Looking at the roster: Tight End

Tight ends will play a much bigger role this season.

I continue breaking down the Bulls 2010 roster, this time I look at the tight end position. Tight ends were hardly used during the Leavitt era, usually only to help block or spread the field out to help run Grothe around. But Holtz and staff want to use the tight ends in the passing game, using them in space and creating more weapons for Daniels to throw to. Look for the tight ends to play a much larger role this season.

First on the depth chart is Jeff Hawkins, the 6’4″ 251 sophomore. Hawkins has been injury free during spring and has been working hard in the weight room, impressing the coaches enough that they list him as the starter for the first game. Hawkins has played in one career game so far, but coaches believe he will contribute right away. He should have a big season for the Bulls this season for the Bulls.

Second on the depth chart is Andrew Ketchel, the 6’5″ 245 lb. senior. Ketchel has 2 catches for 42 yards, but has played in 27 games and started 3 in his career at USF, providing experience to the group. Ketchel will have to be the vocal leader and the leader on the field to help guide an inexperienced group of tight ends. He will see plenty of playing time this year and should have career numbers.

Tied with Ketchel as the second tight end on the depth chart is sophomore Andreas Shields. At 6’6″ and 230 lbs., Shields has played in 7 games and plays with a high motor. Shields is a developing player, but has incredible pass catching ability and is beginning to learn the new system quickly. He will see plenty of playing time this year and will make a big impact.

Next is Chase Boswell. Boswell comes in at 6’1″ and 216 lbs. he walked-on to the team after playing his high school days at nearby Wharton High School. He will see spot duty this year and special teams, he is continuing to learn and provides depth.

Finally is Isaac Virgin. Now he is listed at full back as well, but because of his great pass catching and athletic ability, he is still listed as a tight end, meaning the coaches can put him anywhere on the field and create mismatches for opposing defenses. He is a tremendous athlete that can even throw a deep ball if needed. It should be interesting to see where he lines up on the ball this season, wherever he does, he is sure to terrorize defenses.