2002 Football Preview: Tight Ends


Posted Jul 11, 2002


Chris Coleman takes a look at Virginia Tech's tight end prospects for the 2002 football season. While this group is young, they have lots of potential, just like the Tech wide receivers.

There hasn't been much discussion this offseason about what is generally the most quiet position in the Virginia Tech offense-tight end. However there is just as big of a question mark at this position as there is at wide receiver. Let's take a look at the returning players at the tight end position.

Keith Willis (6-5 241) r-Jr.- Willis returns as the most experienced player at tight end. The last two seasons he has seen most of his playing time on special teams. However he is an outstanding all-around athelete, and after spending two years learning behind NFL tight ends Browning Wynn and Bob Slowikowski, he could be ready to have a break out year. He is very fast for a man of his size and that could cause a lot of problems for slower linebackers in coverage. He is the likely starter this fall.

Jared Mazzetta (6-4 254)-r-So.- Mazzetta is a talented player who contributed a lot on special teams during his redshirt freshman year. He saw some mop-up time early in season, so Hokie fans really didn't get a good look at what he could bring to the table. However he was listed as the co-starter at tight end for the entire spring, so it is very possible that he could be the starting tight end this fall. Starter or backup, he's sure to see a lot of playing time this fall.

Jeff King (6-5 258) r-Fr.- Hokie fans won't miss Jeff King when he takes the field in the future for the Hokies. He is a huge target at tight end and he is only beginning his second year in the program. Tech coaches were very impressed with his spring, and he has worked his way into a position to play this fall. Look for King mostly on special teams this fall, but with his ability he may be hard to keep out of the rotation. He is a player with a very bright future.

Greg Burnop (6-1 241) r-Fr.- Does his name sound familiar? Well it should. He is the son of former Hokie tight end and current radio broadcaster Mike Burnop. He is a walk-on from Blacksburg High School and if he turns out anywhere near as good as his father then he is going to be a good one. Keep in mind that Tech turns out very good walk-on tight ends, with former players John Burke and Browning Wynn either having played in the NFL or about to start their first year in the leaugue.

Overall...
With the changes in the Tech offense that will come this fall, you may be wondering how tight end will fit into the equation. It is very possible that you could see Keith Willis lined up wide in certain situations. Keith has the size to overpower a cornerback and the speed to beat safeties deep. This can be yet another dimension that will make the Tech offense even more dangerous. Tech fans are not used to seeing the tight end make many catches, but when they do they are for a big play. While this isn't likely to change, it isn't possible to make a very accurate predition until you see the new offense in action against LSU (yeah, the Tech coaches are going to show all their cards against Arkansas St., right.) While this tight end group is small in experience, they are big in ability, so don't expect a drop off in production.

Next up: running backs

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