Breaking Down Utah Football’s 2023 Position Groups: Tight Ends
Jul 18, 2023, 9:25 AM | Updated: 10:07 am
SALT LAKE CITY –Fall camp is under a month away for Utah football and to refresh our minds, we’ll be breaking down each of the Utes’ 2023 position groups.
Every week till “Camp Kyle” kicks off, look for one offensive and one defensive position group per week. Today’s group has been a strength for the Utah offense due to the creativity surrounding their use the past two or so years. Of course, we are talking about the tight ends.
Led by position coach Fred Whittingham and perfectly orchestrated in the offense by coordinator Andy Ludwig, this group has been a matchup issue for just about everyone Utah has played the past few seasons. Utah boasts a myriad of talent in this group that comes in all shapes, sizes, and skill sets which has allowed the Utes to play two and three tight end sets like nobody’s business.
Whoa Nelly! https://t.co/j3tTq8wlrz
— Fred Whittingham Jr. (@FWhittinghamJr) January 9, 2023
Taking A Look At The Utah Tight Ends.
2023 will look a little different for TNT with Dalton Kincaid being picked up in the first round of this year’s Draft by the Buffalo Bills, but there is still talent to spare. It’s just maybe a little more unknown at this point.
The good news is that the Utes will have to go on without Kincaid, they do return a key piece of their offense in Brant Kuithe. Kuithe is a bit of an interesting case having been dubbed a “tweener”. He is a little small for a tight end and a little big for a wide receiver making hard for defenses to decide who gets the job of covering him.
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Kuithe will be coming off of a season-ending injury from the previous season, and so it will be interesting to see how quickly he bounces back. If he finds his groove quickly, and some of the other returning talent takes off, the tight ends could once again be a strength for the Utes in 2023.
A Closer Look At The Tight End Returners
*Bolded names indicate significant experience.
- Noah Bennee, Sophomore, saw no action in 2022.
- Cody Christensen, Redshirt Freshman, saw no action in 2022.
- Hayden Erickson, Sophomore, played in four games in 2022.
- Brant Kuithe, Redshirt Senior, 51 career games, 26 starts, three-time All-Pac-12 tight end, earning second-team in 2019, 2020 and 2021, played in four games before suffering a season-ending injury, recorded 17 receptions for 204 yards (3 TDs).
- Miki Suguturaga, Junior, 14 games played with nine starts at defensive end in 2022. Converted to tight end in the spring.
- Thomas Yassmin, Senior, played in 13 games with six starts, recording 13 catches for 301 yards and six touchdowns in 2022.
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Who Are The New Tight Ends For Utah?
- C.J. Jacobson, Freshman, three-star from Meridian, Idaho.
- Dallen Bentley, four-star Snow College transfer.
- Landen King, three-star Auburn transfer.
Some Words From Fred Whittingham About The Utah Tight Ends.
It can be tough to replace a talent like Kincaid, but it was clear that at the end of spring, Whittingham felt good about where his group was at and that was before they had Bentley and King transferring in. Fall will be an important time for this group getting the new guys and Kuithe worked back into the mix.
Losing first-rounder Dalton Kincaid, who accepted @seniorbowl invite last November before suffering a back injury that kept him out of all pre-draft work, would be massive blow for most offenses but @Utah_Football TE room is uniquely positioned with two more draftable prospects.… pic.twitter.com/PETB7nhQyT
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) May 25, 2023
“The big thing is the change from Miki Suguturaga moving from d-end to tight end. I’ve seen a lot of growth and development from him. He’s still got a long way to go, but I do believe he will be an important factor for us in this group in the fall for this season. Thomas Yassmin had a really good spring; we developed his game. One thing we see in him is that as a run blocker he’s continued to improve, and he’s made big strides in that area. We saw glimpses of what he can do and I think he averaged a touchdown every two receptions that he had last year, and he can do some things with the ball in his hands. He’s so hard to tackle. Then we’ve built some really good depth. Noah Bennee and Hayden Erickson had really good springs and I think they will help provide depth for the position.”
Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports
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