Gopher Football Preview: Tight End

After a season where the tight end position was used as a primary weapon, the Gophers look to some key players to fill the void left by Nick Tow-Arnett.

With the departure of key offensive threat, tight end, Nick Tow-Arnett, the Gophers will lose a valuable and reliable receiving option. Tow-Arnett carried much of the receiving burden last year with 37 receptions for 505 yards and three scores. Tow-Arnett was a frequent last-resort option on screen plays when quarterback, Adam Weber, was under pressure. Filling the hole left by a player like Tow-Arnett is difficult but not impossible.

Projected Starter: With Tow-Arnett taking the majority of the snaps last season, the current landscape of the tight end position seems rocky. Despite this there is still some promise at the position. The projected starter at tight end for the Gophers this year is junior, Eric Lair. At 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, Lair is not the biggest tight end but what he lacks in size he should be able to make up for in athleticism. Coming out of high school, Lair reportedly ran a 4.56 40-yard dash, a very good time for a tight end. Expect to see Lair get plenty of minutes this season, especially on passing downs where he can use his speed and athletic ability to become a weapon for Adam Weber. A season with 300 yards receiving and three touchdowns would not be surprising for Lair.

Projected Top Reserve: One newcomer who may challenge for playing time is junior college transfer, Tiree Eure. Eure, a transfer from Lackawanna College, has great size for a tight end. At 6-foot-7 and 245 pounds, Eure has the size to be used both as a blocker and receiver. He is a physical play who also has good receiving ability. Last season he caught 22 passes for 268 yards and two scores. Eure has the size and pass catching ability to challenge for the tight end starting role this season.

Incoming Freshman: The only freshmen tight end for the Gophers this year is Alex Bisch of Northfield, Minnesota. Bisch has good size at 6-6, 235 pounds and is a solid addition to the tight end core. A two-time honorable mention all-state recipient, Bisch compiled impressive stats as a receiving tight end. As a senior he caught 17 passes for 443 yards which is an amazing 26.1 yards per catch. With four tight end upperclassmen, expect Bisch to redshirt this season or receive sparse amounts of time on special teams.

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