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What condition are Arizona’s tight ends in heading into spring practice?

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Will tight ends get worked into the offense this spring?

arizona-wildcats-tight-ends-football-2020-depth-chart-wolma Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

This is the fifth in a series of reports in which we try to determine if the Arizona Wildcats’ position groups are in strong, stable, unstable, serious or critical condition heading into spring ball, which begins Monday. Next up: tight ends.

Returning Starter: Bryce Wolma

Backups: Jake Peters, Zach Williams

Key Departures: Jamie Nunley

After revitalizing the position in 2017, it was a disappointing follow up for the tight end group in 2018.

The four players totaled just nine catches for 98 yards. Only three of those receptions occurred in Pac-12 play, and the group went six consecutive weeks without recording a catch.

Compare that to 2017, when we saw true freshman Bryce Wolma emerge as a reliable target, hauling in 36 receptions for 414 yards.

Arizona is also down a tight end as they enter 2019, as Jamie Nunley announced his medical retirement, leaving the group extremely young and thin.

Wolma is entering his junior season, and while it’s unclear whether coach Kevin Sumlin and offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone are actively planning to implement tight ends this season, we know the talent is there with Wolma.

He’s still a great in-line blocker, but there is so much value and potential to be untapped in an offense where he is utilized as a pass catcher.

Next at tight end is redshirt freshman Jake Peters, who I’ve always described as a traditional tight end. A big, strong body that can block. He’s not your ultra-athletic, vertical threat tight end, but he’s going to give you great blocking and serve as a short-yardage threat. He recorded one catch for a loss of one last season.

More commonly referred to as “joker” tight ends are the athletic, hybrid tight end/wide receivers. That’s where redshirt freshman Zach Williams comes in.

He’s fast, big, physical and can exploit a lot of teams up the middle. You can split him out wide and he’s a viable receiver option as well. He recorded one catch for 10 yards last season.

Condition: Serious

Wolma is a skilled player, but there was absolutely no sign of life when it come to implementing tight ends in the offense.

Peters is a traditional tight end, Williams is a hybrid. Both give you great options and flexibility, but it’s very unclear as to how the staff will utilize them.

You have proven talent with Wolma, and two promising prospects with Peters and Williams. But right now it’s on the coaching staff to use this spring to get a game plan rolling with tight ends. If not, this position seems pretty much dead until the staff starts to get their own tight ends in there.

Poll

What condition are Arizona’s tight ends in?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    Strong
    (3 votes)
  • 26%
    Stable
    (23 votes)
  • 39%
    Unstable
    (35 votes)
  • 17%
    Serious
    (15 votes)
  • 13%
    Critical
    (12 votes)
88 votes total Vote Now

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