Fall Preview: Tight Ends

The University of Miami has been the premier tight end-producing program in college football over the last decade plus. With Greg Olsen moving on to NFL riches, the Hurricanes are searching for a quality replacement.

Greg Olsen would be missed when taken out of any offense. The former UM tight end, who was taken in the first round of the NFL Draft in April, will really be missed by the Hurricanes since he was such a key part of the offensive success here over the past two seasons.

Replacing him won't be easy but the Hurricanes have four players at the position ready to compete -- juniors DajLeon Farr and Chris Zellner along with sophomores Richard Gordon and Dedrick Epps.

Zellner is the most experienced of the group, having started seven games last season. He's utilized more as an H-Back and as indicated by having only 8 catches for 31 yards (with a long of 9), he's better known as a blocker. It's hard to imagine a junior with 31 career receiving yards will become a major pass-catching threat.

Farr is also better known for his blocking skills. After catching just 11 passes in his final two years of high school, Farr has just four career catches at UM for 30 yards.

Gordon began his UM career as a tight end before getting switched over to the defensive line as a redshirt freshman last season. However, he was never able to work into the rotation there and was switched back to tight end. Even dating back to his high school days at Norland, he was never a serious pass-catching threat but he brings a lot of athletic ability to the table.

The most talented pass-catcher of the group is probably Epps. The sophomore didn't catch any balls in limited action last season but he brought in 38 as a high school senior and runs as well as any of the tight ends on the roster.

All four of these guys will play. How much they'll factor into the passing game remains a question mark for two reasons -- are they good enough pass-catchers and will Patrick Nix use the tight end as much as the Hurricanes have in recent years? Those questions remain to be answered but what you do have is four talented kids who are good blockers and who have a lot to prove.


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