- Jul 19, 2016
From Jeremy Shockey to David Njoku, Miami’s lineage of tight ends has become a valuable recruiting pitch to top prospects across the country.
But while depth at the position has been a strength for the ‘Canes in recent years, the story has changed under Mark Richt in 2017. Gone is the superstar tight end Miami spotlighted last season in David Njoku, and up the depth chart comes versatile senior Christopher Herndon IV.
Herndon has been referred to as “underrated” so many times this offseason he no longer fits the description, and with Miami’s first game just over a month away, the 6’4” target has more on his plate than his own personal development.
“It’s also part of me being a leader,” Herndon said. “I have a bunch of young guys behind me so it’s not just [about] me moving on, I have to bring them along with me because we’re gonna need more than one during the season.”
Herndon’s versatility opened up Miami’s playbook under Mark Richt last season, and allowed the offense to come out in multiple tight end sets. After practice, Richt responded to a report that redshirt sophomore Malik Curry was taking reps at tight end with the ‘Canes second team, and stressed that competition behind Herndon is still open.
“We are rotating all those guys,” Richt said. “If that’s how it went that’s how it went, I know Irvin ended up not practicing the second half of practice, we want to make sure he is 100% healthy.”
Richt said he “wasn’t going to get into” why Irvin missed the second half of practice, but did say they were just “suspicious” of something and that he may be practicing tomorrow.
“They’ve been thrown in the fire,” Herndon said about Miami’s young tight ends. “They’ve handled it pretty well. There was a few missed assignments, a few errors, but they didn’t let it get to their head or [their] next play mentality.”
And while the defense is expected to continue regaining their attacking attitude, Herndon is leading the tight ends with a simple mindset every day.
“I just want us to come out every day with a good work ethic,” Herndon said. “A good attitude, not coming out like we have to be out here, [but] like we want to be out here. I don’t want us to come out dreading each day.”