One of the questions any offensive player who wants the ball is going to ask will be how a school uses players at their position. That is sometimes truer for tight ends than any other players because of how differently they are played depending on the school they are at.
Some schools look for tight ends that can run, catch and add another threat to the offense in the aerial game. Other schools look for tight ends that will help tackles open massive holes in the running game.
Players can quickly find matches based on how programs use their tight ends. Very often now a tight end can also be easily identified as a fast receiver-type or a bigger and stronger blocker. Andrew Trainer is not so easy to label. Trainer (6-7, 235) has long arms, is taller than most tight ends, and already has a solid and muscular physique. That does not mean he is only a blocker.
Trainer is a fantastic athlete from Saint Stephen’s & Saint Agnes School in Alexandria, Virginia. Football is the sport he will play in college but some college basketball programs have given him looks and to a lesser extent some college baseball programs have noticed him. It is normal to find a football recruit that doubles as a star in another sport. It is less common when they dominate on three different fields of play.
From the end of the summer until the start of the summer Trainer’s year is dominated by sports and academics more than almost any other recruit you will come across. He plays the entire football season, transitions quickly to basketball in the winter and then heads to the dugout and the diamond.
That makes it hard for Trainer to visit as many colleges as he would like to. It also means the little time off from sports he has make for great relaxation. That could be why Trainer does not know whether he will attend football camps when school gets out.
All that considered it is impressive that Trainer has found the time to visit NC State, Virginia, Wake Forest, Duke, and East Carolina in the late winter and early spring alone. Trainer admits that the local travel and his busy sports life has made it nearly impossible to visit schools that are not within an easy day’s drive. He might make some of those more difficult trips later but he has no plans for that now.
Trainer visited NC State the weekend of March 28 & 29. Last summer he was at State when he and his teammates were participating in daylong camps at several colleges. He followed that camp with a football game at State and then there was this trip at the end of last month.
“As far as recruiting goes I’ve been talking to the coaches there since the summer so I’ve built a pretty good relationship. As far as where I am on their depth chart or wherever I am as a priority I obviously don’t know. I’d say they’re pretty interested.”
When Trainer visited NC State for the first time he was only able to see a little bit of the school because he was busy camping and traveling to other camps. There was a time crunch that made the trip pass quickly. The second trip showed him what a gameday atmosphere was like. This trip was more an opportunity for the coaches to make their case with a personal touch.
He sat in on meetings and got to know Eddie Faulker which was important because he coaches State’s tight ends and fullbacks.
“They had a scrimmage and it was fun to watch that. The meetings were the typical Xs and Os of football. It was a tight end meeting so I got to see some of the guys and how their players are. I saw how the coaches coach them up and saw what it would be like to be an NC State tight end. Coach Faulkner is my position coach and I got to work with him at camp. I talked to him then. Coach Barlow is my area recruiting and I’ve talked to him a few times.”
That last part was one of the most important portions of Trainer’s visit. If the coaches had to be graded on how they mapped out their plan for tight ends Trainer would have given them high marks.
“What’s not to like? They’re definitely great at using the tight ends. They have a lot of two tight end sets and David Grinnage their tight end had a really good year. I like the way they use them. I’m definitely interested. That’s why I went on the visit. I guess you could say I really like NC State and I definitely wanted to go back down to see what it was like.”
Grinnage had five TD catches and all were in Atlantic Coast Conference action last season. His success in Dave Doeren’s second year is something that every tight end on the Wolfpack’s target list has been hearing about.
The Washington Post has actually reported on Trainer on their blog and their March 10 expose the focus was on Trainer’s busy schedule. The Post reported that Trainer averaged almost 10 points per game in helping Saint Stephen’s and Saint Agnes to the Interstate Athletic Conference regular season championship.