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Colorado Buffaloes Pre-Signing Day Roster Breakdowns: Tight End

This is a position where depth is a serious problem. And it's one that we depend on quite a bit for our offense to work. There's a reason that Nick Kasa saw playing time in 2011 soon after making the switch from defensive end.

Tight End:

  • Nick Kasa, Sr - It's funny that the reason we were able to steal him away from Florida is because they wanted him at tight end and he wanted to play defense, which we were willing to let him do. He never made an impact on defense, so now he's back to tight end, and he was able to see immediate playing time. He will see more of it in 2012, especially because I believe Alex Lewis will be staring at LT. He proved to be a good blocker, even with minimum practice time, so I believe he will improve by leaps and bounds this offseason. He's got great size, and he has better hands than Lewis does, so he may be able to fill that role even better than Lewis did. Lewis played more than 100 snaps at TE in 2011, and I believe that Kasa could end up playing closer to 200. He is already the best blocker we have there, and he showed solid hands with his reception against Utah. We would love to be playing multiple TE sets, and he should become a staple of them in his final season in Boulder.
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  • Scott Fernandez, Jr - Walk on. He converted to tight end before last season. He didn't see the field a ton this year, but he has played some fullback as well, so he may work his way back into the rotation this spring. Has good size.
  • Alex Wood, Jr - Another walk on. He caught one pass this year, and has the bulk you're looking for at TE (255 lbs), though he's a little short. He did get some snaps at fullback, and with the losses at that position, he may find himself practicing there in the spring (though TE isn't terribly deep either). He isn't perfectly suited to be the in-line guy directly off tackle, but he can be that second blocker in a two-TE set. Though he may find himself lining up in the backfield in 2012.
  • Cordary Allen, So - Allen was moved to tight end just before the fall, but we'll see where he lines up this spring. I could see the coaches moving him to fullback, depending on how his blocking has developed, but he seems kind of like a guy without a position. I don't think he's well suited to being a tight end. Besides his ability to catch the ball, he doesn't seem to offer much upside there. He's simply too short to contribute there effectively. I'm listing him here, but keep an eye out for where he lines up in the near future.
  • Kyle Slavin, So - He saw the field more than I thought he would in 2011. He's still getting bigger, but he's a solid blocker. He wasn't asked to run many routes, so it'll be interesting to watch him in the spring. He looks like he'll be our fastest and most agile tight end, and would be a pretty good bet to be the leading receiver at the TE position in 2012 (unless a freshman should come in ready to play)

I already gave my bold prediction, which is Kasa playing a bunch at tight end in 2012. We need at least 3 tight ends in this class, and we will be counting on at least one of them to be able to play right away. Our offense really needs three capable tight ends that can log a bunch of snaps. One of them needs to be a very physical blocker (our offense was at its most effective when Alex Lewis was on the field in this role), and it looks like Kasa can fill that role, and then we need two that can contribute in both the running and passing games. And if we're unable to find a capable fullback from day one, we'll need even more from the tight ends.