The tight end has been a position that has evolved greatly over the last decade of collegiate and professional football. The days of 6'5, 260 pounds, blocking tight-ends are of yesteryear.
Sure, there are still programs in college football like Stanford that utilize multiple, end of the line type of tight ends. In fact, Georgia was still one of them as recently as a year ago. Often times running 12 personnel sets with two tight ends in the formation. Charlie Woerner and Eli Wolf would be utilized as blocking options within the offense with the occasional target downfield. Those days in Athens are likely no more.
With Todd Monken's arrival comes a restoration of the tight end position. Dynamic weapons like Tre' McKitty, Darnell Washington and the future of the position in Brock Bowers give light to how the position will be utilized moving forward.
Monken has a history of using his tight ends in a variety of ways. As an end of the line blocker, as a dynamic "Super Slot" that is used to create mismatches in space against linebackers or undersized defensive backs, even as split back blocking threats.
As most great coaches, Monken will attempt to use each individual tight end for what they will do best. So, let's get into it.
McKitty showed during his time at Florida State that he possesses the size of a tight end, with the skillset and athleticism of a wide receiver. He played on the outside at the X receiver, he played in the slot, he lined up on the end of the line of scrimmage and even in the backfield. Though where I think he provides the most to an offense is after the catch.
McKitty will likely have plays designed and called for him this fall that allow him to showcase what he can do with the ball in his hands. His longest recorded receptions at Florida State were often times designed screenplays. Which is something we here at Dawgs Daily on SI.com fully expect to see more of in Athens this fall.
Though Washington isn't quite the explosive athlete that OJ Howard was coming out of Alabama and during his time with Monken in Tampa Bay, I could see Georgia using Washington in a similar fashion this fall.
Watch this breakdown of Monken's offensive style from our YouTube page, starting at (8:06).
What you will see is that when in the "Green Zone" — inside the 30-yard line — Monken likes to split out his biggest targets and allow the quarterback to utilize the size and throw OJ Howard into space, allowing him to catch the football over an undersized cornerback.
This is 100% something that Darnell Washington will be able to do from day one in this Georgia offense. You can say what you want about his pending struggles at creating separation on the SEC level, one thing you can't say is that defensive backs won't have the same exact struggles with Washington's size.
Brock Bowers in 2021 will be the first true iteration of what Georgia's plans are moving forward. These types of players that can play all across the formation and isolate in one on one matchups against any defender and win in a variety of ways. Bowers will rarely have his hand in the dirt while playing for Georgia. He will be lined up in the SLOT and outside as a primary receiving target.
Jake Johnson is the priority target in 2022. The nephew of Mark Richt is very quiet about his recruitment process, but he's the sole want and need for Todd Hartley at the Tight End position. At 6'6, he moves like a wide receiver and has the ball skills to prove it.
Moving to 2023, a player that we've talked about several times on this network, Pearce Spurlin is setting up to be the priority target for the Dawgs. Like Bowers and Johnson, he has a history as a wide receiver. In fact, he's yet to play a snap as a traditional tight end, and he may never have to.
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