Fall Position Preview - Tight Ends 

With less than 50 days to Washington's September 3rd opener versus Rutgers, it's time to ramp things up with our fall position previews. Up today is a look at the Husky tight ends. 

The loss of Joshua Perkins to graduation was arguably the biggest one to any Washington offensive position group (although Jaydon Mickens might have something to say about that when talking about the receivers), but unlike the receivers - who have plenty of question marks coming into the 2016 season - the tight ends just keep trucking along. 

That being said, the tight ends accounted for less than a quarter of 2015's total catches - 60, and that needs to improve. Of the top-10 receivers (in terms of catches), only two - Darrell Daniels and Drew Sample - were tight ends.  

The reason why Washington fans should be optimistic this year about the Husky tight ends is that there are plenty of players that can step up and fill the vacuum left by Perkins, starting with Daniels. 

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Tight Ends (by year)

Jeff Lindquist (6-3, 244, RSr.)  

Darrell Daniels (6-4, 237, Sr.) 

David Ajamu (6-5, 246, RJr.) 

Derek Hunter (6-2, 227, RJr.)*  

Will Dissly (6-4, 273, Jr.) 

Drew Sample (6-5, 260, RSo.) 

Michael Neal (6-4, 237, RFr.) 

*=Walk on

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Projected Depth Chart

Darrell Daniels (6-4, 237, Sr.)

Drew Sample (6-5, 260, RSo.)

David Ajamu (6-5, 246, RJr.)

Jeff Lindquist (6-3, 244, RSr.) OR

Will Dissly (6-4, 273, Jr.)

Michael Neal (6-4, 237, RFr.)

Derek Hunter (6-2, 227, RJr.)*

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Where does the Tight Ends group stand heading into the fall? 

The onus this year is on Daniels to ease the uncertainty surrounding the question of who is going to help Jake Browning in the passing game. He needs to lead to be this year's Perkins, which means not only coming up with 35+ catches this season, but also lead the tight ends group on and off the field. 

Daniels's production has steadily increased over the years, from zero his true freshman year, to 11 in 2014 to 19 in 2015. This is his time to shine, and he is more than capable of doubling his previous production. 

Darrell started his Washington career as a big receiver, and even though he's moved inline he still has big receiver characteristics. Pound for pound he's one of the best pure athletes on the team, and he can move inside or outside with ease. Considering the fact that the Huskies still only have two scholarship receiving threats over 6-foot-1 - Brayden Lenius and Nik Little - it's natural to think Daniels could be utilized in a number of ways this fall, including outside. 

Sample is next in line, and although he only had five catches in 2015, two of them were touchdowns. He stands a legitimate chance to quadruple his output; it would not be a surprise at all to see him with 20 catches in 2016. It's a strong goal, and one the former Newport star is capable of achieving. 

The x factor in the group continues to be David Ajamu. Ever since getting hurt during warmups at USC, Ajamu's future remains in doubt. It wasn't a good sign to see the junior wearing a knee brace during the end of spring ball, so it's hard to stay optimistic about what Ajamu can provide in the near term. Obviously the hope is that he gets back to 100 percent health as soon as possible, because when he's full-go there's no question he can be a physical threat. 

The main difference between this year's tight end group and last year's is the inclusion of two 'new' players in Jeff Lindquist and Will Dissly. 

Lindquist, who moved over from quarterback, picked up the move quite nicely during the 15 spring practices. He showed an ability to get open and we already know how athletic the senior from Mercer Island is once he has the ball in his hands as a runner. 

Dissly will be an interesting case, because the Washington coaches still haven't given up on the big man being used from time to time on defense, but they also stated that his first responsibility will be now as an offensive player. That means more bulk along the line, probably as an additional 'lineman' in jumbo sets to start.


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