Tight end prospects aplenty in Vandals' orbit

IDENTIFYING TIGHT END talent is a formidable task, but one the Idaho staff will take head on in crafting the 2008 recruiting class. The final numbers can, and will, remain in flux all the way up until Letter-of-Intent Day in February. But in crunching the numbers and trying to read the tea leaves, GoVandals.net's early projection is for the silver and gold to take two tight ends this class.

Athletic diversity is critical when recruiting a college tight end, and the position will always be tough to fill since a good TE excels in three different areas.

A tight end has to have hands like a receiver plus the ability to run precise routes -- despite the fact his height/weight measurables are close to that of an offensive lineman.

Athletic and fast enough to be a factor in the receiving game, he has to also have the size and technique of a solid run blocker and be able to plow the road. And for good measure, he has to have the feet and lateral movement to stay home in max protect and pick off fleet footed defensive ends and blitzing linebackers and defensive backs.

Not an easy job to fill.

Add in that most who play tight end in college star elsewhere on the high school field and it becomes that much more difficult a task to identify future potential.

AMONG THE CANDIDATES in the Vandal orbit who might fit the bill, they include, among others:

Brad Marboe, out of Idaho Falls. Idaho has offered the 6-3.5, 195-pounder as an athlete, and with an eye towards the linebacker spot. But Marboe is also a pretty darned good tight end prospect, in part because of his athleticism, speed and work ethic.

After his Vandal camp experience ended, Marboe, his dad and Robb Akey had an extended sit-down, talking for about an hour. Both Marboes came away impressed.

"I love coach Akey, first of all," Marboe told GoVandals.net recently. "He was just telling me the staff at Idaho think I'm (one of their top targets) and feel like there's no other place they can see me playing, they want me at THE University of Idaho...they had one of the nicer facilities out of all the camps I was at."

ANOTHER POTENTIAL CANDIDATE hails from Riverside, Calif., in the form of John Wright, a 6-3, 220-pounder at John W. North High.

Scout.com projects Wright at linebacker at the next level, but he has the potential to be a tight end, or even a defensive end given his skills set. He racked up 14 sacks among his 59 tackles and recovered five fumbles in 2006, earning all-CIF honors for his efforts and helping to lead North to the CIF title.

OUT OF THE NORTHWEST is Tyler Carey out of Westview High in Portland. The 6-2, 230-pound Oregonian came out of Idaho's camp sky high on the Vandals, but he also holds a strong desire here in the early going of the recruiting year to play his college ball in his home state.

"Football-wise and getting a chance to play early, it's probably Idaho. They are my No. 1," he told Scout.com earlier this month. "(But if OSU offered) that would change my mind in a heartbeat."

FROM THE DESERT, out of Cactus High in Glendale, Ariz., Caleb Richardson checks in at 6-4, 230 pounds. Richardson has lots of natural talent, plenty of potential -- and virtually no experience.

This will be his first year playing football, having concentrated solely on basketball to this point in his prep career. But he looked good in spring drills, displaying soft hands and a smooth running style, according to Jason Jewel, Southwest Recruiting Analyst of Scout.com.

ACROSS THE BORDER in the Evergreen State, Andrei Lintz is another intriguing candidate. The 6-4, 200-pounder out of Bellingham's Meridian High has played plenty of futbol, but his first season on the football gridiron was his freshman campaign.

Born in Russia, where his grandfather was a professional soccer player, Lintz came to the States at the age of 6 and is a lifelong soccer player himself. His freshman and sophomore football campaigns were served as the team's punter, naturally, and he earned first team all league honors his sophomore year. As a junior, however, he exploded onto the offensive scene during Meridian's state championship season.

As a tight end in 2006, Lintz caught 49 passes for 718 yards and set the school record with 16 TDs, earning all-district, all-Whatcom County and Class 1A all-state AP honors on offense, first-team all-district and AP Honorable Mention all-state on defense.

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