Unfortunately, tight ends are seldomly utilized at the college level. Furthermore, the Longhorns have not had a real threat at the position since the 2007 season, when Jermichael Finley was still on the 40 acres. Of course, Finley would later end up having a decent NFL career with the Packers.
Despite this, in 2019, the Longhorns seemed to have made strives at the position. However, there is still a lot of room for improvement. Following our position previews of running backs and wide receivers, we now will focus on tight ends.
2020 Tight End Options:
Cade Brewer (Senior)
2019 Stats: 11 receptions, 159 yards and 1 TD.
Yes, the stats aren’t pretty. However, Brewer was also sidelined for a couple of weeks after injuring his ankle against TCU. Against Kansas, Brewer proved to Longhorns fans that production from the position was a possibility as he finished the game with 71 receiving yards. Despite the lack of eye-popping numbers, Brewer totaled 1,664 receiving yards and 29 touchdowns in his final two seasons of high school football. Thus, it is not unfathomable to expect an uptick in production with the arrival of new offensive coordinator, Mike Yurcich. Heading into the 2020 season, expect the former Lake Travis star to, once again, be Tom Herman’s pick to win the position.
Malcolm Epps (Sophomore)
2019 Stats: 20 receptions, 232 yards and 2 TDs.
Prior to the upcoming season, Epps has moved to the tight end position. Last season, Epps was featured as a wide receiver and had great production as a freshman. Heading into the 2020 season, Epps figures to be a nightmare for opponents, especially if the 6’6″ athlete is matched up against a linebacker. Epps’s move to tight end will give the Longhorns more flexibility, allowing Mike Yurcich to stack the field with playmakers.
Jared Wiley (Sophomore)
2019 Stats: 1 reception for 15 yards.
In 2019, Wiley appeared in 12 games for the Longhorns, while starting in two of them. After getting his feet wet, Wiley will seek an increased role on the team in 2020. However, Malcom Epps’s move to tight end could make playing time a difficult commodity to come by for Wiley. Similar to Epps, Wiley is also trying to gain more experience at the position as he played quarterback in high school.
Brayden Liebrock (Redshirt Freshman)
2019 Stats: Redshirted
Although he redshirted last season, Brayden’s athleticism stands out on film. In addition, a year to develop under Longhorns strength and conditioning coach, Yancy McKnight, will prove to be very beneficial. One thing is certain, Liebrock will have to battle his way into the rotation. Tom Herman’s interest in recruiting the state of Arizona has paid off as Brayden is one of three active players on Texas’s roster from Arizona. Jake Smith and Bijan Robinson are the other two current Longhorns from Arizona.
The Longhorns have made a concerted effort to recruit great tight ends and it’s about to pay off. With a fall 2020 season being more doubtful with every passing day, this position group might have to wait until the spring to prove their talent. However, do not expect anything crazy. If one of these tight ends caught for more than 500 yards in the season, Longhorns fans should be excited. In addition, there is a plethora of options to throw to, even at the position alone. As a result, it is possible that all of these athletes will be able to make an impact on the field during the next season.
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