Another Terps position where we’ll have to wait until the fall for an impact guy, tight end is also a spot where the Terps are in transition, and in need of more numbers and top-shelf talent.
Starter Andrew Isaacs (knee) sat out the spring after a devastating early-season injury last year at Syracuse, and it’s a thin unit to begin with.
Isaacs has the best package of size, speed, hands and athleticism, and should be ready by the fall. The former four-star signee out of Connecticut also earned an extra medical hardship year last month. The 6-2, 245-pound sophomore has a high ceiling once healthy again.
Junior “steady Eddie” P.J. Gallo is just that, a solid blocker and in-line guy, but not much of a field stretcher. Gallo has good hands, great smarts, and continues to work on becoming more of a vertical threat, but he will never be Vernon Davis breaking loose over the middle.
Sophomore Derrick Hayward has a ton of potential, based on his 6-foot-5 frame and long stride, but his football “instincts” at the position, and his hands, still need considerable work. He can be hot and cold, like in the spring game, and still has too many open drops. Hayward is also working to get a better base/become a better blocker in his 235-pound, long frame. If it can all click for him he can be a real threat, but Hayward is still a work in progress.
Redshirt freshman Andrew Gray (6-2, 235) is another “solid,” developing talent who does many things well but nothing spectacular yet as he learns the ropes at the position.
The Terps also have former walk-on Eric Roca (6-2, 240) to lend depth, and he got some reps this spring with Isaacs down.
But without Isaacs this spring, it was a position with some ups and downs as the others still work to round out their games. Mind you, this is a unit that, combined, managed to catch only a handful of balls, total, last season, so this fall the Terps need multiple guys to emerge.
Spring Football Rewind: Tight End
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