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Position Preview (and updates) - Tight End


catdaddyp

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Zips used far more 12 personnel in 2023 than in 2022. Expect the offense to revert back to more single right end sets in 2024.

 

 

Jacob Newell - [Redshirt Sophomore, Returning] - (5.6) 3 ️ HS / NR (Portal) - Transfer from Arizona State where he had a few P5 offers. Newell provides a big target in the passing game with a large frame and excellent hand/eye coordination. He has tremendous upside and will be the top tight end heading into 2024. Newell finished 2023 with 13 catches for 124 yards and a touchdown. He was the starting tight end in the spring game as expected. HS FILM *

 

Max Whisner - [Redshirt Sophomore, New] - (5.6) 3 ️ HS / (5.2) 2 ️ (Portal) - Transfer from Missouri. Whisner is more suited as an in-line blocking TE, but does have a decent catch radius. While he may not be as adept at gaining yards after the catch as some of the other TEs, he is a reliable target in the passing game. Expect Whisner to see significant playing time as he is more physically advanced than the other tight ends on the roster not named Newell. The (5.2) 2 ️ rating is about as lazy as I’ve seen by a recruiting service. Whisner was in the competition to be a starter at Mizzou this time last year. HS FILM *

 

Conner Cravaack - [Redshirt Freshman, Returning] - (5.4) 2 ️ - Cravaack played TE and DE in high school. He will provide a big target in the passing game and flashes surprisingly nimble feet for someone his size. As expected, Cravaack redshirted his freshman year. He played in the 2024 spring game and looks ready to contribute this season. HS FILM * Star Rating Take: TBD

 

Khalil Witherspoon - [Freshman, New] - (5.4) 2 ️ - Witherspoon played on both sides of the ball in HS as a WR, TE, and DE. He runs well and has excellent hand/eye coordination. He already understands how to use his body to position himself to win contested balls. Witherspoon has the potential to eventually develop into an All-MAC player, but will likely redshirt his freshman year. HS FILM *

 

Grant Gainer - [Redshirt Junior, Returning] - NR - Former walk-on who mostly played defensive tackle in high school. Gainer saw action in 6 games on special teams in 2022 and 9 games in 2023. HS FILM * Star Rating Take: TBD

 

Aiden Diaz - [Redshirt Freshman, Returning] - NR - Former walk-on that redshirted in 2023.

 

 

Banks and Newell received nearly 100% of the snaps in 2023. Banks is now gone leaving Newell as the top option. Whisner will be the top backup and Cravaack should also work his way into some snaps. This is a talented and versatile group that will support in the run game and give the offense reliable options in the passing game.

 

 

Scholarship Players:

Conner Cravaack

Jacob Newell

Max Whisner

Khalil Witherspoon

 

 

Added:

Max Whisner

Khalil Witherspoon 

 

Removed:

(5.8) 4 ️ (HS) - TJ Banks - Graduated.

(5.2) 2 ️ (TP) - Brycen Yarmo - TP

(5.4) 2 ️ (TP) - Nik Ognenovic - TP

 

Removed Before 2023 Season:

NR - Jacob Shaffer - Grad. - Walk-on

(5.2) 2 ️ - Tristian Brank - Retired. - Star Rating Take: (5.4) 2 ️ 

(5.5) 3 ️ - Marquell Darnell - TP? - Star Rating Take: TBD. 
(5.7) 3 ️ - Caden Clark - Retired. 

 

Before 2022 season:

NR - Matthew Monaghan - Walk-on

NR - Nick Dottore - (Morehead State) - Walk-on

NR - Nate Amato - Walk-on

Edited by catdaddyp
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Can't agree more with your take among this group. Scholarship guesses are spot on as well. I do think one player ends up transferring out after spring ball. We've got 4 guys expecting playing time (Brank, Og, Yarmo, and Banks), and they aren't all going to get it barring injuries.

 

I keep a scholarship chart that isn't 100%, but pretty accurate. Fact is we don't always hear about walk-ons getting put on scholly or official status of players who transfer in over the summer, so assumptions get made. Holding off on posting for now as the roster online needs to have class levels fixed.

