Position Breakdown: Tight Ends

In part 3 of our position breakdown, USFnation.com take a closer look at the tight ends. With the departure of Derek Carter and Mike Ruegger, the Bulls will have to find a new primary tight end to rely on. Fortunately there are a handful of qualified replacements that are just waiting for their shot.

The Veterans:


Will Bleakley- 6-3, 240, Senior

Entering his fifth and final season at USF, Bleakley hopes to finally claim the starting spot as his own. Last season he competed in all 12 games as a key contributor to special teams and short yardage situations. He has developed a reputation of being one of the better run blocking tight ends on the team.


Devin Gordon- 6-3, 240, Senior

After transferring from Missouri Valley College, Gordon had an impressive spring which enabled him to get a roster spot. In 2004 he was the team leader in receiving after catching 38 passes for 410 yards and three touchdowns. His ability alone has impressed his teammates and coaches who are more then willing to give him a chance that he deserves.


Cedric Hill- 6-3, 240, Sophomore

Even though Hill is listed at 240 pounds, last season he played at closer to 216 pounds. This season Hill has put on some size, and is much more likely to be playing at 220-225 if the coaches truly want to utilize his versatility and size. After originally signing with Miami, Hill decided the University of South Florida was truly where he wanted to be. During his freshman season, he played in all 12 games while starting in four games at the receiver position. He caught 10 passes for 139 yards and one touchdown. His blocking ability as well as his speed gives him the rare chance to be able to line up either at tight end or wide-out.


Ben Busbee- 6-3, 240, Freshman

Last season, Busbee took advantage of redshirt season by working at long snapper as well as at tight end. Originally he had some problems fumbling the snaps, but has improved tremendously after spending the off-season working on his hands. During his senior year at McGill-Toolen High School, he had 29 catches for 503 yards. When he was not spending time on the football field, he was winning the indoor state championship for shot put.   


The Newcomers:


Andrew Ketchel- 6-5, 225, Freshman

This former team captain at Choctowhatchee High School was also ranked as the 80th best tight end in the nation. As a senior he caught 32 balls for 455 yards which earned him a spot on the All-Northwest Florida team. At USF he is almost guaranteed to be redshirted his first year but could become the primary target over the next few seasons.


Quincy Okolie- 6-6, 220, Freshman

The addition of Okolie gives the Bulls yet another weapon with good height. He was named honorable mention for the all-county team in the Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel after his senior season at Palm Central High School. Lately USF has been lining Okolie up at defensive end. If the switch is made, he will have to put n a little weight before stepping foot in the pit.



Prediction: Last season tight ends were not a big part of the offense for the Bulls, but this is likely to change because of the amount of talent available. Expect a two tight end set to only be used during short yardage situations while five receivers are much more likely to be found on the field at any given time. If this is the case, the go to player should be Cedric Hill. While Bleakley and Busbee will get significant playing time, Hill's versatility is perfect for the type of offense the Bulls hope to run.

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