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The Cardinal Countdown: 18 Days Until Kickoff

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#18 Cole Hikutini

Class: Senior

Ht/Wt: 6-5/248

Position: Tight End

Hometown: Sacramento, CA

Twitter: @colehikutini_07

Thoughts: Hikutini has had more buzz this offseason than an apiary. (That’s a bee joke to kick of the post folks, it’s all downhill from here). Towards the end of last year Hikutini started to separate himself from Crum and Towbridge as the top target among the tight ends, no matter who the quarterback happened to be. He had seven receptions and grabbed three touchdowns in back to back games against Syracuse and Virginia and finished the year with his biggest offensive production of the season against Texas A&M (3 rec/103yds). I’ve been a big Towbridge fan the last couple years, and I’m still president of the Micky Crum fanclub, but it’s tough to argue against Cole being the main target at tight end this season from everything we’ve heard out of the coaches and media alike.

Hikutini finished 2015 fourth on the team in receptions and receiving yardage but first in yards per catch (18.32) and tied for second with touchdowns (3). While that yd/rec average is tad ridiculous I’d expect all his others numbers to increase, and some fairly significantly. He had 19 receptions last year and I honestly wouldn’t be shocked, even with two other tight ends getting PT, to see him targeted 4-5 times a game this season (depending upon time and score of course), he’s that big of a threat. Throw a linebacker on him and his speed becomes a big issue, and if the defense plays nickel his size alone can give the corner nightmares. Throughout the Spring camp Petrino kept harping on how they could use Cole and the spring game proved he wasn’t joking (5 rec/2 TDs). As they entered the fall the hype only seemed to grow as Cole’s name kept popping up on watch lists and preseason All-ACC teams. I’m not stretching myself too far with this one, but I’d be shocked if Cole wasn’t another name on the list of Cardinals in picked the NFL draft early next year. Looking forward to seeing the various ways Bobby uses him and the other TE’s this year as we’ve got a special group. I’m excited, you’re excited…but I bet Lamar has us both beat.

Sweet Tweet:

Rumor is this was gonna be Cole’s 2016 touchdown celebration. While I like the effort, I say we hit Simone Biles in the flat, let her jukes some fools and then break off one of these in the back of the endzone.

I want to see Charlotte players cry on the field…