 

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  • catdaddyp changed the title to Position Preview - Tight End
2 hours ago, LZIp said:

Can't agree more with your take among this group. Scholarship guesses are spot on as well. I do think one player ends up transferring out after spring ball. We've got 4 guys expecting playing time (Brank, Og, Yarmo, and Banks), and they aren't all going to get it barring injuries.

 

I keep a scholarship chart that isn't 100%, but pretty accurate. Fact is we don't always hear about walk-ons getting put on scholly or official status of players who transfer in over the summer, so assumptions get made. Holding off on posting for now as the roster online needs to have class levels fixed.

 

Looking forward to seeing your scholarship breakdown. It’s a shame they don’t make a bigger deal of it and post on social media when walk-ons gain scholarships. 
 

Is this what you have so far?

QB = 4

RB = 5

WR = 8

TE = 6

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2 hours ago, Blue & Gold said:

@catdaddyp Thank you for another outstanding analysis.  I'll admit that TE is a position I usually find easy to overlook.

B & G, you overlooked the TE position because for years our coaches have overlooked it. This coach is determined to use all his weapons.

 

In Joe We Trust.

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26 minutes ago, catdaddyp said:

Looking forward to seeing your scholarship breakdown. It’s a shame they don’t make a bigger deal of it and post on social media when walk-ons gain scholarships. 
 

Is this what you have so far?

QB = 4

RB = 5

WR = 8

TE = 6

Yes sir to all. I've attached the most current version. Don't pay attention to the class years as I know some of GoZips roster is wrong, so waiting to update those. Looks like they aren't reflecting last year's redshirts. Also, I wouldn't pay much attention to the special teams player names. More-so just assuming the starting Long snapper, Kicker, and Punter are all on scholly.

 

The current roster is missing additional Arth era players Deacon Allen (OL) and Rey Noi Summerset (OLB). Both were freshman last year and I don't believe played at all. There is one Moorhead signee not showing up yet - OL Keylen Davis

Zips Football Scholarship Chart.xlsx

Edited by LZIp
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14 hours ago, catdaddyp said:

In most offenses, the tight ends are an unheralded group, but we may see more balls thrown their way in 2022. This group has a nice blend of skill sets as a few will provide big receiving targets, some will be able to provide key blocks by getting to the second level of the defense, while others will contribute on special teams.

 

TJ Banks - Transfer from West Virginia where Banks was a backup TE. He mostly played split out as a WR in high school, so learning to be an in-line TE at the D1 level was an adjustment. Banks exhibits a large catch radius and a big bodied target for the QB. If he can pick up the nuances of blocking, he’ll be a weapon at Akron.

 

Tristian Brank -  Exhibits great hands and a solid catch radius. He’s comfortable blocking in space and seems to be better as a pulling blocker than in-line blocker. Last years leading tight end receiver.

 

Nik Ognenovic - Big tight end that knows how to sit in the open space. He’s comfortable blocking both in-line and split out. 

 

Brycen Yarmo - JUCO tight end that mostly worked in-line. Excellent at releasing to the second level. He has enough size, but sometimes struggles to hold his ground against bigger defensive linemen.

 

Marquell Darnell  - Tall athlete with excellent size. Darnell was mostly split out wide in high school, so it’ll take some time to learn how to play as an in-line TE. He flashes solid hands and often out jumped DBs in high school. The potential is there to develop into a playmaker, but it may not be in year one.

 

Nate Amato - Played linebacker in high school. He’s a physical player that will initiate contact. Would probably be a good lead blocker and special teams contributor.

 

Nick Dottore - Flashes solid hands. He’s an adequate blocker and has good top end speed for a tight end, but stiff when attempting to change direction.

 

Grant Gainer - Played mostly defensive tackle in high school. Clearly likes physicality.

 

Matthew Monaghan - Only rugby film available, where he looked like a man among boys.

 

Jacob Shaffer - Played both inside linebacker and tight end in high school. He runs well and is very physical. Will most likely be a special teams contributor.

 

 

On initial impression I wasn’t too thrilled with this group, but upon further review I feel good about the tight ends going into 2022. The versatility they bring as a group should allow coach Moorhead to run multiple sets efficiently.

