Spring Position Outlook - TE

We continued our Spring Position Outlook on Wednesday with a look at a group of wide receivers that lost one of the school's all-time best (Mike Davis), but that returns one too in Jaxon Shipley.

Today we'll look at a position that has been a huge asset for Texas in the passing game when counted on. That just hasn't been the case over the last several seasons. Fortunately for those on the roster, and to the recruits looking closely at UT, that will change this season.

Position:

Tight end

Who is gone?

Miles Onyegbule

The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Onyegbule has moved over to tight end to supply the position with more depth. It's not a reach as he played quarterback his senior year in high school after Matt Joeckel left for Texas A&M.

Who is on campus?

Blake Whiteley, Greg Daniels, Geoff Swaim, M.J. McFarland, John Harris

What's that mean?

It means these players have a lot to prove when it comes to catching the ball. Daniels led Texas' tight ends with 28 yards receiving last year while Swaim was second with 14. That's not good and Charlie Strong knows it.

"Well, that's a position we have to get better at," he said. "You look at the guys that we have that are playing right now – they're going to be a big part of our offense. So they understand and know that they need to get better because they're going to catch a lot of balls, and they are going to be really heavily involved."

The good news is there are some weapons in the group that should be able to step up. McFarland didn't catch a pass last season but when called upon in 2012 he did so admirably to the tune of eight receptions for 125 yards and a score.

The gem of this group could be Whiteley, a junior college transfer, who should be able to help in the passing game. As a senior in high school, he caught 76 passes for 1,228 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Daniels, a former defensive lineman, and Swaim have never been asked the catch the ball that much but are capable. Daniels may be best remembered for making a 47-yard catch run out of the Wishbone formation as a tribute to Darrell K. Royal in 2012.

Who isn't on campus yet?

Garrett Gray

Whiteley is the only true tight end the Longhorns signed in 2014. But Gray, recruited as a WR, could potentially move to the position to add depth, especially considering Texas signed four other receivers in 2014.

Gray has the size (6-foot-5, 205 pounds) and the quickness to be a matchup problem for linebackers and safeties. But he would likely need some fine-tuning blocking in the trenches if he made the move.

Season prediction

There's no question their numbers are going to get better because they can't get much worse. Whiteley will lead the team in receptions and yards, and will be a real key for the offense in the red zone because of his blocking abilities. Daniels and Swaim will be used more as blockers than anything, but will combine to catch 3 touchdowns. McFarland will lead the tight ends in yards per catch and be the position's deep threat.


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