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
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: