The Owls concluded their first week of Spring Practice by going fully padded in a scrimmage for the first time Saturday afternoon, and the tight ends took full advantage by putting their reflexes to work throughout their drills with tight ends coach Chad Lunsford.
Below is a brief look at the makeup of the position for the Spring.
Key Returners: Carter Boatwright (R-Jr. 6-4, 240), Marvin Landy (Sr. 6-4, 235), Jacob Pasley (R-Soph. 6-4, 237), Wyatt Sullivan (Soph. 6-5, 235)
Key Losses: Austin Evans, Adam Boselli
Newcomers: Jackson Sumlin (Jr. 6-2, 220 - transfer/Oklahoma), Bridger Koby (Fr. 6-3, 200 - Merritt Island), Zeke Moore (3-star recruit/Roswell, won't join the team until fall), Fin Jones (3-star recruit/Venice, won't join the team until fall)
Head coach Tom Herman's influence in South Florida has radiated among recruits. For example, 50+ recruits came to the practice field at the Schmidt Family Complex via VIP invite to watch Herman and the coaching staff direct the Owls throughout the session.
For the first time this cycle, offensive coordinator Charlie Frye became available to the media.
"Just hearing those pads clap and seeing the team run today is my favorite drill because in football, I believe the game starts with the run," said Frye.
With the third session of spring practice having concluded, here is the third of our parliament Owl position previews, beginning with three names from the tight ends, and some notes from today's media availability.
- Expected to Lead Carter Boatwright: Boatwright (pictured above) would be at the top of the depth chart for tight ends. Transferring from FSU to play for the Owls last year, he finished with a stat-line of four receptions for 33 yards in nine games mainly playing the role as a blocking tight end. His best showing came in the season finale against Western Kentucky, catching two passes for 30 receiving yards with one of them being a 23-yarder. With his solid performance last season, he might retain his spot as a starter if the coaches wish to put emphasis on blocking. Coming next would be Marvin Landy (pictured below, right). Landy appeared in every game last season, receiving two passes for 35 yards with the longest being 24 yards against Ohio last September. Entering his senior year, he could look to teach the newer guys the ropes as a potential leader in the position.
- Keep An Eye On Jackson Sumlin: Sumlin is a tight end worth keeping track of. Joining the Owls via transfer from Oklahoma, he would be competing for starting reps after riding the Sooner bench in two of his last three seasons. 2021 was where he last got significant playing time as a freshman, making 11 appearances while playing between the offense and special teams. With a chip on his shoulder knowing he has a lot to prove after leaving an SEC school, Sumlin will probably aim to be at the top of the coaches' radars. Jacob Pasley is a close second. Pasley split time with the offense and special teams, appearing in 10 games which saw him finish with one kick return for eight yards in the Shula Bowl against FIU. With how active he was throughout the 2022 campaign, he could make the jump to the top of the rotation if he impresses throughout Spring Practice.
- Dark Horse Candidate Bridger Koby: Koby may be on the outside looking in when it comes to being at the top of the rotation, but his stats from Merritt Island High School give more explanation to why he could have a chance. Showcasing his versatility by playing in multiple positions but mainly as a receiver for the Mustangs, Koby put up 1,066 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns on 33 catches which earned him a First Team All-Conference spot while having his team finish as runner-ups in the Class 5A state championship in late-2021. If the Owls want to go the route of putting a receiving tight end onto the field, Koby could be a great fit for the role.
OwlBytes for March 18th
- Attention Awareness The tight ends were attentive during their drills with tight ends coach Chad Lunsford (pictured below, left), and offensive coordinator Charlie Frye pointed out Carter Boatwright and Jacob Pasley as players who have done well so far in practice. "Those guys come in and put in work every day. Marvin [Landy] is working hard, [Jackson] Sumlin got here and he made some plays," offensive coordinator Charlie Frye said. Of the players at the position, Landy shined the brightest with his timing and movement. Boatwright and Pasley were also efficient throughout practice.
- Frye-ing Up The Offense Charlie Frye has become acclimated since taking over as the Owls' offensive coordinator last December after a one-year stop at Penn State as an offensive analyst and analytics coordinator. He discussed his time in the NFL as a player (2005-09) and then serving as quarterbacks coach with the NFL's Miami Dolphins under then-head coach Brian Flores in 2021, which saw him work with current Dolphin starter Tua Tagovailoa. "Flores is a hell of a coach. I was in the staff room listening to him talk about defensive football and learn a lot of the rules for defensive players, defensive coverages, and defensive fronts. I took a lot of away from him," Frye said. When it comes to his coaching style, Frye looks to instill toughness and strength. "I want to teach them all the things I was taught as a player. I would like to pass those things on to make their jobs easier," he said. Quarterback Michael Johnson Jr. has been receptive of what Frye is teaching him and the players during practice. "It's not every day where you have a coach who played and coached in the NFL. He hasn't only seen it; he's done it," said Johnson Jr.
Offensive coordinator Charlie Frye and quarterbacks Tyriq Starks and Michael Johnson Jr. headline Video Play.
With the first week of Spring Practice over, the team will rest for Sunday and Monday before returning for Tuesday's session to begin the second week of spring football.