Spring Outlook: Tight End

KStateFans.com
Posted Feb 21, 2005


With the Dust settling on Signing Day, we take a look at the Tight End Position heading into Spring Ball.

There has always been a question asked when it comes to the position of tight end in the offensive scheme of Kansas State under Bill Snyder. Why doesn't the tight end get more passes thrown to them? That's a solid question, but if you're a tight end during the Snyder era your number of catches doesn't show the overall importance the position plays in the scheme of the offense.

Last season the tight ends only caught a total of 23 passes (22 by out going senior Brian Casey and 1 by Rashaad Norwood). Recruiting tight ends to play at Kansas State can be difficult at times because they only get a certain amount of reception opportunities.

Tight end is going to be an interesting position for the Wildcats in the fall. The past 2 years Bill Snyder has been blessed with two experienced tight ends (Thomas Hill and Brian Casey) who came through with big catches and could deliver key blocks.

Both are gone to graduation and the position of tight end is going to feature some young but talented candidates. There are only 2 tight ends on the depth chart and the team usually travels with 3 so this should end up being one of the more competitive position battles for playing time in the fall.

Sophomore to be Rashaad Norwood appeared in 11 games last year catching only 1 pass, but is considered to play a big part in the future at the tight end position. At 6-5 230 pounds the native of Kansas City could be the total package at tight end with speed, great hands and the ability to become an effective blocker.

Going into the season it could be his job to lose. Norwood red shirted his freshman year and hit the weights hard and built up his power and strength to combine it with his outstanding pass receiving skills and continue to improve his blocking.

Enter The Freshmen

Freshman to be Nate Prater will also find some playing time this season and could eventually challenge for a starting nod. Prater is one of the members of this recruiting class that Cat fans will see play immediately.

Prater a much-heralded player from Omaha, Nebraska brings solid blocking skills, and catching ability to next season's squad. He's the type of player that could play on both passing and running downs much like Brian Casey did last year. Prater does need to continue to get stronger, and improve

Prater is a versatile and talented athlete who also lettered in basketball along with track and field during high school and posses a 31-inch vertical leap.

The difference between Casey and Prater at this position is the 4.8 speed that he brings to the table that will cause the Kansas State coaching staff to use him a bit differently. Prater is coming into the season believing and preparing hard in the gym to compete for a playing time or a starting nod.

At 260 pounds Prater is likes to punish defenders and playing in the rugged Big 12 Conference he will meet up with many defenders wanting to do the same to him. One of the things that could help Prater is the way tight ends are used at K-State is during his junior year at Central High in Omaha Prater caught 31 passes, 10 for touchdowns in a run first offense.

A player who makes the most of each opportunity fits in perfectly with the way the tight end position is used in the Bill Snyder offense. Making the big block, the catch at the right time and working hard to improve every week is key.

Prater has the smarts (3.8 GPA) and the physical ability to excel for the Wildcats but when you put the pads on and go head to head in the Big 12 it's an entirely different world.

Norwood and Prater will go head to head for playing time, and both players have tons of potential. Both will have to bring it to the field day in day out, both in practice and games. The sheer competition of the two during pre-season practice will bring more attention to the tight end position than in the past. This is where the conversations stop and potential either becomes reality or just talk.
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