WHAT’S AUCOIN STEPPING INTO?
Depends on whether he’ll be the latest tight end asked to block and help power Texas’ running game or whether he’ll become an actual passing threat at the position that we haven’t seen since, well, awhile. He definitely was the former, not the latter, in high school. Texas has four tight ends in play, but one is a former defensive end (Caleb Bluiett) and another is a former linebacker (Andrew Beck) and another is a former wide receiver (Garrett Gray) and another hasn’t played a single snap in his first two years on campus (Blake Whiteley).
RECENT HISTORY: TIGHT ENDS
Texas’ top tight ends
The Longhorns’ top-performing tight ends and freshmen tight ends over the past three years:
2015: Caleb Bluiett, 8-167-2; freshman — None
2014: M.J. McFarland, 11-53-2; freshman — None
2013: Greg Daniels, 3-28-0; freshman — Geoff Swaim, 3-14-0
Freshmen on the field
The Longhorns played 16 freshmen in 2015, which led the nation. None of them were tight ends, though. The one tight end they signed last year ended up not qualifying academically. And their redshirt freshman was hurt all season.
RECENT SIGNINGS: TIGHT ENDS
The last five tight ends Texas has signed. It’s not a position that has generated a lot of buzz — either in terms of quantity or quality — over the past decade; since the last national championship game appearance, which stretches back six recruiting classes, Texas has signed only five tight ends. Numbers in parenthesis reflect that player’s star rating from 247Sports’ composite ratings:
2016: Peyton Aucoin, New Orleans Brother Martin (3). Had two career catches in high school, but was regarded as an extremely physical blocker.
2015: Devonaire Clarington, Miami Washington (4). At 6-5, 238, he was a very intriguing signee. But he never made it to campus because of an ACT issue. UT moved on.
2014: Blake Whiteley, Arizona Western College (3). Hasn’t played a snap yet. Went through spring football as an early enrollee in 2014, but redshirted that fall. Then he missed last season with an injury.
2013: Geoff Swaim, Butte College (3). A pair of rarities — a Longhorn actually drafted by the Cowboys (7th round, 2015) and a Longhorn tight end who’s actually playing in the NFL. He played in four games as a rookie, getting the start against the Patriots. But he was a blocker, not a catcher, at Texas — 22 career starts, only 13 catches.
2011: M.J. McFarland, El Paso El Dorado (3). A star-crossed, hot-and-cold career. Redshirted in 2011, then had 8 catches for 125 yard and a touchdown in 2012, then didn’t make a single catch in 2013, then started four games in 2014 and had 11 catches for 53 yards and two touchdowns. Then, having already graduated, McFarland transferred early in 2015 to UTEP, back in his hometown of El Paso. He would have had one year of eligibility with UTEP, but he never played. He and the Miners parted ways when he failed a drug test — McFarland’s Twitter explanation was that he’d unintentionally taken a banned substance while trying to recover from a concussion that he suffered during spring football.
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