The Hurricanes went into spring football with five scholarship tight ends this year. All five played a role in the position becoming much stronger than it was a year ago.
Clive Walford is the returning starter at the position. The talented junior turned in a very good season in 2012. However, he sat out the spring game with an injury and continues to get listed as a backup on most offseason depth charts. That's always been the case with him but when it comes time to produce on Saturdays, he usually comes through. This year seems to be going no differently.
With Walford out, Asante Cleveland benefited with the extra reps with the first unit. Cleveland has always been a strong offseason performer. He was the team's starting tight end this time last year, too. He then made very little impact on the field during the 2012 season. With Al Golden calling him one of the team's most improved players this spring, perhaps that will change. Time will tell but the senior has the starting job heading into the summer.
The Hurricanes had three newcomers to the position this spring -- Junior College transfer Beau Sandland, converted defensive end Jake O'Donnell, and incoming freshman Standish Dobard. Sandland, listed on the third team in the latest depth chart, is the only one of the three who caught a pass (three for 30) in the spring game but the others had their moments. Golden singled O'Donnell out as a player who can catch the ball better than they'd expected him to. Sandland has lots of talent but still needs to continue learning and adding size and strength to become more of an every down tight end.