We’ve evaluated the wide receivers and the running backs. The QB depth chart is clear cut with Hayden Moore the likely back up to Gunner Kiel. That leaves tight end as the final skill position.
We saved the tight end position for last – the same priority they are given by Eddie Gran’s offensive schemes. Let’s face it, with the exception of Travis Kelce UC has not been a big fan of using the tight end in recent history. Position coach Ty Linder and his squad simply do not get a lot of love in the Bearcats run and gun, spread-you-out offense.
So who’s on the roster?
• DJ Dowdy: At 6’4” and 241 lbs. this junior from Akron, Ohio, is projected as the likely starter at tight end in 2015. That is, when a tight end is actually on the field, let alone when plays are designed for him. We do not think he will explode on the scene, especially given Gunner’s style of offensive play. Shaq Washington will likely be the check-down, relief valve. In his career DJ has just 7 catches for 42 yards and 0 TDs.
• Tyler Cogswell: At 6’4” and 248 lbs., this sophomore from Coral Springs, Florida, simply has not seen a lot of action. In 2013 he red-shirted. In 2014 he played in 7 games, mainly on special teams, and caught 1 pass for 7 yards. Cogswell will see the field more this year, especially on special teams.
• Doug Bates: At 6’4” and 230 lbs., this freshman graduated from local juggernaut, Moeller High School, right here in the Queen City. He was a 3-star prospect, ranked as the #16 tight end in the country and #41 overall prospect in Ohio. Bates has the size, is talented, and is certainly the future. It will be fun to root for him as a local product. I would love to see him have an amazing summer and fight for the starting role, however unlikely.
• Josiah Deguara: At 6’3” and 210 lbs., this freshman from shiny Folsom, California, will likely be redshirted or could see some limited special teams opportunities.
• Jake Elfers: At 6’5” and 225 lbs., this freshman is straight out of Loveland, Ohio. As with most freshman at any position, he will likely be redshirted or could see some limited special teams opportunities.
How these guys fit into UC and Gunner Kiel’s high-octane passing game is anyone’s guess. But one of them will likely earn their spot at Camp Higher Ground this summer.
By Andy Smith