A first look at 2008 - Tight Ends

Now that the Aggies have hired a new head coach, what will he have to work with in 2008? Aggie Websider continues to take a look at the 2008 squad by position. Today Dallas Shipp takes a look at the tight ends.

The "Legion of Doom" will take a hit in 2008, it's just a matter of how big of a hit it will suffer. Senior Joey Thomas will not be back, and junior Martellus Bennett, who told Aggie Websider earlier this year that if he was expected to be a first or second round draft pick, he may not return to A&M next year.

Bennett is currently ranked as the top tight end in the 2008 draft by some draft experts, which means he isn't likely to return in 2008.

Bennett led the team in receptions (45 rec., 541 yards, 4 TD) this season, catching 16 more passes than No. 2 receiver Michael Goodson while missing one game due to injury.

Thomas hauled in 11 receptions for 98 yards of his own, but the blocking by both Thomas and Bennett will be missed just as much by Sherman and Co. in 2008.

So where does that leave the Aggies?

Well, redshirt freshmen Frank Avery and Harold Turnage will have plenty of playing time opportunities, but will they be able to step up as the dependable receivers and first-rate blockers that Thomas and Bennett had become?

BOTTOM LINE:
It all depends on whether or not Martellus Bennett comes back for his senior season. While it appears that it's not likely, Bennett's return would give the Aggies a go-to guy at tight end. But even if he does decide to stay, the Aggies will be lacking depth without Joey Thomas. Without Bennett, it will be a very young and inexperienced unit.

KEY RETURNERS (height, weight, 2008 classification)
Martellus Bennett (6-7, 255, SR)*

UNDERCLASSMEN WHO COULD STEP UP (height, weight, 2008 classification)
Frank Avery (6-5, 220, RS-FR) – Ranked as the No. 35 tight end in the nation by Scout.com coming out of high school and was an All-District tight end after hauling in 18 receptions for 269 yards as a senior at Galveston Ball.

Harold Turnage (6-4, 250, RS-FR) – Recorded 27 catches for 325 yards and three touchdowns as a senior at Chavez High School in Houston and was ranked the No. 50 tight end in the nation by Scout.com

KEY LOSSES (height, weight)
Joey Thomas (6-5, 251)

* ASSUMING HE DOES NOT LEAVE EARLY FOR THE 2008 NFL DRAFT


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