Moving on to our tight ends preview, a new face should emerge this coming season. Gone are the days of Hunter Long, and now we can see whether the system can help raise another to his high level of play.
Trae Barry, a transfer from Jacksonville State, figures to take the main spot here. Barry is an FCS All-American who’s a legitimate NFL draft pick. He had a number of top programs after his services, but seeing what a top tier tight end can do with the Eagles definitely presented a good selling point. Barry has fantastic size and is a great athlete. I’d expect him to assume and succeed in a similar role to Hunter along.
Behind Barry we should see a similar if not higher dose of Spencer Witter. Witter is the only Eagles tight end who had meaningful game action. He went 6 for 68 yards in a tight end two, mostly blocking role. Witter showed some admirable qualities throughout the season. Joey Luchetti figures to be more in the mix this time around too. His last season was marred by injury, but the Massachusetts redshirt junior expects to return and play an active role when he’s fully healthy. Brendan Smith hasn’t seen much action having been on the Heights for a number of years, but did feature a bit more in the spring a game with fewer folks in the mix.
Behind these few, Steve Shimko’s room has a number of newer faces. The remaining crop are all redshirt freshman, which bodes well for their future prospects, but we shouldn’t expect them to figure into the equation all that much. Charlie Gordinier and Hans Lillie might figure to be the top of the group. The New Jersey and Pennsylvania natives, respectively, both came in as three star prospects and likely will get in the mix this year to assume the mantle in the following season. Gordinier in particular featured well in BC’s spring game hauling in four catches for 56 yards. Tommy Degnan and Tommy Birmingham round out the group. Degnan redshirted at Miami last year and Birmingham came in as a preferred walk-on.
What seemed to be at first a very shallow group, shaped up a little better with Barry’s arrival. OC Frank Cignetti still believes the offensive system will feature a tight end, and that was before Barry joining the mix. While we shouldn’t expect to see Long-like production immediately, #TheRoom can still have a solid impact on the BC offense.