Spring Wrap Up: Tight Ends

Josiah Price and Jamal Lyles lead a group that figures to take a jump this season after Price came on strong late in the year and Lyles has been the buzz of the spring.

The comforting: Josiah Price emerged last season as a viable threat for Michigan State and saw his touchdown numbers go up late in the year as he was used more and more – especially in the red zone. Realistically, last season, while much of the focus was on figuring out the answers at quarterback and running back, tight end might have had the fewest answers of all.

The lack of established players also resulted in the move of Jamal Lyles from defensive end to tight end early in the fall. Now, this spring, Lyles and Price were splitting time with the ones as both made major strides. Lyles spoke on how he has a better overall grasp of the offense now and feels more comfortable in everything offensively. Between the two of them, Michigan State figures to have some nice playmaking ability downfield this year.

The concerning: Believe it or not, the departure of Michael Dennis is bigger than it may initially seem. The behemoth moved from offensive tackle to tight end was used well in blocking last year and was a big part of the run attack. How the others pick up their run blocking will be important, but the spring game made it seem like Price and Lyles had taken big steps in that area.

Behind Price and Lyles, the playmaking ability is not particularly great with Andrew Gleichert and Paul Lang – Lang did not have a reception last year. Gleichert is an effective and strong blocker.

The conclusion: The future looks bright at tight end and the Spartans should full good about the position after last year's question marks – a lot like many positions on the offense, really. Lyles and Price are both sophomores and seem primed to take big jumps in their game. Younger players Dylan Chmura and early enrollee Matt Sokol have a lot of potential. The Spartans have effectively used tight ends through much of Mark Dantonio's tenure, with last year being a step back. It seems the tight ends are ready to be a more prominent part of the offense once again.

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