The pro-style offense is bursting back on the scene in college football as the spread offense fad is starting to fade away. A large part of this pro-style evolution is due to the emergence of the tight end position at the pro ranks. The New England Patriots have displayed just exactly how lethal a two-tight end attack can be in the pro-style offense with Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski on the field at the same time.
The tight end position has evolved into one of the most unique positions on the football field. A good tight end must be able to transform into an offensive tackle at the line of scrimmage and a wide receiver in the passing game. The ideal tight end is too fast for an outside linebacker to cover and too big and physical for a safety or cornerback to cover. At 6-foot-6 and almost 270-pounds, Gronkowski is a matchup nightmare for any defender covering him because of his 4.6 forty-yard dash to go along with his massive athletic frame. Tight end Aaron Hernandez poses the same kind of issues for defenders at 6-foot-2 and 245-pounds but he is even more shifty and athletic than Gronkowski. You can catch Hernandez splitting out wide in the receiver position or even in the backfield taking a handoff like a running back.
Al Borges and the Wolverine offense will try and replicate what Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien has done with the Patriots. A key piece to this future attack came yesterday with the commitment from 2013 tight end prospect Khalid Hill (Detroit, MI/ Crockett) as the third member added to the class that already includes quarterback Shane Morris and athlete Dymonte Thomas. Hill will look to be the same type of tight end that Aaron Hernandez was at the University of Florida and now with the Patriots.
As a junior in high school, Hill already has a nice frame at nearly 6-foot-3, and 235 pounds. The first thing that really jumps off the tape about Hill is his catching radius. He can scoop a pass up off of his shoelaces or go up and make a tough catch well over his head. Hill also has good arm extension when making a catch, not allowing the ball to get close to his body. Hill is quarterback friendly and really makes an inaccurate pass look easy to catch with his natural adjustments. After the catch Hill shows an excellent burst of speed and can really make a bigger defender miss a tackle or plow over a smaller one. Hill does a great job of getting vertical on seam routes when lined up in the slot or attached at the line of scrimmage. Hill runs precise routes, really getting good separation from his opponent with sharp cuts and head nods.
Hill also lined up at defensive end for Crockett HS and recorded 55 total tackles with nine tackles for a loss and six sacks. Playing defensive end added to Hill’s toughness at the line of scrimmage. Hill is a very capable blocker at the line of scrimmage when at tight end but it is not his strongest attribute. He will need to improve his hand placement when blocking a defensive end or outside linebacker, which will ultimately improve his leverage. Hill can also do a better job at getting lower when blocking at the line of scrimmage, which will help his leverage as well.