Behind starter Chris Herndon, Miami Hurricanes TE jobs are wide open

Outgoing tight end David Njoku believes Chris Herndon (above) could be just as special as he was. (Getty Images)

Outgoing tight end David Njoku believes Chris Herndon (above) could be just as special as he was. (Getty Images)

[Canes coaches excited about OL upgrade]

[Coaches talk QB race WR signees will boost D, too]

[All UM recruiting bios | Gould’s gradesVideo: class analysis]

It seems silly to expect Miami’s next tight end to be as good as David Njoku, but that’s what Njoku himself expects of Chris Herndon. 

“He’s a freak athlete, just like myself,” Njoku said of Herndon, who finished fourth on the team in receiving yards (334, with two touchdowns on 28 catches). “Probably even better.”

While waiting to see if Herndon develops into a potential first-round pick in his senior year, Hurricanes tight ends and special teams coach Todd Hartley is more concerned about those behind him.

Last Wednesday he said his two 2016 signees, Michael Irvin II and Jovani Haskins, must grow up before they’re ready for action.

“They need to mature this spring,” Hartley said. “They need to show us that we can trust them. They’re not freshmen anymore. They need to stop acting like freshmen and start putting themselves in positions to play. Right now it’s Chris, and then after that it’s wide-open.”

Both Irvin, who played mostly special teams last year, and Haskins (redshirted) were suspended for Miami’s bowl game for misbehavior. That’s a long way from the standard set by Herndon and Njoku, who led ACC tight ends in yards (698) and touchdowns (eight) and was second in receptions (43). They were so consistent that senior Stan Dobard was free to move to defensive end.

“Last year we played with two tight ends most of the time,” Hartley said. “Can we do that this year? I don’t know if we have a second tight end. Who’s going to step up and show they’re not a freshman?”

That could be Brian Polendey, a three-star recruit from Denton, Texas. He enrolled last month and Hartley is impressed with his game.

“He’s polished,” Hartley said of Polendey (6-6, 230). “He’s extremely intelligent, can pick up on the playbook really fast. He’s a tireless worker. Just works his butt off. Reports from the weight room have been positive. He’s going to be an asset from a physical standpoint.”

Irvin (6-3, 230) was more of a receiver in high school and Haskins (6-4, 245) was a quarterback. Polendey, Hartley said, is “a very physical kid. Tenacious blocker. Actually very well polished in what he does at the point of attack.

“Nowadays you don’t see a lot of kids like him. A lot of high school teams don’t use a tight end anymore. A lot of times you’re trying to find kids that are big, that fit your size and speed profile that project to a tight end, much like a Jovani Haskins last year.”

Hartley said UM would like to add a walk-on to a room that also includes walk-on Malik Curry (6-3, 230), and would be open to a grad transfer.

 

 

Reader Comments 0

0 comments