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#10Strong Spring Preview | Tight Ends

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Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

One of the many weaknesses on the Rutgers offense in 2015 was the tight end play. That being said, every player from that unit returns this year. Nick Arcidiacono was the starter mainly due to his ability to block. However, Matt Flanagan was on fire early with multiple touchdowns and Charles Scarff emerged as a top pass-catcher late in the season.

Despite all the returning experience, Nakia Griffin-Stewart may be suited best for this offense. He is a 6-6 240 pound athlete who also played basketball in high school. Many, including myself, expected him to play this year due to lack of depth, However, he never saw the field and took a redshirt. This offense suits him well and he can make an impact as a RS-Freshman.

The Players

Sr Nick Arcidiacono

RS-So George Behr

RS-Jr Matt "Mr. Flantastic" Flanagan

RS-Fr Anthony Folkerts

RS-Fr Nakia Griffin-Stewart

Jr Charles Scarff

There are three names that stand out to me here and they are Matt Flanagan, Nakia Griffin-Stewart, and Charles Scarff. These three are the most suited to play in the spread offense. Although Arcidiacono spent all of 2015 atop the depth chart, he is blocking TE and his skill set doesn't fit well with the new offense. Flanagan and Scarff both have very reliable hands and are proven pass-catchers.

One must emerge...

With a new offense comes the removal of multiple TE sets. Sure there may be situations where two TEs take the field, but the starter will be the true starter. There is usually just one TE in this offense and if they need a sub, the number two comes in. There won't be even production split between three guys. I see Griffin-Stewart and Flanagan emerging as the top two and keeping those roles. Arcidiacono's role on the team will likely diminish while Scarff can still fight for playing time, as he is experienced and can play at the same level as any tight end on the roster. That being said, there is really only room for one guy in this group to represent this position group.

...Preferably a young guy

Tight end was a swing and a miss in the 2016 class. That is all I'm going to say. You guys know the rest. I'm gonna have to call out Nakia Griffin-Stewart here, as he really needs to take the next step. He is the only tight end on the roster with the athleticism to be elite in this offense and there is no one coming behind him in case it doesn't work out. Tight end is a position where true freshman don't really play, so someone is going to have to take the reigns for the next 2-3 years. Maybe the other tight ends are better than I thought? Maybe a wide receiver gets moved around? The bottom line is a young player on this roster has to step up and become "The Man" at tight end.

Consistency

As I mentioned above, there were three guys that contributed last year. That's concerning to me in a sense that it wasn't evenly split up production. It was Flanagan's show in the beginning of the season, Scarff's show towards the end, and a little bit of Arcidiacono sprinkled in the middle. Flanagan went ghost at the end of the season and Scarff was unknown at the beginning. Whoever is the starter this year needs to be the starter the whole year--and I don't just mean on the depth chart. They need to play to their full potential every week and make an impact every week. Tight ends represent the greatest opportunity for matchup problems in football and it's about time we had one at Rutgers.

Position Prediction

  1. RS-Fr Nakia Griffin-Stewart
  2. RS-Jr Matt "Mr. Flantastic" Flanagan
  3. Jr Charles Scarff
  4. Sr Nick Arcidiacono
  5. RS-So George Behr
  6. RS-Fr Anthony Folkerts

Tomorrow: #10Strong Spring Preview | Offensive Line