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Louisville Football Preseason Position Preview: Tight Ends

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Louisville has spent the last few years with an offense that utilized the tight end position very well. With the return of Bobby Petrino, that utilization should only increase. At Arkansas, Petrino and Garrick McGee had tight end D.J. Williams who won the Mackey award in 2010. The offense is known for producing big plays, but the short passing game with the tight ends is essential to the offensive scheme.

Outside of DeVante Parker, Gerald Christian should be the player that should see his production increase the most this coming season. Christian was ranked as the top tight end prospect in the country coming out of high school and Louisville fans were obviously excited when he transferred in from Florida. He finished last year with 28 catches and 4 touchdowns. Those numbers could easily be doubled this season with a system that not only relies on the tight end more, it also pushes the pace more. The increase of plays run alone will help up everyone's numbers. Christian is a great fit to attack the seams and should see a lot of free space with such great threats on the outside.

Keith Towbridge is going to be a good one no matter what system he plays in. Towbridge will not win any footraces but he uses his body so well to give his quarterback enough of a window to throw into. He is a nimble athlete that was a pretty good basketball talent in high school. He has made a large amount of highlight reel catches in practices the last two years and I think he will do very well this year with all of the talent around him. The offense ran a good amount of two tight end sets in the scrimmage and I expect to see it throughout the season.

Griffin Uhl and Luke Brohm both took team pictures with the tight ends even though they are listed as fullbacks. In practice they lined up at both but during individual drills they ran routes with the tight ends. With all of that being said, I think both will be used in short yardage as the third tight end or fullback in certain formations. Uhl is a monster of a blocker and I think he will be utilized well this season, while Brohm caught the ball extremely well out of the backfield. I don't think either will see a lot of time on the field but both will serve a role.

My sleeper recruit in this class has always been Micky Crum and even though he will more than likely redshirt, he looked pretty good in practice by all accounts. Crum needs a year to gain a little mass, but he has the peed and athleticism to do well in the passing game. His blocking leaves a lot to be desired but the added bulk should help with that. Charles Standberry was a tweener when he committed and was always expected to sit a year. He needs a year to truly learn the position as well as adding weight.



Nick O'Leary

So you can get used to hearing it: O'Leary is Jack Nicklaus' grandson. He was also nearly killed in a crazy motorcycle accident before last season. It's pretty much FSU's version of "Stefon Lefors' entire family is deaf". O'leary had a big season last year with 7 touchdowns. He will almost certainly have another big year with so much production being lost and new guys being asked to replace some serious talent.


Clive Walford

Walford led Miami in receiving in the Russel Athletic Bowl against Louisville last season. He is a consistent player that always seems to pull in a few catches a game. He flirted with going to the NFL (no clue why) last year but decided to return for his senior season. With a potential freshman in Brad Kaaya having a chance to be the starter at quarterback, Walford could be relied on to be a security blanket.


Kalvin Cline

I promise I didn't pick him just because of his name (I kinda did). Cline has a handful of good receivers playing around him which should help him get more looks. Tech's offense isn't expected to do much this year, so I'm not sure if Cline will do too well, but like others, Tech is breaking in a new quarterback and offensive coordinators like to make it as easy as possible by simplifying the passing game. Tight ends typically are the beneficiaries of that simplification.