Here we continue our 2012 position previews. I aim to be occasionally right, barring that I’ll shoot for humor. For your enjoyment, I present the Quarterbacks, Running Backs, Fullbacks.
Starters: Dion Sims, Denzel Drone, Andrew Gleichert
Departures: Garrett Celek, Brian Linthicum
In 2011, MSU had a pretty solid rotation of tight ends with Linthicum, Celek and Sims. Linthicum was the point guy for all of Dan Roushar’s Linehanian Tight End devilry. Celek and Sims took turns being hurt and catching passes. The Tight End group combined for 498 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2011.
In 2012, Linthicum and Celek depart and are replaced by…
Guys, we did remember to recruit some Tight Ends after Linthicum and Celek, right? Surely, we did not recruit for the last five years and only bring in Dion Sims? Right? Guys? No? I mean surely you’re not telling me we intend to run an offense that relies on two tight end sets to disguise intent right up until the snap with Dion Sims and a bunch of tight end n00bs right?
It’s not fair to say that MSU has an Angry Tight End Hating God a la AIRBHG,but their luck since Dantonio has come to town has been poor. MSU didn’t take a Tight End in 2008 or 2010. In 2009 they took Sims who hasn’t been a consistent presence on the field, but has been a breathtaking mismatch when healthy. They also took Derek Hoebing in 2009 who currently sits fourth on the depth chart. In 2011, MSU brought in Paul Lang who suffered a pretty severe back injury and according to the message boards(WHICH ARE NEVER WRONG) his career might be over.
But I thought you sarcastically implied(in italics no less) the coaches recruited adequately for the type of offense they like to run?
I uh… thought they did. Not taking a Tight End in 2008 or 2010 and then having Hoebing not really pan out makes three years where MSU’s Tight End recruiting has one very talented Tight End to show for it’s efforts. True freshmen Evan Jones and Josiah Price look pretty promising, but are true frosh. As such they might be good in 2012, but it’s not fair to expect that of them.
Dion Sims has had an up and down career with MSU. Sims is a constant mismatch for defenses because he has linebacker speed but is 30-40 lbs heavier than your average B1G linebacker. In 2009 he caught 11 passes for 133 yards and 3 touchdowns and in 2011 he caught 12 passes for 99 yards and 3 touchdowns. In 2010, Sims redshirted after being convicted of laptop theft that occurred while he was still in high school. He’s had issues with injuries in both 2009 and 2011 which isn’t surprising. Humans are not meant to be 6’5, 285 lbs and move like Sims does. He’s poised for a big year if he can stay healthy. He’s been named to the preseason Mackey Award list and will see his catches go way up in 2012. Expect big things or injured things from Sims in 2012.
Denzel Drone moves over to the tight end position after a very productive year at DE/DT in 2011. Drone played flat out of his mind in the Georgia game when injuries dinged up the defensive tackle position. Drone starts the preseason as the number two tight end on the depth chart and if he can continue his development curve at tight end, watch out.
Gleichert will push for playing time in 2012 and had a couple catches in the Spring Game. He also lead the Tight Ends in catches after the most recent scrimmage. At 6’5” and 250, he figures to be more of a pass catching Tight End than a blocking Tight End. Given the walk-on status and the being a sophomore and all a decent season from him might position him nicely to have a Blair White trajectory at the Tight End position.
Well as previously stated, Sims is our occasionally injured juggernaut at the tight end position and then a giant fantastic ball of “I don’t rightly know”. This is the reason I skipped the Wide Receiver segment so far; there’s just lots of conjecture behind one or two guys. So if you’re bored and concerned about this, write out the names of the tight ends that aren’t Sims and pick one. Know secretly all season that if your pick isn’t on the field, he’d have done better because the cosmos willed that piece of paper into your hand.
The Other Guys
I really enjoyed this flick. It was one of those movies where I had low expectations and so they were met wildly and as a result I enjoyed it thoroughly. It’s very similar to MACtion football in that regard. Oh… the Tight Ends. Yes, sorry. If you are not one of the three guys listed above you’re going to need a stellar fall camp to see the field in 2012. So far no indication of that.
If you’re looking for a position to brag on MSU’s depth and talent this is not the one for you. Call up the defensive line, I hear they might be decent. If Dion Sims can stay healthy, he’ll be all Big Ten in 2012. Everyone else falls in various places on the spectrum of talented but unproven. Recruiting has improved at this position with the arrival of Evan Jones and Josiah Price for 2012 and Dylan Chmura for 2013. In the meantime, MSU sits tight and waits for those guys to carry on the finest Linehan traditions in 2014.