Spring Practice: Talent and depth at TE

To think the Gators won’t miss Jake McGee would be a foolish thought. That said, there is plenty of talent and some depth at the tight end position and all hands will be on deck this spring to fight it out for the starting spot.

Wheel Routes –R- Us

Jeff Blake / USA TODAY Sports
 In year one, with two former defensive ends playing the position the old staff at Florida seemingly wasted a year of eligibility for DeAndre Goolsby (6-4, 243). He played in seven games without a single catch.

In the first year under Coach Jim McElwain and staff Goolsby caught 17 passes for 277 yards, a touchdown, and 16.3 yards per catch average, all behind starter McGee. As one of the front runners for the job, those numbers should increase dramatically. At 243 pounds, he’s also the biggest of the Florida tight ends and has the ability to block inside as an H-back or an in-line tight end. But, his favorite route is the ‘Wheel Route’ and he constantly burned teams with it during his sophomore campaign.

 

Will bust you in the mouth

Scout
 The lightest of the tight ends, redshirt freshman Cyontai Lewis (6-4, 228) is already the best blocker of the group. He surprises with his strength and toughness inside. He plays the game nasty in the trenches.

That said Lewis’ ability to go deep and catch the ball is why he will spend a lot of time as a split out tight end in this version of the Florida offense. An injury sidelined him for quite a while and kept his numbers down and in 2015 he caught just four passes for 75 yards. But he has a health 18.8 yards per catch and two touchdowns to fall back on.

Lewis’ ability to go up for the ball make him a legitimate end zone threat and his all-around play means he will fight for the starting spot this year.

 

More tools than any of them

Tim Casey / UAA Communications
 Watching Moral Stephens (6-3, 240) move at his size makes you wonder what will be of this physical beast. His high school highlights show him as a guy that can get downfield and catch the ball with the best of them. He has the size to be an in-line blocker as well.

The problem is that Stephens hasn’t put it all together yet. This is a big spring for this young man who is only a redshirt sophomore. He has the ability but is going to have to parlay that into practicing better and working hard.

 

Learning the ropes

Kan Li / Scout
 Sophomore Camrin Knight (6-3, 230) got on the field as a true freshman in some serious red zone situations and early in the year. When Lewis went down with injury, they called on Knight to come in and block in short yardage and special teams spots. He ended up getting on the field in eight games as a true freshman.

Now is the time that Knight is going to be able to show what he can do by learning the offense and getting acquainted with the passing game. It is a requirement for the tight end in this offense if he wants to remain on the field. 


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