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Tight Ends deliver at Senior Bowl

Mon, Feb 26, 2018

Executive Director Phil Savage spent 20 years in the National Football League as a coach, scout, executive and general manager. Prior to the Combine, he will evaluate the Reese’s Senior Bowl practice sessions and game, position-by-position, for both the North and South squads.

Another talented class of senior tight ends rolled in to Mobile and did not disappoint with their performance on the field. Unfortunately, two tight ends were forced out of action with pulled hamstrings, South Dakota State’s Dallas Goedert and UMass’ Adam Brenaman, both during the Tuesday practice.

#88 Mike Gesicki/Penn State (N)       6053/242        H-10 1/8          A-34                WS-82 3/8
This three-year starter for the Nittany Lions brings height, athletic ability and an expansive catch radius to the table. With a clean release, he can close the defender’s cushion with his leggy stride and once he is “even”, can then utilize his length and body control to out-rebound his opponent for the football. As a rookie, he should be able to help right away as a tight end who can contribute to the passing game immediately.

1-on-1 Pass Routes-    Wins: 7            Losses: 4
1-on-1 Pass Pro-         Wins: 1            Losses: 1

Reese’s Pieces: Mike earned 12 letters in football, basketball and volleyball at Southern Regional High School, Manahawkin, NJ. At PSU, he ended his career with 129 receptions for 1481 yards (11.5avg) and 15 touchdowns.

#80 Durham Smythe/Notre Dame (N)     6052/253       H-9 3/8            A-31 4/8          WS-78 7/8
Durham enjoyed a steady work week in the practices as both a blocker and receiver. Despite only 28 career catches for the Fighting Irish, he is a combination tight end with the ability to block at the line-of-scrimmage and enough athleticism to get open on short and intermediate routes.

1-on-1 Pass Routes-    Wins: 7            Losses: 2
1-on-1 Pass Pro-         Wins: 0            Losses: 2

Reese’s Pieces: Durham graduated in May 2017 with a degree in sociology. Hailing from Benton High School (TX), his father Roy played offensive line for Baylor’s 1980 Southwest Conference championship team.

#88 Jordan Akins/UCF (S)       6032/246        H-9 2/8            A-33 4/8          WS-80 2/8
Having spent four seasons in the Texas Rangers farm system, Jordan returned to football in 2014 as a wide receiver and kick returner before shifting to tight end in 2016. In Mobile, he flashed route running and pass catching ability with enough speed to threaten the seam.

1-on-1 Pass Routes-    Wins: 6            Losses: 8

Reese’s Pieces: Jordan collected 79 receptions for 1093 yards (13.8avg) and 8 touchdowns during his UCF career. As a baseball player, in 321 minor league games, he hit 24 home runs and stole 42 bases.

#80 Ian Thomas/Indiana (S)          6033/256        H-9 5/8            A-33 1/8          WS-80
Ian looks the part and is blessed with natural athletic ability and catching skills. Despite some inconsistency in his game, he has the potential to become an accomplished blocker and a quality receiver at the next level.

1-on-1 Pass Routes-    Wins: 5            Losses: 7

Reese’s Pieces: After two seasons at Nassau Community College, Ian was signed by IU where he became a one-plus year starter. As a senior, he grabbed 25 passes for 376 yards (15.0avg) and 5 touchdowns.

#83 Tyler Conklin/Central Michigan (N)       6027/252    H-9 6/8            A-33 2/8          WS-77 6/8
Tyler transferred from Northwood University as a walk-on before earning a starting job at CMU because of his athletic quickness and hands. He appears to have an instinctive feel for the passing game and relies on his initial quickness to create separate when releasing or at the top of his routes.

1-on-1 Pass Routes-    Wins: 3            Losses: 6
1-on-1 Pass Pro-         Wins: 1            Losses: 1

Reese’s Pieces: Tyler missed the first five games of his senior season with a foot fracture. In his return game, he pulled in 10 receptions for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Chippewas defeated Ohio U.

#86 Deon Yelder/Western Kentucky (S)       6030/251    H-10                A-33                WS-79 6/8
Deon was added to the South roster on Wednesday and proceeded to convince the NFL scouts that he is a legitimate prospect. He made a number of catches by using his long arms and large hands to body position defenders and out-maneuver them for the football.

1-on-1 Pass Routes-    Wins: 5            Losses: 3

Reese’s Pieces: A former walk-on, Deon did not catch a single pass until his senior season. In 2017, he registered 52 receptions for 688 yards (13.2avg) and 7 touchdowns.

#81 Troy Fumagalli/Wisconsin (N)    6047/247        H-9 5/8 lt        A-32 2/8          WS-75 3/8
Troy is yet another walk-on prospect who has revealed himself to be a quality candidate for the NFL during his time at Wisconsin. Despite having his left index finger amputated two days after his birth, he developed his pass catching ability by strengthening his other nine digits and never making a reference to his missing finger. More of a zone-type receiver, he will need to increase his quickness and burst to get away from pro-level defenders.

1-on-1 Pass Routes-    Wins: 2            Losses: 10
1-on-1 Pass Pro-         Wins: 1            Losses: 1 

Reese’s Pieces: Troy enjoyed a productive career for the Badgers that included 135 receptions for 1627 yards (12.1avg) and 7 touchdowns.