The tight end may be back in business at UA

The tight end may be back in business at UA
(Cover photo courtesy: Arizona Athletics)
(Cover photo courtesy: Arizona Athletics)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The tight end.

It's been a lost position at Arizona since Rob Gronkowski walked away to the NFL in 2010.

Last season the Wildcats did not have a single reception by a player listed on their roster whose primary position is tight end.

Gronkowski caught 47 passes for the Mike Stoops coached Wildcats in 2008 before missing the entire 2009 season with a back injury.

He left for the paid football life in 2010 and the rest is Gronk history.

The position has never been one used extensively during Rich Rodriguez's 13 years as a head coach in college football running a spread offense.

Kevin Koger caught 16 passes for Rodriguez at Michigan in 2009.

Rodriguez has used converted wide receivers in tight end based roles over the last two seasons. Both Terrence Miller and Austin Hill caught over 40 passes in 2013 and 2014 working as both wide out and interior receivers with blocking duties.

A position that has flourished in the wide open passing of the NFL game has yet to find consistent traction in many college spread programs that tend to be more wide receiver dominated.

Arizona though may finally have the right personnel to make the true tight end relevant again.

Josh Kern, who still said is a converted quarterback, has bulked up from 197 pounds to 229 pounds and appears to be in line for the first shot.

Kern has not caught a single pass in the 17 games he's played at Arizona.

He caught five passes though in the spring game, the first inkling the position might be back at Arizona. Wildcat tight ends had 10 receptions in the contest including a 24-yard touchdown by rising sophomore Trevor Wood.

Wood was a four-star recruit coming out of Scottsdale Chaparral High School. He's battled injury this entire Fall Camp and has lost ground to Matt Morin, also a Chaparral product, both played for current UA tight ends coach Charlie Ragle. Freshman Darrell Cloy could also work into the mix.

If it happens, If the tight end is back at UA? It will be yet another tool Rodriguez can use to expanded on an offense that was the 5th best last season in the Pac-12.

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