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Louisville Football Position Preview: Tight Ends

Can Louisville overcome the talent deficit at tight end?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 22 Pitt at Louisville Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

You have to work hard to find a full season where Jeff Brohm didn’t have a tight end that had a great year. Brohm’s offense has consistently produced NFL talent and he seems to have a specific type of player that works for him. Louisville doesn’t have that player on the roster as of now. Brohm will have to hope that some young talent develops quickly or that the guys he inherited are better than what they showed before.

As of now, the expected starter here is Josh Lifson. That’s based on what I saw in the spring as well as the fact that he has the most experience. Lifson had two touchdown catches in the spring game and I think he could be a very effective blocker.

Nate Kurisky and Jamari Johnson are probably the most likely options behind Lifson. Kurisky redshirted last year but he looked the part in the little time I’ve been able to watch him this fall. He may not be a burner but he knows how to get open. Johnson needs to continue to work on his body but he has shown the ability to get open consistently.

The wildcard of the group is Joey Gatewood. The former quarterback is on his fourth school and he finally made a position change. Gatewood is athletic but learning a new position is not easy. We’ll have to see how he works out as an option in the passing game. I don’t think he will be reliable as a blocker.

I’m also interested to see how Duane Martin features in this offense. He had the best catch that I saw during the open practices and I think he could feature as a short-yardage option in some ways.


Jamari Johnson is everything you want in a modern tight end. He has great size and a huge frame that will help him get open. What makes him a bit unique is the fact that he can run so well. I’m intrigued by the potential of his versatility. In the spring they lined him up as an H-Back like we saw with Marshon Ford the last few years. Then he was in the slot as a flex tight end. Not many guys can do all the things he does. It’s likely why he will see the field early on.