Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

THANKLESS POSITION Prep Tight Ends Starting to Get Noticed

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

THANKLESS POSITION Prep Tight Ends Starting to Get Noticed

Article excerpt

When it comes to area high school football, Tommy Collins'

position might be the most anonymous on the field. No, the

Bishop Kenny star doesn't play on the offensive line. He plays a

position with even less recognition -- tight end.

"I feel tight end is an underappreciated position," Collins

said. "But I think if you do a good job at it, then you can get

the recognition."

Collins is one of three tight ends in the area who is garnering

attention. Palatka's Mario Jackson and Middleburg's Richard

Owens also are bringing the position back into the spotlight.

Any of the three could be the first area player to get a

Division I college scholarship as a tight end since Ribault's

Delvin Herring headed to South Carolina in 1990.

"I like the position," said the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Collins.

"But how you do depends on the offensive formation you're in."

Some of the blame for the decline of the tight end has to be

pinned on the Wing-T offense, one of the most popular formations

in the area. Primarily a run-oriented formation, some variations

of the Wing-T -- such as a version used at Raines -- feature two

wingbacks, a running back and two wideouts, excluding the tight

end.

"A lot of people do run the Wing-T," said Owens, who has been

contacted by Notre Dame and Clemson among others. "We ran it

when I was a sophomore and we didn't throw the ball at all. Now

we can use a little power or spread it out from the I

[formation]."

If it's not the Wing-T, it's the standard high school practice

of run first, pass as a last resort that stifles the tight end.

"It's hard to get attention at that position," said the 6-4,

225pound Jackson, "unless you are in a formation that allows the

tight end to release downfield and catch passes. …

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