Washington has the reputation of being TE University but during the Willingham years that all fell by the wayside. The recruitment of Kavario Middleton and Chris Izbicki was supposed to get things back on the right track but in 2009 this group was still receiving a mixed set of reviews.
Jr. Kavario Middleton is the starter going into spring practice. The kid has great hands and can catch the ball but he isn't known as the hardest worker or most precise blocker. He also is capable of concentration lapses out on the field which results in drops. The hope is this is the year that Kavario puts it all together in the weight room, film room, and out on the field.
Jr. Chris Izbicki finally found the field last season after escaping Ty Willingham's dog house. He was starter 1-B last season and had a solid but unspectacular season. Izbicki is never going to live up to the hype he had in HS when he was considered one of the three top HS TE's in the country but he will contribute every game for the rest of his career. The hope for him is that he will continue to develop better hands between now and fall.
Sr Dorson Boyce didn't get the opportunity to play much last season and the JC insurance policy that Sark brought in with his first recruiting class will be hard pressed to see much of the field this year unless some injuries happen in front of him. Boyce isn't a bad player but he doesn't have the size of the kids playing in front of him.
Rs Marlion Bennett will compete for playing time this spring at TE. He is more of a hybrid slot type of guy since he is shorter than a traditional TE. The coaches like the tools he has and it will be interesting to see how they use him in 2010.
In the fall Bothell's Michael Hartvigson will arrive to compete for immediate playing time. It will be tough to find that immediate playing time with a couple of juniors ahead of him but the coaches feel that he will develop into the total package. He has great hands, blocks well, and runs pretty good. That is what you are looking for in a TE. They guys ahead of him haven't shown they can do all three things well at the same time and that is why he will compete for time.
I think going into 2009 the Huskies are solid enough at TE. The big question is will Kavario Middleton develop into an NFL type prospect sooner than later. He needs to get his A game on because time is starting to run short and there are a lot of dollars on the table if he can put it all together.
Look for UW to bring in at least one TE in the 2011 class.