The offensive side of the ball for the San Diego State Aztecs has some of the brightest spots on the roster especially with Donnel Pumphrey at running back, and Lloyd Mills and Mikah Holder both at wide receiver. With an expected quarterback change, what are the realistic expectations at the tight end position for the Aztecs in 2015?
The Aztecs will remain committed to the run and will focus on other skill players to catch the ball.
Head coach Rocky Long is not shy about his admiration for the tight ends' run blocking skills, so it's safe to assume the tight ends will block first and catch the few balls that are thrown their way. Any production from the tight ends is sure to improve with either Maxwell Smith or Jake Rodrigues, since Quinn Kaehler poorly managed to get the tight ends involved in 2014.
There are three true tight ends on the roster in junior Daniel Brunskill who saw nine targets last year, sophomore David Wells who only appeared in one game in 2014, and sophomore Darryl Richardson who hasn't cashed in on his great potential.
It's no secret that the tight ends don't have the hands and skill of former Aztec tight end, Gavin Escobar, but of the three current tight ends Brunskill looks to earn majority of the reps. Long identified Brunskill's reliability at blocking and improvement in catching and with a more consistent signal caller, Brunskill should see 20-plus targets in 2015.
There are more skills to hone as the summer progresses. Not only will catching passes continue to be a focus for the tight ends, but pass blocking will be a big issue moving forward. The offensive line returns three starters and will start two first-timers, so the first team will need the tight ends on pass protection for the time being.