John Denton's Knights Insider: Season Preview Part 5 of 9 - Tight Ends and H-Backs

July 31, 2010

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Previous Positional Previews: QB | RB | WR | OL

By John Denton

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Here is a breakdown of UCF's tight ends and H-back positions.

Training camp opens Aug. 5 and the Knights kick off the regular season on Sept. 4 at Bright House Networks Stadium against South Dakota.

POSITION: Tight ends/H-backs

PROJECTED STARTERS: TE Adam Nissley (6-6, 265, RJr.); HB Ricky Kay (6-3, 243, Sr.).

KEY RESERVES: Willie Gaetjens (6-5, 241, RJr.); Latavius Murray (6-3, 217, RSo.).

PLAYER TO WATCH: Adam Nissley. At 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds, Nissley has prototypical tight end size to one day play in the NFL. And if he plays like he did late last season that dream could become a reality. Nissley has the rare combination of great size, strength and speed (4.7 seconds in the 40-yard dash), making him the perfect complement to UCF's experienced offensive line and its speedy corps of receivers. He can bench press 505 pounds and he recently benched 225 pounds 35 times. He started slowly last season, but picked it up four games into the year. He ended up averaging 15.9 yards a catch and is hoping more balls come his way this season.

STRENGTHS: In Nissley and Ricky Kay, the Knights have two pass catchers who are as sure handed as any tight end or H-back in Conference USA. Nissley has a chance to be an all-conference performer if he can become more involved in the pass game and Kay could be poised for a huge season with two young quarterbacks who will undoubtedly lean on their tight ends and H-backs for short, safe throws. Nissley also has the size and strength to become a dominant blocker. The combination of him and 6-foot-7 Jah Reid on the right side gives the Knights a wall of powerful blockers.

WEAKNESSES: Depth might be the only concern at these two spots, but that could be cleared up by the return to health of Latavius Murray. The former tailback moves to H-back after injuring his knee last season. He gives the Knights a legitimate deep threat down the middle to keep safeties from cheating over on the outside receivers.

COACH'S QUOTE: ``It took Adam four games to realize what he should be doing and the big word that we used with him after he was playing so-so was `assertive.' As we go back and watch the tapes, you see the progress that he made. He's had a really good offseason with the weight room, getting stronger even though he's already a pretty strong kid. We'd like him to take off from where he left off. And he should.'' -- UCF tight ends coach Tim Salem


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John Denton's Knights Insider appears on UCFAthletics.com several times a week. E-mail John at jdenton@athletics.ucf.edu.