The LSU offense averaged less than 163 yards per game through the air in 2014, but with the help of its tight ends, the team looks to improve that statistic in 2015.
Senior Dillon Gordon and junior DeSean Smith headline the returning Tiger tight ends, while junior Colin Jeter, redshirt freshman Jacory Washington and true freshman Foster Moreau add much needed depth to the rotation.
Last season, LSU tight ends managed to bring in just 12 balls for 129 yards and haven’t had anyone haul in 20 passes since former LSU tight end Richard Dickson in 2008. But with athletic, versatile talent at the position, Smith said anyone from the group can surpass that total.
“We are all capable of [catching 20 passes],” Smith said. “It’s all about having trust with your quarterback. Showing and proving to them that you’re going to make big catches. I feel if we show and prove to them that were going to do that then there should be no problem that we’ll have 20 catches”
Gordon has played in 39 career games, starting all but one for the Tigers since 2013, and has been a key factor in the running game’s success. But he has been ineffective in the passing attack catching six balls for 88 yards during his LSU career.
Prior to last season, some thought Smith was set for a breakout year. Although he played in every game, he was held without a catch until the game against Notre Dame at the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tennessee, where he caught four passes for 66 yards. The junior tight end said he is confident his play will carry into this season.
“I definitely think I’ll be able to use those four catches as a boost for the upcoming season. I ended on a good note, and I need to start off on a good note,” Smith said. “If we get things going right, it should definitely be a good year.”
After transitioning to tight end from receiver during his first year, Washington could contribute to the revitalization of the receiving tight end for the Bayou Bengals.
The Westlake, Louisiana, native finished his senior year at Westlake High School with 518 yards and three touchdowns on 36 receptions before joining LSU and redshirting in 2014.
“Redshirting, I think it benefitted me a lot,” Washington said. “I feel like I can be a big help in the offense, my receiving skills opening up the middle for the outside guys. I feel like we can do some big things.”
According to 247Sports, Moreau is a three-star recruit but is looking to make an impression this season. He is a sure-handed athlete from New Orleans and finished his high school career with over 1,200 yards and 15 touchdowns.
“Looking at [freshmen tight ends] in their first scrimmage, it looks pretty good from what they can do,” Gordon said. “Just got to keep focusing on the little things, and they’ll be good come the fall.”