2005 Tight End preview

This should be a good year at tight end as the Trojans feature one of the most athletic players in the nation at the position with senior Dominique Byrd and a host of young players ready to start claiming some playing time of their own. Click below for a preview:

There are some very good athletes lining up these days at tight end for USC, some who are known more as blockers and some who are known more as pass catchers. It will be interesting to watch in fall camp to see which players begin to separate themselves to show that they will be the ones to earn time behind Byrd this year. Whoever does that will also have a leg up on earning the starting role next spring after Byrd departs.

2005 Tight Ends

There is no doubt that Dominique Byrd has the ability to be a major pass catching weapon as anybody who saw the catches he made last year against Oregon State and Oklahoma can tell you. No matter how many times you watch his opening touchdown catch against the Sooners it never gets old, it was simply an amazing grab. His one-hander against the Beavers was no slouch either. Dom missed spring ball with academic issues and then suffered a broken jaw at the hand of a teammate but he is expected to be healthy for camp and we will need him. Dominique is an experienced veteran who has seen a lot of success in a Trojan uniform and he will be counted on to be an emotional leader of this team. He has the same kind of vocal confidence and belief in his own abilities that Mike Williams had and Dom has turned into quite a playmaker himself from the tight end spot. We look for big things from Byrd this year.

One player who is starting to really impress with his performance in spring ball and summer workouts is Dale Thompson. Dale (photo) added a lot of bulk this off-season and he's aiming to fill Alex Holmes' role as a stud blocker for this team. Dale is also athletic enough to contribute in the passing game so don't be surprised if #89 ends up playing a much bigger role this year. Another guy who should see the field a lot is Fred Davis, a guy with a ton of athletic ability who seems poised to step up as well. Davis had an interesting first year adjusting to the college experience and it ended with him being left home for the Orange Bowl after being late coming back from a trip home to Ohio. By all accounts Fred has moved forward and he is in good physical shape right now so hopefully that is a good sign for his potential contribution. Fred has a chance to be a major pass catching weapon in this offense.

Jimmy Miller took a redshirt year last fall and he's yet another big, athletic guy who has a bright future with the Trojans. Don't count Jimmy out in terms of gaining playing time this fall and preparing for an even bigger role in the future. Former walk-on Nick Vanderboom is a dependable guy who doesn't make mistakes and he will see some action this year. The primary problem for Nick is that he's surrounded by a lot of talent at his position so there might not be a ton of opportunities for him. The Trojans will bring in one freshman this year in Charles Brown, a really big guy who says his goal is to be the best blocking tight end in USC history. That's a lofty goal but if he comes anywhere near achieving it he will be a valuable contributor to the team. Charles will likely redshirt this year to spend time with Chris Carlisle.

Overview

Byrd is set at the starting spot with the trio of Thompson, Davis and Miller angling for playing time behind him. Byrd lost a lot of weight following his broken jaw and he hasn't been able to get in a lot of work this summer so it will be worth noticing how quickly he is able to get in the flow of things in camp. Assuming he works his way back in rather quickly that gives us one of the top players in the nation at this position.

Projected depth chart to begin fall camp

Byrd – Thompson – Davis – Miller

Returning stat leaders

Byrd 37 catches, 384 yards (10.4 per), 3 TD's
Davis 4 catches, 30 yards (7.5 per), 0 TD's

2005 Tight End roster

#83 Fred Davis 6-4, 225 SO
#85 Charles Brown 6-6, 250 FR
#86 Dominique Byrd 6-3, 260 SR
#87 Nick Vanderboom 6-4, 245 JR
#88 Jimmy Miller 6-5, 250 FR
#89 Dale Thompson 6-4, 255 SO

2005 USC Position Previews

Thursday, July 7th - Linebacker
Monday, July 11th - Defensive Line
Thursday, July 14th - Defensive Back
Monday, July 18th - Special Teams
Thursday, July 21st - Offensive Line
Monday, July 25th - Wide Receiver
Thursday, July 28th - Tight End
Monday, August 1st - Running Back
Thursday, August 4th – Quarterback


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