We have heard time and time again that in order to get better you must battle to get there. It seems that it will hold true throughout fall camp as Sam Pittman and Kendal Briles try to find a balance and depth at the tight end position.
The Razorbacks lost former tight end, Cheyenne O’Grady to graduation and several others to transfer. It was very well known how Morris and his staff did not utilize the tight end position as well as they should have either and it shows with the lack of depth there, too. Hudson Henry, a former four-star and top player at this position is the only returning scholarship player to his position. Former walk-on Blake Kern is there as well competing in the rotation. Last season, Kern received playing time during the loss against Western Kentucky where nine of his ten reps were in run blocking situations.
Incoming freshmen Blayne Toll, who committed to the Razorbacks as a defensive end. He quickly jumped to the offensive side of the football as he moved onto campus where the staff moved him to tight end. Toll would continue to take reps there until a month ago when he seemed to move back to defensive end for good. Again, he would transition back to tight end where he has been climbing the depth chart at the position according to Pittman.
“Blayne Toll is rising up the depth chart,” said Pittman.
Toll is another former four star signee and could possibly see playing time this fall. The former Hazen Hornet has been very flexible and open to anything at the beginning of his Razorback career. Toll is a complete team player and that will be good for a team needing leaders moving forward.
The tight end position has been one of those widely talked about among fans and media that it needs help. Eric Thomas and Collin Sutherland are also two other true freshman who have seen reps at the position during practice.
“We have a pretty good battle there,” said Pittman. “I don’t want to get that misinterpreted that we don’t have any players. we have two or three good players. Because we have a battle.”
Eyes will be on redshirt freshman tight end, Hudson Henry this fall. The brother of former Mackey Award winner and Razorback tight end great Hunter, the younger Henry has more of a possession receiver feel to him. Henry had a prolific career as a Pulaski Academy Bruin and will look to cut out a start to his career as a Hog. In the previous scrimmage he caught a pair of touchdowns but this week the offense took a step back although he did contribute some.
“Henry caught a couple of passes today.”
In the past, Pittman had his tight ends contribute to blocking as much as they caught passes. That seems to be something that is missing right now at their position as he would go on to say in his interview.
“That group has to have a little more physicality to them and they know it,” said Pittman.
It seems that all offseason anytime Pittman has asked a certain player or group to step up that they would go on to doing so the next week. With that being said be on watch this week for the tight ends to be making moves and solidifying the position ahead of the season starting in just under three weeks.