football

Spotlight: Tight Ends

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MichaelGottliebClickThelastfewseasons,tonoprevail,muchemphasishasbeenplacedongettingthetightendsmoreinvolvedintheoffense.Yetagainlastseason,noplayeremergedtotakecontrolofthepositionandathree-headedmonsterwasformed.GraduatedRobertLewis,currentdefensivetackleJohnieKirton,andthisseason'sprojectedstarterMichaelGottliebonlycombinedfor20receptions,225yardsandnotouchdowns.Somehow,withacompletelackofproductivityfromthetightendposition,theHuskyoffenseaveraged29pointspergame.However,withthewidereceiversandrunningbacksbeingsoinexperienced,thetightendsmustbemoreproductivein2008.HeretoviewthisLink.
MercerIsland,WA(MercerIslandHS)
6-foot-5,245-pound,RedshirtSenior
2007STATS:12receptions,136yards
BIO:
MichaelGottliebisaformerclassof2004walk-onthathasnowemergedasthenumberonetightendonthisyoungoffense.Gottliebplayedineverygameforthehuskieslastseason,aspartofathree-headedmonster,noneofwhichcouldemergeastheleadingtarget.Hestartedsixgamesandamassedthehighestcatchtotalfortightendswith12.Infact,he'stheleadingreceiverontheentireroster,doublingthatofthenextbestD'AndreGoodwin'ssixreceptions.AsasophomoreGottliebplayedin10of12games,onlymissingtheOklahomaandFresnoStategamesduetoinjury.Hehad4receptionsfor78yardsthatseason,butshowedthecoachesenoughtoentrustmoreresponsibilitytohimasajunior.InhighschoolGottliebwasastandoutontheothersideoftheballwherehecollected262tackles,174ofthosesoloforhiscareer.AsaseniorheledtheKingCo'stightendsinreceptionsandshowedpromiseatbothpositionsheadingintocollege.
PROJECTION:
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WaltWinterClickGottliebwillbecalledupontoleadthisyounggroupandheshouldbeuptothetask.Firstyeartightend'scoachBrianWhiteisgushingwithenthusiasmoverhisyoungplaymakers,butadmitsthatit'sGottliebthathasthebestcombinationsofskillsatthispoint.He'snotthebestblockerorbestpasscatcher,buthe'swithoutadoubtthemostconsistentplayeratthepositionandthebestatbothskillscombined.Heshouldstartfromdayoneandconsistentlybetheirfirstdowntightend.Hewon'tbetheeverydownguy,buthispositionasleaderofthegrouphasbeencemented.HeretoviewthisLink.
Bothell,WA(JuanitaHS)
6-foot-5,250-pound,RedshirtSenior
2007STATS:NA
BIO:
WaltWinterbeganhisHuskycareerasadefensivelinemanandafterredshirtinghisfreshmanseasonsawactioninsevengamesasasophomore,collectingfivetackles,threeinagameagainstOregon.Hebeganhisjunioryearagainatthedefensiveline,butinjuriestothetightendsforcedhismove.Wintersawactionin12of13gameslastseasonattightend,butinalimitedrole.Hedidn'trecordanyreceptionsandwasmoreofafactoronspecialteams.
PROJECTION:
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ChrisIzbickiClickWinter'simpactonwillbefeltmoreinpracticesthanonthefield.Hewillseeconsiderableamountsofaction,butdon'tlookforhimtobeafeaturedweapon.Withthatsaid,heisonlyoneoftwoseniorsavailabletoJakeLockerinthepassinggame,sohisrolecouldexpandifheimpressesearly.Thetightendsappeartobegettingconsiderablelooksintheoffensethusfar,andWinterhashadacoupleofverynicecatches.Evenifhisroledoesn'tlookgoodonthestatlines,hisimpactontheyoungerplayersandonspecialteamsshouldbegreat.HeretoviewthisLink.
Kirkland,WA(LakeWashingtonHS)
6-foot-3,230-pound,RedshirtFreshman
2006HIGHSCHOOLSTATS:24receptions,299yards,70tackles,3sacks
BIO:
ChrisIzbickiwastheRivals.comclassof2007highestratedplayerintheEvergreenState.Hewasconsideredthe13thbesttightendinthenationandhecametocampuswithatonofpromise,despitemissingmuchofhisseniorseasonofhighschoolwithaninjury.Heimpressedearlyinfallpracticesasafreshman,butwithafullsquadofupperclassmentightendsaheadofhim,hewasredshirted.Inhighschoolhewasasecondteamall-leagueselectionattightendasasenior,afirstteamselectionasajunior,andaSeattletimesAll-Stateselectionbothseasons.IzbickiwasselectedtoplayintheOffense-DefenseAll-AmericanBowlinFortLauderdaleandheldoffersfrommostofthePac-10schools.
PROJECTION:
IzbickiisthebestblockingtightendontherosterandcoachWhiteacknowledgessuch.Thatshouldgethimsituationalplayingtimeashelookstosecureamorepermanentroleintheoffense.Coacheswouldlovetonothaveatightendbycomity,soifhecanliveuptotheyhype,hisrolecouldincreasegreatlybytheendoftheseason.Hehasprogressedwellwithhisunderstandingoftheblockingschemesandthatcombinedwithhisblockingabilitymakehimaninstantassetalongtheline.
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Kavario MiddletonClickHere to view this Link.
Lakewood, WA (Lakes HS)
6-foot-5, 255-pound, True Freshman
2007 HIGH SCHOOL STATS:45 receptions, 503 yards,8 touchdowns, 115 tackles, 10 sacks
BIO:
Kavario Middleton was rated the nation's second best tight end by Rivals.com coming out of Lakes High School.He caught 34 passes for 412 yards and six touchdowns as a junior and upped those totals to 45 receptions for 503 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior.Middleton's numbers would have been more impressive if it wasn't for the fact he was used as a decoy more so than not. Even at 255 pounds, Middleton is thin and once he adds some solid weight and muscle, watch out!Middleton, the state's top recruit was just as lethal as a defensive end in high school, if not more so. As a senior, Middleton registered 115 tackles (15 for loss) and 10 sacks. For his efforts, Middleton was selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl as a defensive end and was named to the Washingtonpreps.com All-State First-Team on both sides of the ball.
PROJECTION:
Middleton is currently in the mix and his playing time will mainly depend on the mental aspects of the game.Tight end is one of the most mentally demanding positions on the field, having to learn all of the blocking and passing schemes.However, don't be surprised to see Middleton used early if the other tight ends can't secure the spot.Another thing that could hold him back is pure strength.He's still a lean 255 pounds and may not have the Pac-10 muscle needed to compete every down.However, if you ask him, strength hasn't been a problem thus far.He claims to be as strong as the guys he's going up against, but that could all change once the pads go on.Either way Middleton is a tremendous talent that will be catching passes at Montlake for years to come.The only question is how soon will he catch his first?
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Romeo SavantClick Here to view this Link.
Cathlamet, WA (Wahkiakum HS)
6-foot-5, 250-pound, Redshirt Freshman
STATS: NA
BIO:
Savant is a walk on redshirt freshman who made a name for himself on the service team last season. Savant is big bodied and moves very well for his size. Coach White believes he has a legitimate chance of earning a scholarship down the road but will need time to adjust to Pac-10 football after coming from a Class B high school program. He was a standout in high school, at both football and track, where he won the Class B state championship in the discus and took third in the javelin.
PROJECTION:
Savant will provide depth at special teams but won't see the field much as a tight end yet. However, currently listed as the fifth tight end, he's only an injury or two from seeing the field.
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