OwlBytes: 2021 FAU Fall Camp August 17th - Tight Ends & Notes
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Day nine of camp is here already and with that the competition continues to heat up. One of the positions that have shown the most depth so far has surprisingly been the tight ends after the position group as a whole only recorded one touchdown in the 2020 season.
"Everyone has their own individual role, which is awesome because that's what you're looking for," tight ends coach Jon Bills said. "We want to play a lot of guys at both the tight end position and all across the team and they have what they're good at and what they're not good at and they're improving to become that all-around player."
The Owls have been running 22 personnel, featuring a lot of two-tight end sets, which is a far cry from what they had to work with last season. Newcomers Zaire Mitchell-Paden (photo left), 6'5, 247 lbs Austin Evans, and Lucas Luft (photo right) add depth to the position, while Redshirt Freshman Rahmod Smith adds even more to the position after returning from injury. Up and coming freshmen 6'4, 237 lbs Jacob Pasley and 6'4, 214 lbs William Ford fil out the room giving FAU a complete stable to draw from this season.
And with that, here is the sixth rendition of the parliament Position Previews, detailing the tight ends, and notes from today's media availability.
- Expected to Lead Zaire Mitchell-Paden: A transfer from Notre Dame College, Paden (photo left) came out of the first week of camp as one of the best performers for the Owls. He was featured in a lot of two tight end sets alongside Rahmod Smith, showing off his athleticism in the passing game and strong blocking ability. Standing at 6'5, 267 lbs, Paden has the strength to be an effective blocker while still having the speed in the receiving game to be effective. In five games this Spring, he had 14 catches for 182 yards, including five catches for 84 yards in the Mountain East Conference Championship. "He's going to push himself no matter what, he's 100% full-go," tight ends coach Jon Bills said when asked if the short offseason is affecting Paden. "he's a big body at 6'5, 262 [lbs], for him to be running that much, it's just been fortunate that we have competitive depth."
- Keep An Eye On Rahmod Smith: After missing all of last season with an injury, Rahmod Smith looks like a potential contributor to the Owls' offense. He looks fully healthy heading into the 2021 season, running his routes swiftly and holding up his blocks solidly during camp. The redshirt freshman has been showing off why he was ranked as a three-star prospect coming out of high school, being one of the most effective tight ends during camp thus far, taking the most snaps with the potential starters. Tight ends coach Jon Bills also described Smith as a player with a very high football IQ who is heavily involved in the offense.
- Dark Horse Candidate Lucas Luft: When asked about which of the tight ends looks most impressive, head coach Willie Taggart offered up Lucas Luft's (photo right) name. He proved why that was the case this week during camp, looking exceptional in blocking drills while running his routes fluently and making beautiful catches. He looked like he had great chemistry with Michael Johnson Jr., who was getting the ball out of his hand quickly and finding Luft at the end of his route easily. "His size and speed combination [is what is most impressive about Luft,]" tight ends coach Jon Bills said. "He's a 6'7 guy who's one of the fastest in his position."
OwlBytes for August 16th
- N'Kosi Perry Looking Sharp In Day Nine With the quarterbacks being pinned up against each other again on Tuesday, N'Kosi Perry was firing on all cylinders in day nine. He had the most power under his throws, he was able to find his receivers at the end of their routes, and he was able to get the ball out easily. Michael Johnson Jr. also continued his success from yesterday, looking comfortable in the pocket and getting the ball out quickly.
- Wide Receivers Start To Separate Themselves In receiving drills, the wide receivers started to show their true colors today. TJ Chase and LaJohntay Wester showed the most speed and ran the most fluent routes while catching the ball consistently. Jefftey Joseph is also emerging as a dark horse, as he showed flashes of speed and fluent route-running ability.
- McCammon, Berry Separate Themselves In Agility Drills In today's camp, all of the running backs went through a drill where they had to show their speed and elusiveness by making cuts and making it through a hole. During those drills, Larry McCammon Jr. and Rayquan Berry were the two most impressive. Berry in particular has been one of the most surprising players at camp this year, as the redshirt freshman hasn't gotten any game action since arriving in 2019. He may end up playing a crucial role in the offense as a speed back with the talent he's shown during camp.
TE Austin Evans and tight ends coach Jon Bills headline today's Video Play
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