The moniker “Tight End U” still belongs to the University of Miami. There is something about players that come from the Coral Gables campus that intrigues NFL scouts. Just as recent as this season Erik Swoope, a former basketball player at the university, got his opportunity with the Indianapolis Colts. That’s on top of the elite tight ends that have continued the excellence at the position such as Greg Olsen and Jimmy Graham. Miami found another stud that, in just two seasons, was third on the depth chart at the position.
2016 Miami Hurricanes Tight Ends Review
Coming off a redshirt freshmen season where Njoku flashed the potential to be the next great tight end to come out of Miami, he more than lived up to his expectations. The season before, he led the team in yards per catch average despite just starting four games. He followed that up by gaining All-ACC honors and scoring eight touchdowns off 43 receptions. Njoku dominated opponents in multiple facets, he used his background as a record-breaking high jumper on fade patterns in the red zone. Coaches used his speed and size to flex him out wide as well as even throwing bubble screens to him and daring a defense to try to tackle him one-on-one. In the bowl game against West Virginia, the head coach was quoted as calling Njoku as “the biggest and baddest dude we’ve faced all year”. There was good reason behind that as Njoku went on to catch five passes for 44 yards and a touchdown to put the game away. Right after the game he would reveal that he would forgo his remaining eligibility in order to go pro, he is currently projected to be drafted in the first round.
Herndon is next in line when it comes to becoming a great tight end at Miami. He was able to have a role with the offense for the last two seasons having caught near 50 passes in the last two seasons as the backup tight end. His skill set is different than Njoku; he has the ability to block out of the backfield or in-line. That is on top of having good receiving ability and being tough to tackle with his size. This past season he was fourth on the team in receiving yards despite being the second tight end, with Njoku he is the incumbent main target from the tight end position.
Two seasons ago, it was Dobard that looked as if he would take the reigns at the tight end position after Clive Walford graduated and was drafted by the Oakland Raiders. He was always in the rotation until this past season with the emergence of Njoku as the main tight end. Ultimately, inconsistency would plague Dobard as he would be stuck as the third option. That wouldn’t hinder him from contributing to the team, as he would switch positions late in the season after the defensive line suffered injuries. His play would inspire many of his teammates and his coaches praised him for his unselfishness.
As a redshirt freshmen, the son of the Hall of Famer wide receiver, Irvin was not able to receive much playing time. Instead he found his self on multiple special teams units and contributed through that fashion. He was suspended for the bowl game against West Virginia for violating team rules but has been praised in spring football for showing strides. Looks to be in contention for a role in the offense next season as the Hurricanes feature multiple tight ends.
In a tight end room that featured Njoku, many around the program see Haskins as a tight end that could rival him in terms of talent. Haskins is still a project having played quarterback through high school and redshirted he looks to be in contention for the other tight end position. Maturity issues has been one of the knocks on Haskins as he too was also suspended for the bowl game but has also shown strides in spring football.
The tight end position just seems to be another that Miami continues to churn out and with Njoku departing after just two seasons of play, it can be expected that the tradition will continue. Herndon will be one of the best tight ends in the ACC next season, but in order for Miami to be as dynamic as they hope to be, one of the younger tight ends will need to step up. If that can not happen, Miami will either have to use one tight end or turn to true freshman Brian Polendey, who decided to enroll early from high school and will participate in spring football.