Pieces Of The Puzzle - Tight End

Spartan tight end coach Mark Staten has seen his share of solid high performers during his career with Mark Dantonio. 2010 looks to Staten to be coaching one of the deepest groups of tight ends in the country.

A staple of any Mark Dantonio team is the tight end. In Cincinnati he had Brent Celek and at Michigan State he continues building great depth with players capable and willing to block and catch the ball when thrown to them.

While many on the outside look at the use of the tight end as a flex receiver, the Spartans look for their tight ends to be capable of blocking along the side of the tackles while also having the athletic ability to go down field and catch the ball.

Senior Charlie Gantt returns for what should be his best season in the Green & White. Last season Gantt showed the ability to be a solid blocker while also being able to pull down 22 balls for 348 yards and 2 touchdowns. This spring Gantt looked solid again and continues to do the small things that make him a very important part of the Spartans offensive success.

The depth at the tight end position showed last season as true freshman Dion Sims proved he was ready to battle in the Big Ten. Bigger than Gantt, Sims will be looked upon to take his game to a new level as a sophomore and this spring showed he's fully capable of doing so.

Garrett Celek followed Dantonio when he took over at MSU and continues to show he's got the ability to play at a high level. While slowed this spring, Celek continues to improve his game and will be looked upon to provide depth at the position.

Brian Linthicum also missed the spring game but showed last season he'd suffered no rust from sitting out since his transfer from Clemson. While Gantt and Sims may get a lot of the press, Linthicum showed he's fully capable of being a power blocker at the line while still being athletic enough to go down field.

Showing how deep the Spartans are at the tight end position is easy when you look at Derek Hoebing. The redshirt freshman has the physical size the Spartan staff looks and the ability to also catch a ball when needed.

Spartan Digest Top Stories