Spring Football Analysis: TE

Spring football is over. We learned a lot about the team during their last 15 practices. CanesTime's Mike Bakas breaks it down, focusing on the tight ends in this piece.

Clive Walford decided to return for his senior season instead of entering the NFL Draft. He would probably have been a mid-round choice. Walford has a tremendous skill set but has been underutilized for most of the last two seasons. He missed most of spring while recovering from an injury and was limited upon his return. Ryan Williams does a really nice job of spreading the ball around so he was likely in line for an increased number of targets. That remains to be seen with Kevin Olsen under center now but one thing's for sure -- Walford has the ability to be a real difference maker from the tight end position.

Beau Sandland came here as the nation's No. 1 Junior College tight end transfer last year. He played a lot but, strangely, was used primarily as a blocker (after playing a lot of wide receiver at his Juco the year before). He, too, battled an injury for most of the spring. Coaches say his blocking has really improved and the pass-catching skills are there for him to make a difference. Like with Walford, a lot will depend on how often Olsen targets the tight ends in 2014.

Jake O'Donnell is a converted defensive end who was unable to see the field last season. His size/speed combination is very good but he simply had to learn the position. He was putting together a solid spring before an injury wiped him out from the spring game. He has a chance to play a role but the position is crowded and he'll have to hold off a talented incoming freshman for the 4th spot in this rotation.

Standish Dobard was Miami's best tight end this spring and was a pleasant surprise. The former 4-star recruit showed off his skills. He can run, catch, and block. He can make big things happen down the field. He's competing with Sandland for the No. 2 role behind Walford heading into the summer but he'll find a way to play a big role. Like those two, how much of an impact he can make will depend largely on how much Olsen is able to get the ball to his tight ends.

Chris Herndon is a talented pass-catching tight end prospect who will be here over the summer. He'll likely need to some time putting on weight and strength before making much of an impact. The same goes for David Njoku, who signed here as a wide receiver but projects as a tight end or H-Back.


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