Somehow, J.D. Brookhart (and Lee Owens before him) has been very successful in nabbing solid tight ends.
Whereas defensive linemen can be elusive for mid-majors in recruiting, serviceable Division-I tight ends seem to exist in every high school conference. After stocking up so heavily in 2004 and 2005, the coaches haven't bothered recruiting a tight end the past two years.
Brookhart, knowing this position is a strength, formulated new twists in the offense this offseason to allow more chances for his four tight ends to make plays.
The starter will be Kris Kasparek. Brookhart mentioned that the four-year starter may provide leadership on offense. He also has proven to be a great route runner, adept in finding holes in zones in the defense and achieving first downs. While Kasparek is No. 1, Merce Poindexter is 1A. His above-average speed and athleticism, coupled with a giant frame, make him a matchup problem for every MAC defense.
Brian Flaherty and Jose Cruz, neither of which have seen the field much except in special situations, could step in at a moment's notice as well. Flaherty shares Kasparek's intelligence for finding open spaces on the field. Cruz is a solid run blocker.
So what's the problem? Dropped passes. The tight ends missed many easy passes last year and it seemed completely mental because both Nos. 1 and 1A have good hands. With any luck, that was just a fad and part of the disease of inconsistency that plagued the entire team last season.
For sure, Akron's tight ends will help the team win more than causing it to lose. With two-TE sets, they could even lessen the pain of possibly missing David Harvey.
It appears one of the Zips' 2008 signees isn't actually a scholarship player. Bryan Simpson, a defensive tackle from Xenia, is a preferred walk-on, that town's newspaper reports. Edit: Bryan has brother, Ryan, who IS a scholarship player. Thanks, ZFF.
CollegeFootballNews.com previewed Akron's season, saying the team's schedule should put it in a position to win back the MAC East.