Canes looking for improved production at TE

The Hurricanes have produced tight ends as well as any other school in America in recent years but production at the position was way down in 2007. The four players returning this season hope to change that in 2008.

Daniel Adderley, 6-6, 220, rFR
Dedrick Epps, 6-4, 235, JR
Richard Gordon, 6-4, 255, JR
Chris Zellner, 6-2, 240, SR

No school in America has produced tight ends in recent history like the Hurricanes. The long line of great tight ends this program has produced over the years is quite impressive. That's why it was tough watching them struggle to get good production from the position in 2007. Of the four returning players at the position this season, they totaled just 196 yards receiving last season. Everyone knows how important the tight end has been in this offense over the years and the four of them will try to help get things back on track.

The most proven and experienced returning player at tight end is Chris Zellner. He's never gotten too much hype, going all the way back to his days as a recruit, but he's quietly put together a solid, yet unspectacular, career at Miami. He finished his junior season with 13 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown. While he doesn't have ideal size, he plays hard and has been a key asset for the Canes in both the running game and the passing game. Hopefully he'll continue getting better and put together another solid season for the Canes.

Dedrick Epps, who is probably the most talented pass-catching threat of the four, showed glimpses of being a playmaker last season when he caught eight passes for 83 yards and one touchdown. A former wide receiver in high school, Epps has a good size/speed combination and many people believe he'll become the key pass-catcher at the tight end position for the Hurricanes this season.

Richard Gordon, who is very impressive physically, played mostly defensive end in high school and even played some there early in his Miami career. Playing tight end some last season, he caught just one pass but was a factor on the special teams units. He's a big kid who runs pretty well and hopefully he can continue developing as a blocker for the Canes.

Daniel Adderley was a lightly recruited wide receiver last year and struggled to make the adjustment to playing wideout at Miami so the coaches moved him to tight end in the spring. He has some nice size and coaches say they're hoping he can just continue bulking up so he can physically be ready to contribute some at tight end.

No tight ends were signed in this past recruiting class so those are the four guys who will be counted on this season to improve the production at the tight end position. Zellner's been solid his whole career and there's no reason to believe that won't continue. However, many people believe the development of Epps as a pass-catcher will be the key here. He's talented enough to have a big season catching the ball for the Hurricanes and hopefully that can happen.

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