Spring Review: Tight Ends

Brad Wood

The good news is that the Wildcats return their top tight ends from a year ago. The bad news is the fact that there are still a ton of questions to answer about the group. Both Brad Wood and Ryan Kilpatrick missed time this spring with injuries and Brandyn McCall battled a serious back injury last season. Here is what we do know about the group after spring ball.

POST SPRING DEPTH CHART

1. Brad Wood, Sr.
2. Travis Bell, So.
3. Brandyn McCall, Sr.
4. Matt Richards, Sr.
5. Ryan Kilpatrick, Jr.

Spring Scrimmage Stats

Player Rec Yds
Richards 3 49
McCall 5 41
Bell 1 22

WHAT WE KNOW

*Bell was the favorite tight end target of Wildcat QB's.

*Wood missed all of spring rehabbing from a knee injury.

*McCall made some strides in spring ball in terms of pass catching.

*The Wildcats do not have a complete tight end on the roster. Bell and Wood are better pass catchers, while McCall and Kilpatrick are better blockers.

*Kilpatrick missed time during the spring with a foot injury .

*McCall and Matt Richards were the only tight ends with a catch in every scrimmage.

*All of the three freshmen tight ends will get a chance to earn immediate playing time.

WHAT WE DON'T KNOW:

*Just how will Wood respond to the injury? We know rehab is going well, but you never know with severe knee injuries.

*Can Travis Bell add enough bulk? He's done a nice job in the weight room, but still needs to get stronger in an effort to be a better blocker.

*How big of an impact can McCall make? A back injury cost him last year and it remains to be seen if he will every be an impact player.

WHAT WE THINK:

*Wood will be just fine. It was a nasty knee injury but all accounts have his rehab going great. Expect him to be a favorite target of Willie Tuitama.

*Freshman A.J. Simmons will be in the mix. He's already a big, strong kid and a terrific athlete.

*Fellow freshman Conan Amituanai will be a two-way player. He'll be a short yardage tight end, but will also make his presence felt on the defensive line.

*The Cats will use a variety of looks and line-ups depending on the offensive game plan. One game may feature a lot of passing and a lot of Bell and Wood, while a run heavy game plan may see a lot more of McCall and Kilpatrick.

*Don't forget about Richards. There were times during the spring when he was every bit the equal of McCall and Kilpatrick. In fact he led all UA tight ends in receiving yards in the three scrimmages.

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