SPRING REPORT CARD: Tight Ends

The Aggies' lose a one-two punch at tight end with the graduation of Joey Thomas and early departure of Martellus Bennett. So where does that leave Mike Sherman, who loves to use his tight ends as part of his pro style offense? Aggie Websider's Dallas Shipp hands out his position grade for tight end—which may be hoping for a curve.

If former A&M tight end Martellus Bennett had returned for his senior year under Mike Sherman, we'd be talking about how he could be an All-American this year. How he would probably lead the team in receptions once again. How Sherman would turn him into a first-round draft pick.

But he's not, and we're not.

Add in the departure of senior Joey Thomas, and it's easy to see why the tight end position is the biggest question mark on the team halfway through spring drills. There are three redshirt freshmen and one junior—Jamie McCoy, who has moved from quarterback to wide receiver and now to tight end—jockeying for a spot at end, but no one on the team has any real experience playing tight end at this level, which is the biggest reason for such a low position grade.

However, there is some potential at tight end if guys like Ben Bass and McCoy can make the transition to the new position, or if redshirt freshmen Harold Turnage and Frank Avery can step up and contribute early in their careers.

Bass is a 6-foot-5, 258 pounder who moved over from defensive line. He's got the best blocking skills of any of the candidates and seems to have good hands, even though Sherman complains about him beating up on the ball.

McCoy had a great start to spring camp, but has struggled recently with dropped balls. He is not going to be the primary tight end in run situations when you need a key block because he's just not strong enough, but if he can improve the consistency with his pass catching, he could be a valuable possession-type receiver.

LEADING CONTENDERS:


Ben Bass
STRENGTHS: Strength, footwork, hands
NEEDS TO IMPROVE: Sherman complains that Bass ‘beats the ball up' but whatever he does, he seems to catch it more often than not. Still, soft hands are never bad and as he continues to learn the position, that should improve.

Jamie McCoy
STRENGTHS: footwork, speed, athleticism
NEEDS TO IMPROVE: McCoy seems to be Sherman's pet project this year, but he's got to be more physical off the line when he's blocking and suddenly seems to be inconsistent catching the ball. If he can bulk up a little before fall starts, he could be a more effective blocker. The dropped passes recently seem to be more mental than anything, which is also correctable.

OTHER CONTENDERS: Frank Avery/Harold Turnage
NOTES I haven't seen Turnage and Avery as much so far this spring, but as two natural tight ends, they need to step up and contribute this season, even if they are both redshirt freshmen. Whether it was to add depth or concern that they'd be ready though, Sherman doesn't seem comfortable with just the two, moving Bass from defensive line and McCoy from wide receiver.



Big D's Grade for tight ends: D+

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