The Big 12 lost a number of experienced tight ends after the
2011 season, but an influx of young talent will have the opportunity to show of
their skills in 2012.
1. Texas- The
Longhorns lose an experienced but injury riddled tight end in Blaine Irby in
2012, but senior tight end D.J. Grant caught 16 passes for 180 yards and three
touchdowns in 2011. Redshirt
freshman tight end M.J. McFarland was highly recruited out of high school and
has the size and talent to become a productive tight end in the near future,
but did not get any playing time last year. The Longhorns will need a productive
tight end next year to jumpstart their struggling
2. Baylor- Junior tight end Jordan Najvar caught 15 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns in
will be Baylors go to tight end in 2012 and
quarterback Nick Florence will have a 6-foot-6, 260 pound
target in Najvar next year. The Bears also have a senior tight end
in Jerod Monk who caught nine passes for 100 yards
and two touchdowns last year.
3. Kansas State- Junior tight end Andre McDonald caught nine passes for 136
yards and one touchdown in 2011.
McDonald should have a great opportunity to increase his yardage in 2012
as quarterback Collin Klein returns and will continue to extend plays with his
legs and use a short passing game at times. The Wildcats also have senior tight end
Travis Tannahill who caught 10 passes for 104 yards
and one touchdown. This duo could
prove to be very important to the offensive success for the Wildcats in 2012.
4. Iowa State- Senior tight end Kurt Hammerschmidt caught 13 passes for 126 yards but did not
score in 2011. Hammerschmidt
will be counted on as a big part of the Cyclones
offense in 2012 both as a blocking and receiving tight end. The Cyclones lost senior tight end Reid Branderhorst which could hurt
their offensive rhythm, but Hammerschmidt should be
able to make up for the lost starter.
5. Oklahoma State- Senior
tight end Justing Horton caught just four passes but
reeled in 101 yards for an average of 25.3 yards per catch. Horton should see a lot more action next
year as the Cowboys break in a new quarterback and will be in need of a
reliable receiving option. The Cowboys
also have junior college tight end Blake Jackson (Scottsdale, AZ) and incoming
freshman tight end Zac Veatch (Broken Arrow, OK),
both of which could battle for playing time.
6. Kansas- As the
Jayhawks enter their first year under head coach Charlie Weis, the tight end
position should become more important both as an extension of the offensive
line and as a receiving threat.
Sophomore tight end Jimmay Mundine
caught seven passes for 86 yards and one touchdown last year. Mundine will
probably see a spike in his numbers in a more pass happy offense in 2012. The Jayhawks do lose tight end Tim Biere to the NFL draft, but the presence of Mundine should be enough for Weis’ offense.
7. Texas Tech- The Red Raiders lost tight
end/receiver Adam James to graduation in 2012 and will need to find a
replacement immediately. Sophomore
tight end Jace Amaro caught
seven passes for 57 yards and two touchdowns. Amaro, a
highly ranked tight end out of San Antonio, TX has the ability to be a big time
tight end in 2012 and will need more touches to improve his numbers.
8. Oklahoma- There is not doubt that the
loss of tight ends James Hanna and Trent Ratterree
will hurt the Sooners next year, but Oklahoma still have young talent to put on
the field. Junior tight end Austin Haywood caught six passes for 42 yards in 2011. Haywood will need to be the Sooners go
to tight end next year and should be a big target for quarterback Landry Jones
in 2012. The Sooners brought in
four tight ends in their 2012 recruiting class including Laith
Harlow (Tallahassee, FL), Brannon Green (Fort Scott, KS), Sam Grant (North
Royalton, OH) and Taylor McNamara (San Diego, CA). Oklahoma hopes to get production out of
at least one of these recruits next year.
9. Texas Christian-
The Horned Frogs lost tight end Logan Brock to the NFL draft and will be
missing a big part of their offense in 2012 as a result. Senior tight end Corey Fuller will
replace Brock next year. Fuller had
two receptions for 35 yards in 2011 and will be the Horned Frogs starting tight
end in 2012. TCU also has incoming
freshman tight end Griffin Gilbert that could see playing time if necessary.
10. West Virginia- The
Mountaineers are the only Big 12 team that has no scholarship tight end that
has experience. Redshirt freshman
Cody Clay sat out last year and is familiar with the program, but has no
playing time. Clay will probably be
looked at as West Virginia’s tight end option in 2012. Along with Clay, the Mountaineers have
incoming freshman tight end Will Johnson (Osseo, MN) that could challenge for