CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Tight end Brandon Fritts is establishing himself as yet another tool in North Carolina’s skill position box.
The Mentor, Ohio freshman from has found the end zone twice this season, making him yet another threat in a receiving corps that boasts depth and talent. The 6-foot-4, 245-pounder has caught four passes for 22 yards in five games played.
“He’s doing some good things,” offensive coordinator/tight ends coach Seth Littrell said on Tuesday. “He’s grown up a lot. This year’s the first time he’s been in any action and he’s getting better every week.”
Fritts redshirted last season while Jack Tabb and Kendrick Singleton handled the tight end duties for the Tar Heels. The yearlong experience of watching and learning from the sideline is responsible for some of his early season success.
“I definitely needed to redshirt, just to grow and get a lot stronger,” Fritts said. “I came in pretty skinny, and just getting acclimated to the speed and stuff, so it was definitely good to redshirt and just get the feel of things.”
Fritts had never played the tight end position before arriving in Chapel Hill. He played receiver at Mentor High School, at times catching passes from UNC backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky. While his job still requires him to catch the ball, he’s had to learn different skills at his new position.
“It’s definitely different from the receiver positions,” Fritts said. “I’d say it’s a lot more blocking. You can do some different stuff out of the backfield where we’re attached, and we do some different stuff, but we can also go out and run some routes and catch some passes, too.”
A strong relationship with Littrell has helped Fritts develop those skills.
“He just helps us with our blocking,” Fritts said. “He’s really helped me, specifically, with my technique. Coming in I played wide receiver, I’d never played tight end. He’s a great coach, he really teaches me up, and works with me and all of the other tight ends every day, just getting our technique better and learning to become more of a complete tight end.”
Fritts’ playing time may increase behind Singleton given this week’s news that classmate and fellow tight end Caleb Samuel’s career had ended due to ongoing concerns related to a heart condition. Samuel played in all five games this season.