TE should be one of team's strengths in 2013

TE should be one of team's strengths in 2013

The Hurricanes are set to begin fall camp on Saturday. Lets take a closer look at the state of the team. This report focuses on the tight ends.

After being one of the elite producers of tight ends in college football for many years, the Hurricanes haven't gotten much production from the position in recent years. That started to change some last season, and that should continue this fall.

Clive Walford (Jr) enters fall camp as one of the co-starters at the position, along with Asante Cleveland (Sr). At 6-foot-6, Walford emerged as a major pass-catching weapon for the Hurricanes last season. He finished as one of the leading tight ends in the ACC by grabbing 25 passes for 451 yards and four touchdowns. He'll look to improve on those numbers even more this coming season, and should be as good a pass-catching tight end as there is in the conference.

Cleveland has just 11 career receptions in three seasons but continues doing all the right things during the offseason workout program. He will provide some senior leadership and some experience, and seemed to be a bit more involved in James Coley's offense back in the spring. It remains to be seen, however, if that will translate into success in the fall.

More likely to challenge Walford for targets is Junior College transfer Beau Sandland. At 6-foot-5, he's athletic and has soft hands. He was the nation's top Juco TE prospect last year, and really started to come on at the end of spring. It's believed that he may have a better skill set than Walford, so look for the Canes to use a lot of two tight end sets to create some mismatch problems for opposing defenses.

Jake O'Donnell (R-Fr) came to Miami as a lightly recruited defensive end from the state of Pennsylvania. It took just one season before he was moved to tight end, and that's on a team that is hurting badly for depth along the defensive line. Until we see otherwise, he's likely going to provide depth and be used mainly as a blocker.

Standish Dobard (Fr) was one of the nation's most heavily recruited tight end prospects last year. The Canes were able to pluck him from SEC country, and he went through spring football with the team. While he's likely not ready to challenge Walford and Sandland for targets yet, he offers a lot of upside and should see the field early and often in 2013.

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