 

 

My best guess who the scholarship tight ends are:

Ognenovic

Yarmo

Brank

Banks

Darnell

Monaghan

Another good analysis.  My thoughts on the TE's are as follows:

 

Brank - should be the clear #1 TE.  Showed he was very capable and productive as a receiver and blocker

 

Ognenovic - great high school stats and pedigree.  Has not lived up to his background.  Has shown flashes of good play.

 

Banks - transfer from WVU, but he played little and his stats and tape are not very positive.  I am surprised that Coach JoeMo pursued this guy.  He does have good size.  Maybe a change of venue will help him out.  

 

Darnell - very good pedigree.  Very large and chose Akron over other schools.  Looks like he is the real deal to team with Brank to form a great duo.  

 

The Zips should be capable of running the 12 or 13 personnel effectively when needed with these 4 tight ends.  There are 10 TE's on the roster.  If I was coach JoeMo, I would shed the remainder of the tight ends and open up  some scholarships.  

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11 hours ago, LZIp said:

Yes sir to all. I've attached the most current version. Don't pay attention to the class years as I know some of GoZips roster is wrong, so waiting to update those. Looks like they aren't reflecting last year's redshirts. Also, I wouldn't pay much attention to the special teams player names. More-so just assuming the starting Long snapper, Kicker, and Punter are all on scholly.

 

The current roster is missing additional Arth era players Deacon Allen (OL) and Rey Noi Summerset (OLB). Both were freshman last year and I don't believe played at all. There is one Moorhead signee not showing up yet - OL Keylen Davis

Zips Football Scholarship Chart.xlsx 14.5 kB · 6 downloads

Thank you and well done! I’m sure that took some time and effort to track down that information. Have you considered posting it as a thread and then bumping it as updates are made?

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2 hours ago, bigjim said:

Another good analysis.  My thoughts on the TE's are as follows:

 

Brank - should be the clear #1 TE.  Showed he was very capable and productive as a receiver and blocker

 

Ognenovic - great high school stats and pedigree.  Has not lived up to his background.  Has shown flashes of good play.

 

Banks - transfer from WVU, but he played little and his stats and tape are not very positive.  I am surprised that Coach JoeMo pursued this guy.  He does have good size.  Maybe a change of venue will help him out.  

 

Darnell - very good pedigree.  Very large and chose Akron over other schools.  Looks like he is the real deal to team with Brank to form a great duo.  

 

The Zips should be capable of running the 12 or 13 personnel effectively when needed with these 4 tight ends.  There are 10 TE's on the roster.  If I was coach JoeMo, I would shed the remainder of the tight ends and open up  some scholarships.  

Agreed Brank will certainly start out as the top guy. His blocking - especially as a puller on run plays - coupled with his receiving ability, will allow him to be used as a utility type player. 
 

I suspect the idea with Banks is to use him more split out or potentially off the LOS, in the slot, when attempting to take advantage of a mismatch. He’ll still need to improve his blocking as an in-line TE to avoid being a one trick pony.

 

I think 4 of the tight ends are walk-ons (unless they were placed on scholarship without our knowledge), so there wouldn’t be any need to shed them. They should provide quality looks in practice and potentially contribute on special teams.
 

 

Edited by catdaddyp
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  • 4 weeks later...

It will be interesting to see how it shakes out for sure. I'd have thought we were set at TE (maybe even had one too many already), but this was likely a situation where the talent and potential goodwill of giving a Hoban player a home was too good to pass up. Just seems like we have too many guys (unless planning to run a lot of two TE sets) , but regardless TEs should be good special teams players.

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2 minutes ago, LZIp said:

It will be interesting to see how it shakes out for sure. I'd have thought we were set at TE (maybe even had one too many already), but this was likely a situation where the talent and potential goodwill of giving a Hoban player a home was too good to pass up. Just seems like we have too many guys (unless planning to run a lot of two TE sets) , but regardless TEs should be good special teams players.

Does Moorhead use a full back? TE to FB is usually a seamless transition.

 

Or if we're really feeling bold we could move the most athletic one to LB

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11 hours ago, AkronAlumnus said:

Does Moorhead use a full back? TE to FB is usually a seamless transition.

