise in his route running and become a viable dual threat option at tight end.
Expectations for August: Show progress in all phases of being a receiver. A guy his size at the position has to be able to be fearless over the middle. Continue the positive play at the line of scrimmage.
Kent Taylor: Sophomore with two catches for five yards and a touchdown in his rookie year.
Through January: Everyone including Taylor thought he would play more and more importantly do more, as a freshman. It didn't happen as he was swimming both a bit mentally and athletically. Taylor was not physically ready to play at the line of scrimmage and while on a steep learning curve in the passing game his time on the field became limited.
Improvements since January: Despite what I have read elsewhere, I think he has shown toughness. Now he may not have the size and strength to win a lot of battles, but Taylor was not afraid to throw his body around this spring. He was able to further himself as a weapon in the offense showing his ability to get open in the mid to deep passing game.
Needs to work on: Bulk up and make himself more physical with size and strength. As I said, he has the physical attitude, now he just needs to bring more to the punch when he has to.
Expectations for August: Gain 15-20 pounds of muscle. Work hard on that aspect. The other parts of the game are pretty natural to taylor which is not the case for the older guys.
Colin Thompson: Red-shirt freshman who sat out last season due to injury.
Through January: Thompson was one of my breakout freshman picks before the season last year. He has all the tools at tight end… an exceptional blocker and can play in the passing game as well. His time on the field was derailed because of a foot injury that required surgery and he red-shirted as a freshman.
Improvements since January: Anything was going to be better than what he was able to do and he was able to finally suit up and practice this spring. He is a fast learner and caught on to the offense pretty quickly.
Needs to work on: Physically he was way behind this spring because of the injury. He was slowed and less physical as his body tried to adapt back to playing football and finally playing against SEC level competition. That is the big thing for him, get physically ready for the rigors of Florida football.
Expectations for August: Push this group. As stated, he came in with more of the total package than any other tight end on campus. He has himself in a three-way tie for the backup spot, bur he very well could be the starter if he works correctly this off-season. There has never been any doubt about Thompson and his work ethic so I fully expect him to be in the thick of things in the fall.