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Miami Hurricanes 2019 Position Preview: Tight Ends

Is this Miami’s most talented position group in 2019?

NCAA Football: Pinstripe Bowl-Wisconsin vs Miami Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Hurricanes have a nice history of having elite tight ends in college football. It dates all the way back to Glenn Dennison (Jets, Washington) in 1983 and carried on through names like Willie Smith (Dolphins), Alfredo Roberts (Chiefs, Cowboys), Rob Chudzinski, and Coleman Bell. Then a new era picked up the Tight End U moniker with ‘Canes and NFL stars like Bubba Franks, Jeremy Shockey, Kellen Winslow II, Greg Olsen, Jimmy Graham... the list goes on.

The 2019 position room of tight ends could be the most athletic room on the roster- of course battling with the running back room. Brevin Jordan, Will Mallory, Michael Irvin II, and freshman Larry Hodges.

The Starter

Brevin Jordan is the clear cut starter, even after suffering an injury in spring football. Jordan is a six-foot-three, 245 pound former four-star out of Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas. As a true freshman, Jordan was All-ACC second team at tight end after hauling in 32 passes for 287 yards and four touchdowns. Jordan started 11 games and appeared in 12 of 13.

Jordan has the skills to be an All-ACC first-team selection in 2019 and an early departure for the NFL Draft in 2020. The NFL likes versatile players and an h-back that can do it all falls into that category. Now it’s Miami’s job to protect the quarterback long enough for plays to develop and the quarterbacks to put the ball accurately on their targets.

The Backups

Another 2018 signee, Will Mallory is also a former four-star tight end. Mallory, the six-foot-five, 230 pounder out of Jacksonville, FL, played in 10 games with one start. Mallory caught five passes for 37 yards and a touchdown as a true freshman.

The duo of Jordan and Mallory, both sophomores, is a deadly combination. Jordan can line up in the slot or wing, and Mallory can line up all over the field as well. They’re an athletic duo with versatility and don’t forget that both can block, too.

Michael Irvin II is right behind Mallory on the depth. The son of ‘Canes legacy and NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin, is a former three-star out of St. Thomas Aquinas in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Irvin II (you can read more about Irvin here) is a six-foot-three, 240 pound redshirt junior who missed the 2018 regular season with a knee injury. Irvin worked hard in the off-season and looked really good in the spring.

The odd-man-out is blocking tight end Brian Polendey out of Denton, TX. Polendey is six-foot-six, 245 pounds and also suffered a season-ending injury in 2018. He’s towards the bottom of the depth chart along with incoming freshman Larry Hodges. Hodges is a three-star out of Jesuit in Tampa, FL. At six-foot-two, 234 pounds he’s the smallest of the tight end room but has flashed the ability to both catch passes and block.

Get ‘em on the field

Most people would assume Dan Enos can only use one tight end at a time but I would bet against that (read more detail about using two tight ends here). Jordan and Mallory can be interchangeable around the field and using two tall athletes will be beneficial to creating mismatches for the Miami offense. Mallory could be a great red zone target with his height and Jordan has the quickness to get open all over the field. Irvin II could even make for a third tight end in certain sets, the type offensive coordinator Dan Enos used at both Arkansas and Central Michigan.

No matter where they line up, Mallory and Jordan need to be a focal point of the offense. It will be difficult for teams to cover multi-faceted athletes like Deejay Dallas, Mallory, Jeff Thomas, and Jordan on the same play. There are 11 defenders and 15 open spaces on the field. It’s Dan Enos job to not only get players into those four bubbles but to also use his personnel’s strengths against the defense’s weaknesses- I have full confidence that he will do so and do so well.