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Spring Position Breakdown: Tight Ends

Can the UW tight ends reach new heights in Year 2 under Deboer?

NCAA Football: Washington at California Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The Spring Position Breakdowns keep rolling, this time with the tight ends.

Performance in 2022

After some predicted a backslide in usage for the tight end position as a whole in this new offense, they stepped up and delivered a great year full of big plays and solid numbers. Nick Sheridan, one time Indiana offensive coordinator and now UW tight ends coach, presided over a group that did everything asked of it, whether that meant being a safety valve in the passing game, or blocking in the run game.

This new scheme, naturally, led to some questions as to who would rise to the top, and what kind of numbers they would put up. In Devin Culp and Jack Westover, we have our answer. Culp caught 29 passes for 266 yards and 1 score against UCLA, a 4-yard pass from Michael Penix Jr. in the 4th quarter. Westover hauled in 31 passes for 342 yards and a touchdown, coming on a windy day against Oregon State.

Also returning is Quentin Moore, posting 5 catches for 61 yards in 2022, though his most memorable play came on his acting job in the Apple Cup to set up a Jalen McMillan backwards pass to Michael Penix Jr. that went for a touchdown. Griffin Waiss, who saw action in all 13 games, recording a catch for 21 yards, returns, as does Ryan Otton, brother of Cade, the former UW and current Tampa Bay tight end. Returning after a redshirt season is John Frazier, who did not suit up in 2022.

Roster Additions/Subtractions


Caden Jumper-Entered Transfer Portal

The Eatonville High School product was compared to Will Dissly by former head coach Jimmy Lake when he was recruited by the Huskies. This comparison did not get the chance to come to fruition, as Lake was fired in 2021 and Jumper departed a year later. No doubt, Jumper saw his path to the field close with both Westover and Culp’s return, in addition to the new scheme proving insufficient for the type of tight end he is, and he will now get a chance to prove himself a worthy contributor elsewhere.


Josh Cuevas-Transferred from Cal Poly

The 6 foot 3, 236 pound Cuevas comes to UW by way of Cal Poly, after playing 2 years for the Mustangs. Cuevas attracted offers from Michigan, Utah and Oklahoma State, showing that there is demand for this type of tight end that fits within Deboer’s scheme. Cuevas has shown the ability to split out wide, which will serve the scheme wonderfully, as we saw with Jack Westover last season. He hauled in 58 passes for 678 yards and 6 scores total at Cal Poly, and should fit very well in Deboer’s offense and compete for playing time right away then step up to compete to become the starting tight end in 2024.

Storylines To Watch

  1. Statistical Step Ups

With the predictions of backslide last season, the tight ends proved to be a very versatile group, showing equal prowess in blocking as in the passing game. Fans and other prospects were no doubt surprised at the level of statistical production from Westover and Culp. However, there is room for improvement among this group, and the addition of Cuevas highlights that. We’ll see what the numbers say, but I would expect that if the receivers have an off game, the passing offense will run through the tight ends.

2. Know Your Personnel

Last season, due to injuries up front, Deboer got creative with his personnel. Readers may remember edge rusher Jeremiah Martin getting out there with the offensive line and blocking at tight end occasionally. Will another scenario arise, whether due to injuries or creative scheming? I’m not sure, but knowing Ryan Grubb’s willingness to mix up his personnel and looks, I wouldn’t put it past him.

3. Stocks Up

When Devin Culp announced he would be back for a 6th season, fans started the speculation as to whether this could lead to either his, or Westover’s draft stock improving. If their numbers improve, I would expect either of them to be a potential day 3 pick. Both can help out NFL teams with their skillsets, and as we’ve seen with Will Dissly and Austin Sefarian-Jenkins (and Jerramy Stevens and Mark Bruener if you want to go back even further) there are paths for Husky tight ends in the pro ranks. Time will tell if they will improve their numbers enough to potentially make the move to day 2 and contribute to a team at the next level but regardless of if that happens, you can count on them to be solid contributors to the Husky offense this next season!