2019 Spring Preview: TE

2019 Spring Preview: TE

Paul Austria
Additions: None

Departures: None

New coach. Same squad.

The University of Miami’s success with tight ends in the past is no secret to the average football fan, as they currently have four tight ends in the NFL under contract. In 2019, Miami essentially returns the same unit with a couple of guys returning from season-ending injuries and one newcomer arriving in the summer. Throw in a new coach in Stephen Field, who is no stranger to the Miami culture after serving as a defensive coach from 07-08, and there might be something brewing for this unit in 2019.

2018 saw the rise of highly-recruited freshman sensation Brevin Jordan. Jordan saw action in 12 of 13 games and finished 2nd on the team in three statistical categories: receptions (32), receiving yards (287) and touchdowns (4). Jordan already cemented his place in Miami history with his go-ahead touchdown in the win over FSU and earned 2nd-team All-ACC Honors.

Even entering fall practice last year, Jordan’s future success wasn’t exactly laid out on a silver platter. He did not enroll until the summer and had a couple of veterans in front of him on the depth chart in Brian Polendey and Michael Irvin II. During fall camp however, Irvin suffered an MCL injury, which ended his season and gave Jordan a much bigger window of opportunity.

Polendey’s right-knee injury soon followed two weeks into the season, which also sidelined him for rest of the season. This led to the other freshman, Will Mallory, getting game action in 10 games but also left Miami’s depth at tight end super thin and inexperienced the rest of the way. Mallory’s 2018 stats aren’t as **** as Jordan’s (5 receptions, 37 yards, 1 TD) mostly because Jordan received more looks in the passing game and Mallory served mostly as a blocker in two-tight end sets.

Even with the return of Irvin and Polendey, the spotlight still favors the athletically superior Jordan and Mallory. In 2017, Irvin seemed to have trouble with consistently catching the football as he did have a few drops and Polendey has had very limited playing time in his career up to this point.

The newest member to Tight End U is Larry Hodges, who hails out of Tampa Jesuit High. Hodges is slightly undersized at 6’2”, 234 lbs. and basically did a little bit of everything for the team, even getting a few carries and returning a kickoff for a touchdown. Offensive coordinator Dan Enos plans to use him in an H-Back role versus a more traditional tight end. Because of the current depth at the position, it shouldn’t be a surprise if Hodges gets the redshirt this season to reshape his body a bit. In addition, Hodges will not be joining the Canes until summer.

Bottom Line

All in all, even with Jordan’s phenomenal freshman season, it’s hard to argue against the fact that the tight ends were not utilized to the fullest extent in 2018, much like most of the playmakers on offense. Miami’s tight ends combined for only 338 receiving yards and it’s not like Miami doesn’t have talent at the position. Jordan’s already a star and it helps that Mallory has another year to put on more weight. Once the Canes find out who’s starting under center in 2019, I’m feeling confident about seeing Jordan’s yards total double and Mallory fully utilizing his 6’6” frame by getting more looks in the end zone.

Comments (8)

The Jordan Mallory show!!! We got a glimpse of Jordan and a slither of Mallory in our anemic offense last season. This year should be fun to watch. Our depth at this point is better. We jus need this position group to remain healthy.
Jordan and Mallory are both going to eat like a buffet in Enos’s offense this season. They both create such mismatches versus the defenses we’ll face in the ACC Coastal, and should be featured pieces offensively. I can’t wait to see what we’ll do with both guys...H-Back, slot, motion, etc. if we get halfway decent QB play out of anybody, the world is their oyster that’s for certain.
I know he isn't a fan favorite, but I am happy to have Irvin back. If nothing else, he provides depth and we need all the swingin' ****s we can get at TE. But I think he can contribue as an inline blocker, maybe even sneak out and convert a 3rd down or 2.
Would like to see - at least in the spring - some more Hillery getting reps in jumbo packages, short yardage situations, etc. I thought it was pretty solid when asked to go out there as an extra blocker late in the year when we were down to toothpicks and bubblegum holding our TEs together.