 

Or if we're really feeling bold we could move the most athletic one to LB

In the past he hasn’t used much FB. He mostly stays in the 11 personnel - meaning 1 TE and 1 RB. He’ll move the TE all over the field though. The TE may be in-line, set as a wing, split-end, or in the slot. Occasionally Moorhead will run 2 TE sets, but that’s not the norm for his offense.

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A few thoughts here: many coaches don't much value a TE or use them effectively. A physical TE is another blocker, another receiver, another passer; another threat for the defense to consider. Think Heath Miller for the Steelers!; Cutting TEs won't free up scholarship money because not all of them got any; I like 2TE sets to make the defense edgy; Rotation of three or more TE players has the defense thinking...trick play? Some play we haven't seen? Rather than Oh, hum, same 2 guys. We got this; TEs force the defense to cover the mid yardage bubble, creating less pressure elsewhere; TEs can line up in several positions making them versatile/flexible for more creative play construction. A TE that's a physical blocker, can run, catch, and throw (yep, I said throw) would be a dangerous weapon. Tight ends don’t receive as much credit as the quarterback, running back, or wide-receivers, but they arguably do more work than all of them when used effectively.

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2 hours ago, Football grandma said:

A few thoughts here: many coaches don't much value a TE or use them effectively. A physical TE is another blocker, another receiver, another passer; another threat for the defense to consider. Think Heath Miller for the Steelers!; Cutting TEs won't free up scholarship money because not all of them got any; I like 2TE sets to make the defense edgy; Rotation of three or more TE players has the defense thinking...trick play? Some play we haven't seen? Rather than Oh, hum, same 2 guys. We got this; TEs force the defense to cover the mid yardage bubble, creating less pressure elsewhere; TEs can line up in several positions making them versatile/flexible for more creative play construction. A TE that's a physical blocker, can run, catch, and throw (yep, I said throw) would be a dangerous weapon. Tight ends don’t receive as much credit as the quarterback, running back, or wide-receivers, but they arguably do more work than all of them when used effectively.

 

Sounds like someone has been catching up on their football basics reading list.

Keep up the good work.

Edited by Zipmeister
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35 minutes ago, Ham said:

Did we run any 12 or 13 sets Saturday?  Did we target any TE's?

The majority of sets I saw in the 2nd half were out of 11 personnel. Usually with the TE lined up at what would be around wingback depth. 
 

I don’t recall seeing the TE split out like JoeMo likes to do at times.

 

I don’t think I saw more than 5 or 6 different plays ran in the the second half. Most were just variations off the same play calls.

Edited by catdaddyp
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On 5/26/2022 at 11:58 AM, catdaddyp said:

Bump for updates.

 

Of note: A few former walk-ons are no longer listed on the official roster, nor is scholarship tight end Matthew Monaghan.

I do not think this is the right place for this post, so I am asking a moderator to move to its rightful place.

 

I commented in the QB preview that we are down to 3 QBs on the roster with Undercuffler being the fourth.  Need more depth at this critical position. .

Kickers - Only Smigel PK and Romenick K are on the roster, glad we have 3 recruits in Gettman, Paxos, and Perez.

OLB - looking at the Gozips roster, it looks like the numbers are down, but I cannot name the reductions.

ILB and S - again, it looks like the numbers are down, but I cannot name reductions.

 

Although no Zip has showed up in the Transfer Portal, it looks like roster reductions have begun.  This is great news to shed the non D1 players from the roster.  

Go Zips!!!!

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  • 1 month later...

Nice article.  Love the mentality...“We have guys who have won conference championships from past years who have come in,” he said. “That's our standard now. That's our goal every day we get on the field − that we're winning the MAC championship this year and winning a bowl game or playing 14 games this year.  That's our goal. We don't talk about a 12-game season. We're planning to play 14 every day.”

Teammates once again: Archbishop Hoban players reunite with Akron Zips (beaconjournal.com)

https://www.beaconjournal.com/story/sports/college/zips/2022/08/09/archbishop-hoban-players-reunite-with-akron-zips-college-football-mac-caden-clark-grant-gainer/65394434007/

 

 

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