Where They Stand: A look at UW's TE Position

We continue our position-by-position look at what happened this past season, the returning players and we give our thoughts on what things might look like in 2015. Today, we look at the tight ends where there are quite a few different pieces to work with and the future looks bright at the position...

2014 Review - Like the receivers, the tight ends were a bit hamstrung in their overall production due to the inconsistent play at quarterback. Josh Perkins had a huge junior season, accounting for 25 receptions for 315 yards and three scores, but he was the only tight end that was targeted on a consistent basis. Was that because of the quarterback or because other tight ends weren't getting open? It's hard to tell. Overall this unit underperformed from a statistical standpoint, but they handled their blocking assignments for the most part and generally weren't a reason for the offense's struggles.

Returning Players

Josh Perkins (6-4, 227) (RS Sr.)
Darrell Daniels (6-4, 235) (Jr.)
David Ajamu (6-5, 242) (RS So.)
Drew Sample (6-4, 236) (RS Fr.)

Incoming Freshman

Mike Neal (6-4.5, 225)

Position Overview

Josh Perkins - As mentioned above, Perkins had a breakout season. He finished with career highs in catches and yards and tied his touchdown total from 2013. Perkins isn't your traditional tight end where he offers you a big 250-pound frame that can be a big target over the middle. However, he has adequate size and he fits perfectly into what Chris Petersen and Jonathan Smith want to do with their tight ends -- essentially a big wideout who can go in motion and create mismatches with linebackers and safeties. Perkins has improved quite a bit as a blocker, but he can get even better at this and as a senior the expectations should be for him to build on a very good junior campaign to finish things out on a very high note this coming fall.

Darrell Daniels- There may not be a better athlete on Washington's roster than Daniels. With is size and speed (4.55), he's got exactly what you are looking for in a tight end for Washington's offense, however, he just hasn't been able to put it all together as of yet. When he showed up at Montlake, Daniels was not a natural receiver. He fought the ball and struggled to make easy catches. Those problems have seemed to disappear a bit, but he still needs to refine his routes and be better as a blocker. The "want to" seems to be there with Daniels, so it will be interesting to watch his development this offseason. A good performance during the spring as well as when fall camp rolls around could result in him getting a lot more targets. That can only bode well for the Huskies as they continue to work toward a more diverse offense.

David Ajamu - Ajamu's biggest contributions as a redshirt freshman this past season were on special teams. He didn't see the field much in regular offensive sets although he was called upon a few times in the redzone as a blocker. Ajamu has a big body and he's pretty athletic, but we're still waiting to see how he fits into Washington's offensive scheme. It might be another year before we truly get a feel for what he can do on the field as a "regular" tight end.

Drew Sample - One player I am excited to see on the field this spring will be Sample. He was the best tight end in the state, and probably the entire Pacific Northwest, when he signed with Washington last February, but with the number of bodies the Huskies already had at the position, he had the luxury of redshirting and working on his overall strength and game. Now it's his time to show what he can do. Sample is big and very athletic with soft hands. He was committed to Petersen before the Husky head man came to Montlake, so Sample obviously is a player that fits what Petersen wants to do on offense. Spring ball will go a long way in determining how big his role winds up being this fall.

2015 Preview - I think with an improved passing game, you will see the tight ends targeted a lot more this coming fall. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see Perkins wind up with over 50 catches and for Daniels to be used as a "big" wideout in some sets and for the junior to also have somewhere in the vicinity of 25 to 30 catches. Ajamu and Sample are definitely intriguing in how they could be used in goal line sets. If they can prove to be better blockers, they could be used more between the 20s as well. Neal will need a year or two of seasoning, but he could wind up being one of the more underrated players in the 2015 class before he finishes his eligibility at Washington. He's got a lot of athleticism, but he played on a team that didn't throw the ball much, so his statistics were only so-so as a senior. Overall, this position has a lot of pieces to work with and a coach in Jordan Paopao who is a rising star among young coaches in the conference. Now they just need to get it done on the field.

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