Miami has had pretty consistent production from the tight end position over the past 10 seasons. Jimmy Graham, Clive Walford, David Njoku and Christopher Herndon IV have all put up strong numbers for the Canes and are still reeling in catches on Sundays. At the end of the 2017 season, the outlook for the position was much bleaker than it had been in recent memory with only one player returning with any meaningful playing time, but a strong recruiting effort has converted that concern into excitement, as a pair of talented freshman will enter the 2018 season looking to make some noise at the position. Let’s take a look at our 2018 tight ends:
Michael Irvin II
The son of one of the greatest (and most iconic) receivers in Canes history, Michael Irvin II didn’t arrive in Coral Gables with as much fanfare as his predecessor. However, the 3-star recruit received some solid experience in the offense last season after taking over the starting snaps for Chris Herndon, who sustained a season-ending knee injury in the Canes regular season finale against Pitt. Irvin has decent size at 6’3” 240, so by default one would think he has a shot at the starting slot in 2018, but the incoming talent may be too much for him to overcome, and his 9 receptions for 78 yards last year won’t do enough to make the coaching staff second guess a decision to roll with the young guys.
It’s hard not to get excited about a big time recruit like Jordan, who was one of the top tight end recruits in the nation. He played for big time high school program Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas, and stood out among his peers. While a bit undersized for the position at 6’2”, his athleticism makes him a weapon that has to be utilized. The hopes for big plays from this position mostly ride on the talented freshman, and Canes fans everywhere are hoping he is unleashed from day 1.
The second part of what Canes fans hopes becomes a two-headed monster at the position, Will Mallory was another solid get by the coaching staff on signing day. The 6’5” Jacksonville native was also a 4-star recruit and has good size, a long stride and soft hands. While he doesn’t appear to be a surefire impact player from day 1, Mallory has the tools to earn a spot in the offense this season.
The Canes also have returning players Brian Polendy and Nicholas Ducheine vying for playing time at the tight end position. Polendy played 6 games on special teams last season, but at 6’6” and 245 lbs, could have a shot at seeing the field, especially in blocking situations.
The Canes will be very young at tight end this season, and that will be a hurdle to overcome. This will not be a group that lacks talent, however, and with so many other studs at the skill positions, the tight ends could be in a great situation to learn quickly. While Malik Rosier (or whoever is behind center this season) may not be able to use the tight end position as a security blanket right away, there should be enough production from this group for the offense to be successful. If our two talented freshman are anywhere close to as good as advertised, the legacy of “Tight End U” will be as strong as ever. The coaching staff is excited about this group, and you should be as well:
How are you feeling about the two-headed monster? Can Michael Irvin II make some strides to stay on the field? Let us know in the comments.