If you all remember I did a series of articles in June of 2017 that looked at the departing starters from the 2016 season and who I thought would be replacing them for 2017.  With that I assigned a grade of “Upgrade“, “Downgrade” or “Draw‘.

What I’ll do first is look at each position, or unit, along the offense or defense as of today and write down who I think will be the starter and why it will be that guy.  Then I’ll assign a ranking of “Upgrade” if I see an upgrade in player quality, “Downgrade’ if I see a lessening of talent or “Draw” if I think we’ll match last year’s player(s) in the position or unit. 

Here is a piece on the TEs written by Not Rocket Science (NRS) who has been around forever and disagrees with me on a regular basis.  Well, this time I can return the favor.

A quick look at last year’s tight ends.

Matt Flannigan GP 9, 17 for 160 yards, 10.94 average, o TD

Chris Clark GP 12, 16 for 122 yards, 7.63 average, 1 TD

Tyler Sear GP 9, 1 for 10 yards, 10 average, 0 TD

Certainly nothing to write home about.  Watson either did not utilize the TEs or the QB’s simply could not find them in the progressions.  I also believe they were kept in to block more.  Clark and Sear were essentially playing their first years.  Clark seemed to have potential as a receiver.  Too bad he quit football.  Sear only had one catch but his blocking came a long way and he did well against VT and Miami.  Flannigan certainly was not an athletic guy and only played in nine games.  I think he was average.

This year’s group includes the following:

Tyler Sear SO – the top TE prospect in PA for his class.  Also, played hoops.

Will Gragg rsJR – top recruit coming out of high school.  Didn’t play much at Arkansas.  Caught some balls over the middle, shuffle passes, screen plays, blocks decent.  His highlights are below.  Go to 1:45 in the clip if you want to see his athleticism.

2017 highlights:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1foimGz9A2E

Grant Carrigan rsFR – Hugh kid.  Maybe an OL tackle in the future.

Kaymar Mimes FR – recruited for defense but played hoops, ran 400 meter relay (at 6’5” 235 lbs, say what?) and did high jump in high school.  Wow, this guys is intriguing.

So will this group be better than last year?  I say yes for two reasons.

Sear will be much improved. I believe he can be as good as JP Holtz.  A good blocker and above average receiver.  He will certainly be better than Flanagan last year.

Will Gragg is more athletic and better from the neck up than Clark and he has playing experience, although limited. I think you will see him lining up all over the place.  Even in the back field.

Carrigan will get limited playing time in two TE sets.  However, I would love to see the big boy catch a pass in open field and rumble with the rock.  Also, 6’7” is a good weapon in the end zone if he knows how to block out defenders.

Mimes has the most potential.  Hopefully he plays against Albany and gets to show off his athleticism forcing the coaches to use him all year.  Watson has used FR TEs.

That leads to examining Watson’s history utilizing tight ends.  I cherry picked one year at UL.  His best year at Louisville so the numbers are skewed.  Four TE’s with catches: 48 catches, 7 TDs.  Pretty good numbers, especially the TDs.  If Watson had the right personnel, I actually believe he would pass to the RB’s more.  I don’t think Pitt has that personnel.  I don’t see a Stephens-Howling like RB(especially with Sibley out), so I think some extra catches go to the TE.  Pitt will not match those TD numbers UL had, but I say they get 40+ TE catches.

That said, I see this year’s group as a slight

UPGRADE

As I wrote back to NRS in his email to me I’ll rebut this article right away for two reasons – first is, again, the premise is returning players, not ones who weren’t on the roster last year.  After doing this for a full two years I’ll change this series of articles next season to include speculations on new players.  But… as it stands now.

We lost starter Flanagan and Clark who accounted for 33 catches for 317 yards and one TD.  We are replacing them with one catch by Tyler Sear and two others who haven’t seen any action in a Pitt uniform yet.

SO Tyler Sear looks to be OK but with only one catch it’s hard to tell though. This video may clear things up though.  He started the last two games due to injuries so he’s had a bit of starting experience.

Transfer rsJR Will Gragg who came to us from Arkansas played spot duty catching balls in three games, not starting any though and had five catches for 61 yards and no TDs.  Who knows what he’ll do for us?

rsFR Grant Carrigan, 6’7″ and 280 lbs, was a mid-rated 3* kid who’s only offer were Pitt, Kent State and Wake Forest – color me unimpressed.  But with his size expect to see him on the OL next season.

TE Nate Bossory – he of the trick TD catch from Winslow in the VT game, is interesting to me.  I’ve a feeling that we’ll be seeing him ob the field more than fans think this season.

We lost the TE who I thought had the most potential – early potential – in Charles Reeves who took after Transfer Will Gragg was announced coming to the Panthers.  Reeves had left the team on July 10th and the coaching staff couldn’t get in touch with him… so then they ‘dismissed’ him for disciplinary reasons.

