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Rutgers Football: Tight End Preview

August 16, 2018

Washington Rutgers

Here is the preview of the Rutgers University tight ends, featuring Jerome Washington ’12, from David Anderson of On the Banks.

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Key players returning: Jerome Washington (RSr.), Max Anthony (RJr.), Nakia Griffin-Stewart (RJr.), Travis Vokolek (So.)

Can they be even more productive?

The tight end group was required to take on a big role in the passing game in 2017. They along with fullback Max Anthony totaled 13 of the team’s entire reception total. It would be difficult to expect them to handle that percentage of the load again, although 45 receptions could be matched, especially if the wide receivers can stretch the defense and allow more completions on intermediate routes.

On the blocking front, improvements by everyone else in the group should be able to offset [the loss of Myles Nash] if Anthony returns to full strength. Washington and Griffin-Stewart both have the frames to be good blockers and demonstrated willingness to do their part last year. They are all consummate team players and some of the most valuable players on the entire roster.

Can they make more plays in short yardage?

If there was one weakness for the group it was in short yardage situations. With Rutgers beleaguered passing attack, opponents sent everyone to the line in short third down situations and near the goal line.

Of the group, each member should be able to bring a skill to the table that offensive coordinator John McNulty can take advantage of. Washington knows how to get open and has incredible strength even when defenders are draped all over him, so well placed balls form the quarterback are almost guaranteed catches. McNulty got a lot of mileage from his TEs and FBs the first time around and may have an even more talented group this time. They should be able to get more than two touchdowns this year.

Best case, worst case, and most likely scenarios?

Best case: Washington impresses NFL scouts by making even more spectacular plays and duplicating or exceeding his team-leading 28 catches for 282 yards. Griffin-Stewart becomes a valuable contributor and runs away from a few linebackers.

Worst case: Without Nash, Washington’s additional blocking responsibilities lead to him getting more banged up.

Most likely: The tight end group does more of the same but contributes a few more touchdowns. Washington is the same as 2017, giving himself a shot at the next level.

Player Preview: #88 Jerome Washington (6’4″ 258 lbs.) Senior

Washington is the real deal, the best tight end at Rutgers since Tyler Kroft as a receiver and possibly a better blocker at the college level. He led the team in catches and yards despite three quarterbacks throwing the ball. Unless he completely disappoints in 2018, he’ll be in an NFL training camp in 2019.

Long term outlook.

This group is set in 2018 and also lined up well in 2019 even though Washington will graduate and likely move on to the NFL. If Washington’s nagging injuries get more severe, the rest of the group should still be serviceable as a Big Ten group. Coach Okruch made huge strides with this group as blockers and should be able to continue with the next set of personnel as the group is projected to lose one guy each year allowing constant re-injection. If McNulty sticks around, a few more NFL careers should be launched as they were during his first stint.

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Rutgers

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