COLLEGE STATION - If Jalen Wydermyer could speak, he'd probably stay humble. As a freshman tight end for Texas A&M, new players are not allowed to talk to the media. One look at his infectious smile though, that tells a much greater story.
He's having fun out on the field.
No one could have expected the success the young Dickinson native would have seen during the 2019 season. Originally thought to be a third option at the tight end role, injuries forced Wydermyer to start. Now each week, fans can expect him to inch closer towards the record set by Jace Sternberger a year ago.
Only nine games into his Aggie career and Wydermyer ranks second all-time for touchdowns by a tight end at College Station in a season.
“He’s a mismatch," Wide receiver Jhmon Ausbon said. "He’s pretty quick, he’s got really good feet, he’s big and strong, and he’s smart so he knows how to use a spot when he runs his routes.”
Wydermyer entered camp splitting reps with Glenn Beal behind freshman five-star Baylor Cupp. Cupp, a headliner in the Aggies' 2019 class, was expected to pick up where Sternberger stopped following being drafted by the Green Bay Packers in April.
It was during a fall camp practice where Cupp would go down. He would not get up under his own pressure. Before even taking a regular-season snap, A&M coach Jimbo Fisher announced the tight end phenom would miss the season after undergoing surgery for a broken leg.
Some believed the position could struggle without Cupp's role. Heading into next season, it could be the team's most valuable part of the team's offense.
"When you have that body type, man, it makes a big difference," Fisher said last month. "Can't wait to get Baylor back, too. It'll be good."
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Slow from the start, Wydermyer worked on his blocking to become more well-rounded. By the second week of the season, he began to see a majority of the snaps in single tight end sets. Against Clemson, Wydermyer's second catch would come in the form of a 2-year touchdown pass from Kellen Mond.
From that moment, the pair knew their trust could make them a dynamic duo.
Since Week 2, few tight ends have found the success that Wydermyer has produced. No, not just freshman tight ends, the position in general. Despite being limited with his hands, Wydermyer's ability to create a positive outcome each play has made him a consistent weapon for the Aggie offense.
By mid-October, defenses would circle No.85 on their big board for a reason; he was going to be targeted. Against Alabama, Wydermyer would only make a pair of catches, both went for touchdowns. Heading into the final month, his success has now made him not just a threat, but also an x-factor for fellow Aggies to make their mark in against defense.
“Him being that big target and doing what he does in the interior definitely helps me out,” Ausbon said. “He’s usually to my side and opens everybody else up.”
This season, Wydermyer's limited production has him sitting with 19 catches for 287 yards and six touchdowns. That has him tied for third among active tight ends in FBS football this season. He's also expected to be a consistent contributor to A&M's offense heading into the final three games of the season.
Perhaps the biggest compliment a young player could receive is not from his coach, but rather his teammates. Veterans have learned the process of what it takes to thrive at the next level.
It'd be hard for anyone not to grin when speaking of the young tight end. Much like his own smile, Wydermyer's infectious playing style now has the Aggies humming a happier tune heading back to conference play.
"Anytime we get everybody involved in our offense, all the playmakers, it's hard to gameplan against us," Aubson said.