What to expect: TE's

The Hurricanes are set to begin fall camp this week so lets take a closer look at what to expect from the 2010 Hurricanes. Our next look is at the tight end position.

--Richard Gordon, 6-4, 265, Senior

So far: Four career receptions. He came to Miami as a defensive end and played mostly on special teams as a freshman in 2006. He was moved to tight end as a sophomore but caught just one pass for eight yards. He caught three passes and one touchdown as a junior in 2008 before playing in just one game and redshirting last season. He also has some experience as a return man, as he has one punt return and five kick returns (for minimal yardage) in his career.

Outlook: It's show time for Gordon. He was a national recruit coming out of Norland High after an average senior season there for someone with his skills. He didn't work out at defensive end and now he's had three years to show off his skills at tight end. So far, he has four catches and has never looked like a legitimate pass-catching threat. He could develop late, like Jimmy Graham did last season, but hasn't done much to indicate that so far. Hopefully he has a good season as a blocker.

2010 Prediction: He'll likely have a career year and that's because he's now the starter going into fall camp and has just four career catches. However, seeing him make a huge jump in pass-catching production doesn't seem likely. He'll likely lose reps to the younger players in the passing game as the season goes on. Watching him catch 10-15 passes with a couple scores seems likely.

--Billy Sanders, 6-2, 250, RS Freshman

So far: Nothing. He signed with Miami out of a high school in Idaho and redshirted his first season. He caught just three passes as a junior in Arizona while playing primarily defensive end. He played on both sides as a senior and became one of the most productive tight ends in that small state.

Outlook: He was considered a better defensive player in high school but came to Miami as a tight end. He redshirted last season to bulk up and learn the blocking schemes. He seems to have limited upside as a pass-catcher but is considered a solid blocker and could be a long-snapping option in the future. Expecting him to catch a whole lot of balls, especially this season, is unrealistic at this point.

2010 Prediction: A big role as a blocking tight end but expecting him to catch more than a few balls (3-5) this season is unlikely.

--Chase Ford, 6-4, 245, Junior

So far: Nothing. A Juco transfer, Ford just signed with Miami and enrolled this summer. After not being recruited out of high school, he spent a couple years at a Texas Juco and emerged as a major playmaker. He was ultra productive as a junior, earning Offensive MVP honors in his team's conference. He was a 2nd team All-American and finished the season as one of the most productive Juco tight ends in all of America.

Outlook: He went from a non-Div 1 prospect out of high school to a big time player at the Juco level in two years. Miami's had good success with Juco transfers at tight end in the past, including Jeremy Shockey. If Ford can make a smooth transition mentally and pick up the blocking schemes, he could have a huge impact and become a major sleeper this season. He has the best pass-catching skills of any tight end on the roster -- including the two coming back from last season.

2010 Prediction: He'll likely start out fall camp as the team's No. 3 behind Gordon and Sanders but don't expect that to last. A lot will depend on how well he picks up on the blocking schemes and adjusts to playing big time college football. That's why it may take him a few games to really get comfortable. Once he does, though, don't be surprised if he becomes Miami's top pass-catching tight end this season. He has the upside to make a big impact and lead the team in catches from this position. 15-20 catches with a couple touchdowns seems about right for a projection at this point.

--Asante Cleveland, 6-4, 225, Freshman

So far: Nothing. He just signed with the Canes and enrolled this summer. He was a standout performer in high school, though, playing some wide receiver and some tight end. He caught close to 50 balls over his final two prep seasons and was considered one of the most productive tight ends in all of California last year.

Outlook: The most proven of the three prep tight ends the Canes signed, Cleveland has good bloodlines too. His father played in the NFL. He has a nice combination of size, speed, and athletic ability. He's also a good basketball player and will likely have a chance to see the field early in his career. It's tough to redshirt three tight ends together so Cleveland will likely see the field some this fall.

2010 Prediction: He'll see the field because it's unlikely they'll redshirt all three freshman tight ends. While Tallman is more likely to be ready as a blocker, Cleveland seems to have more to offer this season. With three guys expected to be in front of him on the depth chart, however, it's unlikely that he'll catch a ton of balls. Watching him grab 5-10 seems fair right now.

--Clive Walford, 6-5, 235, Freshman

So far: Nothing. He just signed with the Canes and enrolled in the summer. He actually quit football in his early high school days at Glades Central High before going back out. He caught a few balls in his school's spring game, which caught some people's attention -- including that of Miami's coaches. He went on to have a decent senior year but wasn't an All-Area pick after the season or anything similar.

Outlook: He was recruited on upside alone. At the time of his commitment in the spring of his junior year, Walford had quit football (once) more than he had started a varsity game (zero). He went on to have an OK senior season. He's very raw and has a lot to learn but he has ideal size and athleticism that has some people hoping that he may have a bright future here. He's a couple years away, though, it seems.

2010 Prediction: Redshirt. He's too raw and needs time to learn and bulk up.

--Andrew Tallman, 6-5, 250, Freshman

So far: Nothing. He just signed with the Canes and enrolled for summer school. He went back and forth between tight end and offensive tackle while playing high school football in the state of Massachusetts and was considered just one of the better players in his district.

Outlook: Tallman played a lot of tight end in high school and is considered a very good athlete for someone his size. He'll start out his career at tight end but his growth potential makes him a likely offensive tackle candidate down the road. He's 6-5 and athletic and we've seen UM have good success with players like this in recent years (see Eric Winston, Jason Fox, etc). Whether he becomes anything close to what they were remains to be seen.

2010 Prediction: Redshirt. He has the size to compete as a short-yardage blocker right away but it just doesn't seem like he'll see the field this fall.

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