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Miami Hurricanes 2022 player preview: Will Mallory

Is the fifth-year senior ready to become the next great one at Tight End U?

Miami v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

There have been many tremendous tight ends to come through Coral Gables. That’s no secret. Spanning back to Glenn Dennison on the 1983 national championship team, the tight end has been a position of talent and production. Great names have come through on the way to the NFL. Bubba Franks, Jeremy Shockey, Greg Olsen, Jimmy Graham, David Njoku, and most recently Brevin Jordan.

Is Will Mallory ready to join that list?

The 6’5” 245-pound fifth-year senior out of Providence School in Jacksonville is now the top man on the totem pole for a second straight season. Last year he started all 12 games as the #1 tight end. For the year he caught 30 passes for 347 yards with 4 touchdowns, good for fourth on the team in catches and fifth in yards.

Those numbers need to go up in 2022, and they should by a significant margin.

With the departure of Charleston Rambo and Mike Harley, Jr., the Canes lost their top two pass catchers in terms of catches, yards, and receiving touchdowns. Suitable replacements of those levels of production have not yet emerged after the spring game and into fall camp. Miami has plenty of younger talent, some of which who indeed contributed significantly last fall - i.e., Xavier Restrepo and Key’Shawn Smith. Restrepo should step in and start in the slot, where he will should become a reliable chain-moving option for Tyler Van Dyke. Smith was the most productive of the young bunch of wideouts, and it stands to reason he could be the next to step up and try to fill the sizeable shoes left by Rambo and Harley.

But that leaves plenty of room for Mallory to have an impactful 2022 campaign. He has his believers beyond Coral Gables, as he was one of three Canes to earn preseason All-ACC Team recognition.

What has stuck out to me the most about Mallory is his involvement in chunk/impact plays in games. He seems to have a knack for making them.

I also have to give credit to the versatility that Rhett Lashlee utilized in creating opportunities for Mallory. The trick play against Pitt. The 72-yard flea-flicker catch-and-run touchdown against Virginia Tech (called back, but still a thing of beauty). Lining up at H-back and slipping out for a touchdown catch near the goal line against NC State and FSU. Mallory can do it all in that regard. And that will serve to allow Josh Gaddis to (hopefully) continue to move him around and take advantage of his ability in the passing game down the field.

Getting Mallory in space also helps him with regard to blocking. Locking down a defensive end one-on-one in the running game is not Mallory’s best trait as a tight end, but slip him out on a screen for Jaylan Knighton, and he’s got far less issues. Again, keep moving him around, and very good things can happen with Mallory this year.

2022 prediction: 50 catches for 715 yards, 7 touchdowns.