The University of Miami has enjoyed a recent tradition of great tight ends. It started with Bubba Franks, a first round pick of the Green Bay Packers. It continued with Jeremy Shockey, a first round pick of the New York Giants, and Kellen Winslow, a first round pick of the Cleveland Browns.
For the first time since before Franks, the Hurricanes do not have a superstar at the tight end position. However, this does not necessarily mean that the team has downgraded at tight end. Instead of having one superstar, this year’s offense features two very talented tight ends in Kevin Everett and Greg Olsen.
Both players are physical specimens, as they are both six-and-a-half feet tall. Everett, a junior college transfer, is currently second on the team in receptions, pulling in nine passes for 100 yards. His counterpart is the younger Olsen, a red-shirt freshman who has caught six passes for 104 yards.
Everett has impressed coaches with his good hands and ability to make plays. Olsen has been anointed by the Hurricane faithful as the next great Miami tight end, and being a freshman, he will have four years to prove that he is the next superstar at the position.
The anointed quarterback of the future, Kyle Wright, is also a red-shirt freshman, so Olsen and Wright will be together for their entire UM careers.
“I like Olsen and Everett a lot,” Head Coach Larry Coker said. “I think they are really good players.”
Even though this year’s team is built around its great defense, the tight ends have consistently played well so far. In four games they have combined for 15 catches and over 200 yards, along with making some punishing blocks for the running combination of Frank Gore and Tyrone Moss.
For the first time in the Coker era, the offense does not have one main tight end. Instead, they have two different players who can step onto the field and make plays. While Everett starts and sees the majority of the snaps, Olsen also gets on the field frequently, and even Buck Ortega sees snaps at the position. Ortega has also played well when given the opportunity.
“We don’t have one that is a superstar, because both of them have carried the load and played well.” Coker said. “I’ve been really pleased with both of them and also throw Buck Ortega into the mix. He’s looked real good too.”
So while the tight ends do not have the big names of the past, this year’s crew might have more balance and depth than any of the previous corps. It can rotate in and out without production going down.
If this team is going to win the national championship without a big-time wide receiver, it will need the tight ends to continue to play well. As Brock Berlin and the tight ends get accustomed to playing together, look for their production to continue to rise as the season goes on.
Darren Grossman can be contacted at