Last season, the tight end position was crucial for the development of Tyler Jones and the Texas State offense. Bradley Miller led the team with 44 receptions for 431 yards and a touchdown. Miller has graduated, but Ryan Carden and Lawrence White are still on the roster, along with a talented Junior College transfer. Miller was the go-to receiver for Jones last year. It seemed like whenever there was a crucial 3rd and long situation, Jones would look for Miller to convert. It will be interesting to see if he turns to the bigger, more physical Ryan Carden to be his safety blanket this season. Overall, the tight end group that Texas State is running out on to the field has great size and athleticism. This group should do a good job at opening up the middle of the field for the passing game, utilize their size and strength to set the edge for the running attack, and will be big red zone targets. Probable Starter: Ryan Carden 6’4’’ 250 lbs. Sr. Carden has been a contributor for the Texas State offense since 2013, and has even been a co-starter with Miller along side of him. He has more of a prototypical tight end body than Miller and is a physical blocker on the edge. Last year he was limited facing numerous injuries, but still caught 13 passes for 196 yards and a touchdown; his best game came against Big 10 opponent Illinois where he had four catches for 56 yards. One of the most underrated facets of Carden’s game is his intelligence. In both the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons, he was named to the Sun Belt Conference Honor Roll after maintaining a GPA of 3.0-3.5 as a marketing student. You may not find this to be as significant as his measurables or ability to catch a pass, but intelligence and football IQ go a long way towards being a successful player. Being smart will allow the coaches to trust him in critical situations. 2 Deep and Contributors: Lawrence White 6’7’’ 240 lbs. Sr.
Chris French 6’4’’ 245 lbs. So.
Gabe Schrade 6'4" 227lbs So.
In 2014, Lawrence White was the third tight end, but was one of Jones’ favorite red zone targets. He played in 12 games, recorded eight receptions for 141 yards and three touchdowns. Similar to Carden, White earned an Oak Farms academic award at Texas State and was named to the Sun Belt Conference Honor Roll. White also earned the Jim Bob Helduser Award as the Most Improved Offensive Player in 2015 Spring Practice. If you want me to pick a sleeper in the passing game, White’s improvement has been acknowledged, so that combined with his size and athleticism, I think he could haul in 20-25 receptions with 5 touchdowns.
Chris French is a juco transfer from Saddleback College (CA). He was ranked as a 3-star recruit by Scout.com National Recruiting Analysts. Only a sophomore, French was a spring enrollee and has been on campus since January. He shows the ability to excel in the receiving game and flashed his abilities during the spring. Look for French to earn his reps.
Another one to keep your eye on is true sophomore Gabe Schrade. As a freshman he failed to log a catch, but the staff has raved about his athleticism and speed for having a bigger frame.
The Bobcats quartet of tight ends is a very capable group. As camp and the regular season kickoff, we'll see if the group rises to the occasion.
Position Battle: TE's
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