Kind of like. “Hey, you took the ball home with you… , that’s OK – really, it is… I didn’t need one anyway. I hate you now!!”  Except that they still loved him apparently.

From Alan Saunders at PSN:

Multiple sources tell PSN that Reeves recently returned home to Steubenville, Ohio and never returned to campus. According to one source, this is something that Reeves has been contemplating for a while and finally acted on it.

Members of the Pitt staff attempted multiple times to reach him to get an explanation for his whereabouts and weren’t successful in talking to him.

There comes a point where a program needs to make a decision to move on and that’s what Pat Narduzzi decided to do. Narduzzi went out of his way when speaking with reporters, including our Alan Saunders, at ACC Kickoff on Wednesday to call Reeves a “good kid.

Well, he’s a good kid that split because again PN brought in a TE and again screwed the kids he is recruiting.  So instead of a 4* recruit with offers from Alabama, Wisconsin, Michigan, Penn State, Nebraska and Tennessee… we have a guy who in three full years on the Razorbacks was 5 career catch guy.

Believe me we’ll be wishing that big body of Reeves was on the end of the OL and catching passes for us this year.  Hell, at 6’5″ and 265 and fast for that size he’d have been a good interior OL soon if needed.

As much as I thought Clark was a headcase and unreliable – which turned out to be true in every respect – I’d still take him over any of the roster TEs we have this season – except maybe Sear.  So for me all this adds up to a:

DOWNGRADE

 

 

50 thoughts on “Upgrade, Downgrade or Draw for 2018’s TEs

  1. Off topic but I’m with Erie on the traffic issue. I plan to get down there around 2:00 and hopefully can park somewhere in Red5A. If not I have a garage pass and will park there.
    Also have an extra parking pass for Blue 7J…on General Robinson between Anderson and Sandusky (not that Sandusky, but the Predators will think it is).
    This may be scramble mode on game day so bear with me…

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    1. Fran – I’m planning the same…Red Garage during the Buccos game, hoping for the lower level next to the lot. May not bring Grill this time due to time compression. Chat this week.

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  2. The best showcase we had for Mr. Reeves was the spring game. For whatever reason, he did not look “fast for that size” in that game. I posted after that game that he looked no where near ready to contribute and that perhaps we’d see him develop in another year or two… Perhaps he was just having a bad day or was dinged up, but what I didn’t see was any aggressiveness or quickness (for his size).

    Against Albany, Gragg had the look more of a big WR versus a TE.

    I think Sear will be solid and hopefully can make some clutch catches.

    Carrigan’s size makes him intriguing. Would like to see a foot race between Reeves and Carrigan…

    I agree that the position should be a very slight upgrade –
    Gragg = Clark
    Carrigan = Flannigan
    Sear 2018 > Sear 2017
    Plus add in Medure…

    But certainly not much to get excited about here — unless Mimes can channel his athleticism into being an above average future TE…

    Go Pitt.

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  3. DOWNFALL? How about PITTFALL?

    Seriously, at the Spring Game the group of TEs looked big and SLOW. Far cry from what Pitt had just a few years ago and the kind of athleticism you see at the Position with other D-1s.

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  4. Reed

    Thanks for posting. I do disagree with you on some things, but I respect your opinion a great deal and really appreciate your hard work on the POV. Honestly, I think you and Batko are the only good sports writers in the Burgh.

    We will see the entire TE package this week and it will have some new twists. Look for more catches. Looks like Mimes is headed for a redshirt unless there is an injury. Don’t think he played at all.

    I didn’t post on the last thread. I few observation from the Albany game…

    Great to see Gabe Houy start and play pretty well. I realize it was Albany, but a start is a start. I think Hargrove played extensively the second half. Not sure if Ford did. Is there a site where you can see snaps played????

    AJ Davis gives me hope. He looked much quicker and ran with purpose. Liked Ollison also.

    Noticed the OL was cut blocking. Not sure if they did that in the past, but it can wear down a DL over the course of a game. It will help the Pitt DL when they play GT.

    Any discussion of the 2nd half are useless. My gosh a ton of kids played. I liked Pickett staying in, he needs all the game experience he can get.

    The safeties are an issue until they play better. What have you done for me lately? Nothing.

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  5. I can’t see where the TE position is better than last year. I don’t recall Sear being a prize recruit, it seems to me he was an add on to get another blocking TE body in there. Don’t know what to expect from Gragg. He showed nothing against Albany. This continues to be a weak position for Pitt, with slightly better run blocking that pass catching performance, but that is not saying much.

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  6. Thanks for the article NRS

    Sear returns and PITT lost little as far as pass catching. Carrigan is a big dude but the reason for my vote is Watson doesn’t use the TE all that much except for blocking. I think the TE’s will be slightly better this year that last in that department but not so much in catching the ball.

    I say DRAW

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  7. They should have made Hall a TE ala the former RB, Dorian Dickerson. Get’s you some speed being covered by a slower LB or Safety.

    Got to think outside the box.

