Husky football will be truly "back" when we're once again getting production from the tight end position. The hiring of Steve Sarkisian and the implementation of a pro-style offense is a huge step in that direction. Sarkisian loves using tight ends and fullbacks, which is a relief to Husky fans accustomed to the days of UW's moniker of "Tight End U".
Fist on Sarkisian's recruiting agenda was stocking the cupboards with much-needed depth. Junior college-recruit Dorson Boyce is the talent he sought, a complete TE who can run, block, and catch. Most importantly, he was the rare JC recruit who could academically qualify to get into Washington. Look for Boyce to compete for a starting position immediately when he hits the field in August.
Sophomores Kavario Middleton and Chris Izbicki round out a three-man rotation. Middleton earned the early starting job in 2008 despite being ill-prepared physically to handle his blocking assignments. While making some nice catches before going down with an injury, opposing defense crashed his side of the line and pounded our QB's.
Izbicki, like Middleton, was rated as one of the top high school tight ends in the country when he arrived at Washington. Chris sat out his first year to gain the strength and technique, and while had a good spring in 2008, he soon got into a little alcohol-induced trouble at a concert and was banished to Ty Willingham's doghouse for the entire season.
A new coaching staff and a clean slate has already helped Izbicki. He came out of spring practice as the top tight end on the roster, though the difference between he and Middleton was more of a 1-A vs 1-B type of situation. All three of these kids will play substantially this season, as the Washington offense needs three TE's to fill out their game rotation.
Sarkisian has recruited several high quality high school tight ends in Marlion Bennett and Kimo Makaula. Bennett impressed recruiting experts with his film and has the diversity to line up as a big H-Back. Makaula, a QB in high school who could play about any position on the field (including being a punter and a long snapper!) is lining up on defense during informal work outs. Like all frosh, coaches are trying to find where Makula's talents fit best; given the lack of depth on the defensive line, this is where we may ultimately find the young man.