Position coach: Steve Ensminger
Starters returning: 1
Lettermen returning: 4
19 DeAngelo Peterson (6-4, 242, Sr.)
OFF THE BENCH
88 Chase Clement (6-5, 251, Jr.)
83 Mitch Joseph (6-5, 268, Sr.)
84 Nic Jacobs (6-5, 238, RS Fr.)
47 Tyler Edwards (6-4, 235, Jr.)
41 Travis Dickson (6-3, 230, RS Fr.)
Out of action: None
Veteran difference-maker: Deangelo Peterson
Rising star: Redshirt freshman Nic Jacobs
Something to chew on: Peterson played at 228 pounds last fall, but the one-time wide receiver is now over 240, a weight that Peterson said is better suited for his new focus as an all-purpose tight end.
Numbers of note: With one of the most experienced unit on the team at his disposal, tight ends coach Steve Ensminger isn’t short on depth at tight end. Last fall, Peterson, Clement, Joseph and Edwards all saw action in at least 10 games.
This unit will shine if: The quarterback can get Peterson the ball. After he caught five passes –all for first downs – in 2009, Peterson grabbed just 16 balls last fall. If new offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa draws the 6-4, 242-pounder into the playbook more often, the tight end spot will be one of the offense’s top threats.
This unit will struggle if: Peterson gets into a funk. Peterson missed the first three games of 2010 with an ankle injury, which put Clement into the spotlight. But after eight starts and 13 appearances on the year, Clement had two catches. With blocking tight ends in Clement and Joseph, Peterson will need to remain consistent as a receiving option.
Prediction: In his final year as a Tiger, Peterson will become the threat that armchair offensive coordinators had always called for him to become. And with multiple touchdowns in the most recent scrimmage of fall camp, Clement is proving to also be an option in the red zone. This position won’t disappoint.
Quotable: “I think there is a good potential that (Peterson) will have the kind of year that will be pretty special around here.” – Les Miles