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  8. Thanks for the post on the TEs. Well done.

    Nice link there with the Pitt vs psu fantasy teams.

    Didn’t know paterno sent letters to writers who he felt offended him or his team or caused them to loose something.

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  9. if he is the same Joel Klimek, he’s a dentist in Monroeville….Stan Ostrowski, Bob Medwid became dentists, Dave Blandino became a MD, Would be nice to see players honored for their academic and professional achievements. These are a few that I can remember…would love to know what became of our heroes after graduation..

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  10. Wayne Debartola became a dentist…wonder if Billy West became an electrical engineer…I think he had an evening class needed to graduate that cost him his starting job.

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  11. NRS — I also forgot to say thanks for your article. Good job.

    Seems to me we’ve had a couple of tight ends commit to us early and then change their minds over a past couple years – has hurt our level of TE talent…

    Go Pitt.

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    1. Yep, no TE in the 2015, 2016 classes. Then three and one left.

      That leads to not very good depth. If Sear gets hurt, there is a serious issue.

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        1. Carrigan is a TE. He played a lot against Albany. Hopefully we get to see his receiving skills soon. Pitt needs all three guys for depth. Gragg, Sear, Carrigan. They all have different roles. Also Medure, who caught a pass last week and is pretty fast.

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  12. What happened to that beast recruit (maybe walk on) from West Va. that was supposed to be the next Aston? And thanks for the great article NRS. Really enjoyed it!

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  13. On our late summer vacation at Dunes Manor OC MD. Met 3 other Pitt families in full Pitt regalia and 2 Nitter families w just PSU hats. Every last one of us is leaving here Friday and heading to the Burgh at Heinz for the big game. Please keep us posted on the latest parking details. We are floating over on Clipper but would love to finally attend Frans tailgate.

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  14. Can’t find Tank on the roster VOR

    Dan, you can take the T from Station Square straight to the North Side Station 50 yards from Fran and JoeL’s tailgate.

    Getting ready to run through a wall right now although many body parts are yelling at me that may not be a good idea. There in lye my problems, I don’t listen well enough. I am an idiot, I admit it.

    H2P!

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  15. OT: Some surprising names on the ALL ACC teams of the week IMO. On offense Pitt’s Morrissey and Houy and on defense Mathis. Special teams player of the week Ffrench. There have been many POV posters knocking Morrissey the past year as our starting center. Maybe some ought to reconsider that train of thought. And the mention of Houy after week one may suggest that some of our OL recruits may actually turn out quite good after all.

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    1. Agree Reed, too early to evaluate this team. After the next two Saturdays we will have a good idea where they are at.

      Man, I hate the hype before games. I won’t read a newspaper until after the game. Super Bowl is the all time worst. The questions the reporters are asking people are just horrible, LOL.

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    2. As I do agree we should wait to see how they do against other Power 5 programs never the less to place 2 offensive lineman on the 1st week ALL ACC team certainly can’t be down played. After all didn’t many of the other ACC teams play teams from the smaller conferences? Last week on a radio interview show I heard Narduzzi talking about Houy and how impressed he was in what he saw in the preseason practices. Maybe in this case the hype was warranted.

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  16. Well at least they are beating players from other teams with similar non Power 5 offers. Can you at least say our guys are the best of the worst? Yeah!!! Baby steps.

    H2P!

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  17. There is no doubt that this past Saturday’s game was a do what your supposed to do game. The thing of note here is that PITT hasn’t done that nearly enough in the past.

    I just feel this new rule allowing freshman to play up to 4 games a season adds a big twist in college coaching. Anyone have the list of the freshman that did play Saturday?

    Salahuddin is upset he was lied to. Hmmm? I’m sure his playing time was talked about but contingent upon the fact he could learn the plays. Maybe Narduzzi is afraid he may do something like this. >>>>>>>>>>

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  18. Ike..as mentioned the word “entitled” in my comment on the RB kid in a recent thread…..nobody owes him anything-he has to earn it.

    Little story..when I moved south 44 yrs ago the group of people in our circle of friends were blessed by parents who gave them a job or a house or land to build a house or even a car or truck…I told my Dad (BigSherm) about this..he looked me straight in the eye and said ” I gave you a shotgun, deer rifle and .22.You inherited your last name…now go to work for the rest of it.” End of story…Mr. Salahuddin needs to get to work.

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  19. Big Sherm with that last name. What a kraut……….. It’s ok I’m pretty much 100% one too. The lessons we were taught and the ones being doled out by the millennial’s today pale in comparison. Loved the story BigB

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  20. Thanks, Missing. I forgot that Truck was the name. Perhaps they will come up with a jumbo package for short yardage situations to pick up a yard or two. To avoid situations like when they crapped the bed last year. If so, Truck may see the field. As for Salahuddin, complaining in social media about lack of playing time is not a good start to a career. Hopefully, someone will speak to this young man about persistence, patience and the value of hard work and earning playing time.

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