2013 Spring Blitz: Tight Ends

2013 Spring Blitz: Tight Ends

TCU is inexperienced at the TE position for 2013. Who will emerge during spring practice? Is there a star among the contenders? Find out here.

TIGHT END ROSTER
The tight ends have plenty of depth, but overall lack of experience.
Player
HT
WT
Class
Stephen Bryant
6-5
250
Junior
Griffin Gilbert
6-5
225
Sophomore
Clifton Murphy
6-4
280
Junior
Gerren Ballard
6-6
255
RS Freshman
Dominic Merka
6-4
235
Sophomore
Buck Jones
6-4
240
RS Freshman
Luke Benuska
6-5
255
Sophomore
Bryson Burtnett
6-5
230
Freshman

Returning Statistical Leaders
Receptions: Gilbert; 2
Yards: Gilbert; 11
TD: None

UNIT RANKING: Incomplete

STRENGTHS: Potential, size
WEAKNESS: Inexperience


Gilbert caught 2 passes in 2012
Where do you start when the top returner at the position had just 2 receptions for 11 yards? When asked to give a grade to this unit, I couldn't do it. I gave them an incomplete because there's no way to know exactly what the Frogs have at the position. The potential is there no doubt, but will it translate to the field? Stephen Bryant should be the leader in the clubhouse if he's 100% healthy. The 6'5" 250 pound Bryant will see time in the H-back position and will be used in numerous ways. Clifton Murphy is a big (6'4" 280), blocking TE that really helps out in goal line situations. Griffin Gilbert came in as a highly touted pass catcher but he really never got the chance to show it. He could see time at both TE and receiver this year in an attempt to get the talented Austin Lake Travis product more involved with the offense. The next group is long on potential but at this point, remain unknowns. Gerran Ballard, Dominic Merka, Bryson Burtnett, Buck Jones and even walk on Luke Benuska all have the ability, the question is, will any guys from this group step up? Burtnett will already be on the field as a deep snapper for the Frogs and in my opinion, will be tough to keep off the field due to his superior athletic ability.

What to Watch: Stephen Bryant's health

Bryant came in to last year with a lot of expectations. The Frogs are hoping that Bryant is back to his old self and he steps into the role they had planned for him last season. If Bryant isn't up to the task, look for Dominic Merka to possibly get that shot.

Breakout player: Griffin Gilbert


Burtnett could make an impact at TE
Like we mentioned earlier in the story, Gilbert came to TCU as a highly touted pass catcher. The 6'5" 225 pound TE will get some looks at receiver this year as well in hopes of getting him more involved in the passing game. An excellent weapon in the Red Zone, TCU will look for ways to get him the ball. TCU has never utilized their talented tight ends like some people would like to see but maybe this is the year that they become a more integral part of the offense.

Keep an eye on: Bryson Burtnett

The 6'5" 225 pound freshman out of Springtown was an early enrollee for TCU and he'll provide instant relief as the team's deep snapper. The thing is, Burtnett is one of the most athletic tight ends to come through TCU in recent memory. Blessed with soft hands and great speed, Burtnett could be a huge weapon in the passing game.

Spring predictions
-Bryant returns to form and leads the group
-Gilbert impresses as a receiving threat
-A young gun will emerge

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