Junior report: Longview TE Tate Casey

Sticking with our recent pass-catching theme, IT spotlights Tate Casey of Longview. The top TE in this year's talent pool (with virtually no other even close) may prove to be one of the bigger pieces of the 2004 recruiting puzzle.

"I'm not sure the kid won't play defensive end," Longview head man Pat Collins told IT. "He'd make a helluva DE...just a tremendous defensive end prospect. That's where we played him his sophomore year and he looked like a natural."

So did the state's DE depth just get a little deeper?

"I think the schools that are looking at him want him as a tight end," said Collins. "Last year we moved him to TE and pretty much just left him there. Now, I'm not going to say that he won't be a college DE because he could. And he can play from the right or the left side."

With no stats of Casey's sophomore exploits as a DE close by, Collins did have the 6-7, 220-pounder's tight end numbers handy from his junior campaign.

"Tate had 19 catches, 365 yards, 19.2 yards per catch and three TDs," the Longview head coach said. "He's got really great hands and can run after the catch."

As for the low number of touches Casey -- who can run a 4.8 forty -- had, Collins explains: "We mostly line up in the I-formation. And we do a lot of option. Last season, we had Joel Armstrong at QB and he did an outstanding job for us. As a matter of fact, he got a scholarship offer to play for Rice and will be heading there this season."

With Armstrong moving on to Houston to become an Owl, a scheme change in Collins' offense just might be in the making.

"Well, we should have a pretty good football team this year," Collins said. "We'll have nine starters back on O and we just need to find someone to play the QB position for us. We'll be looking to get that figured out in the spring. And I think we might be a little more multiple (in formations) this year."

What about utilizing Casey's talents at DE?

"Maybe," said Collins, refusing to tip his hand. "We certainly could use him at defensive end...you just have to wait and see."

Accolades: As a junior, Casey grabbed 1st-team all-district and all-East Texas honors.

How strong is he?

"He hasn't lifted this year yet," Collins said. "But I have some numbers on him after his sophomore year, which was a year ago. Bench was 200 pounds and he'll need to do a lot of upper-body work. Squat was 375 pounds and he had a 275-pound hang clean. And he posted a 25-inch vertical last year and I'm sure that's gone up a bit."

Schools showing interest?

"Texas, LSU, A&M," Collins told IT. "A&M offered him when R.C. was still there and Coach Fran and his staff have stayed on him. And I'm sure OU will be here pretty soon. I can't remember everybody but those schools are definitely interested."

We'll have a little more on the recruitment of the state's top tight end in this week's edition of the Inside Scoop.

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