With spring football just around the corner, here's a position-by-position look at the roster and what to expect over the next month

Today, the tight ends are our focus as we continue our countdown to UW spring football...

Over the past three seasons, Josh Perkins has dominated things at the tight end spot, catching 66 passes for 911 yards and nine scores in that time period.

Tight ends coach Jordan Paopao has settled into his role nicely since 2013 and he has plenty of pieces and lots of different body-types to work with and figure out how they fit best into Washington's offense.

Now, with Perkins graduated, Paopao will need to figure out how those pieces all fit together and which players will fill the different roles.


Position Group (by class)

Jeff Lindquist (6-3, 245, RSr.)

Darrell Daniels (6-4, 241, Sr.)

David Ajamu (6-5, 250, RJr.)

Connor Griffin (6-4, 235, RJr.)*

Derek Hunter (6-4, 225, RJr.)*

Drew Sample (6-4, 245, RSo.)

Mike Neal (6-4, 229, RFr.)



Daniels is probably the most physically impressive players on the roster. 

He's big, he's long and he's very athletic. He also brings an attitude that not many players have. 

Now the focus needs to be on being more consistent as a receiver. If he figures that out, the sky's the limit for his potential in this offense.

Griffin is one of the more athletic players on the roster. He's long and he has outstanding agility with soft hands. The former Gonzaga basketball player will be used as a receiver at times while also being asked to play out of the slot as a flexed out tight end.

Last year, Ajamu had the highlight play of the Spring Preview, going high into the air to haul in a pass for a nice gain. The problem? He wasn't much of a factor in the first five games of the season and then missed the remainder of the season with an injury.

If he can develop more as a blocker, Ajamu has the athleticism and size to become a very nice target for the Husky quarterbacks.

Sample is probably the best blocker of the bunch and he grabbed a couple of passes. While he's not the most athletic player of the group, he gets the most out of what he does possess and he also adds some toughness to the position.

Neal is a player everyone is looking forward to seeing out on the field after a year in the offensive system and in strength coach Tim Socha's program. Like Daniels, he's impressive looking on the hoof and he is expected to make an impact in the near future with his speed, athleticism and natural pass-catching abilities.

It will be interesting to watch how the coaches decide to use Lindquist who will likely be an H-Back in Washington's offense. What that means is he'll be used in motion quite a bit and he'll line up in different spots including flexed out, in the backfield and in motion. 


Paving The Way

Blocking has always been an essential part of a tight end's job, even in the new spread offenses that are so prevalent in the college game. 

Washington's blocking on the edge, both by the receivers and the tight ends, was lacking last season, but the coaches feel that their players really improved in that area toward the end of the season. 

If they can improve at blocking on the edge, they could really open up some running lanes for the Husky tailbacks and that would, in turn, open up more things in the passing game.


What Does Spring Mean For This Group?

A big part of the spring will involve the coaches figuring out the pecking order at the position.

Who starts? Who plays in the two and three tight end sets? Who is the best blocker? Who is a liability in that area? 

Daniels and Sample look like the two most likely to push for the starting spot, but don't rule out a guy like Griffin who has soft hands and enough athleticism to be a threat down the seam.

Throw in Lindquist with his leadership and toughness and Ajamu who is big and athletic also and you can see why Paopao has some tough decisions ahead of him.

Then throw in Neal who could be a real wild card in the offense and the Huskies have the makings of a really impressive tight ends group this fall.


Spring Position Preview - Quarterbacks

Spring Position Preview - Running Backs

Spring Position Preview - Receivers

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