Spring Preview: Tight Ends
April 5, 2016

Minnesota has passed for 68 touchdowns since 2011 and 29 of those passes (42.6%) have landed in the reliable hands of a tight end.

The most reliable of those hands last year belonged to CoSIDA Academic All-America second team member Brandon Lingen. The Wayzata, Minn., native played in 12 games last year and started 10. He caught 33 passes for 428 yards and three touchdowns. Lingen also had two 100-yard receiving games (111 yards against Michigan and 106 at Iowa) to become the first Gopher tight end to have two 100-yard games in the same season since at least 1950. His 111 yards against Michigan were the fourth-most by a Gopher tight end since 1950 and were the most by a tight end since Ben Utecht had 104 against Wisconsin in 2001.

Nate Wozniak, who at 6-10 is the tallest skill player in college football, started 12 games last season and played in all 13. A capable blocker, the imposing Wozniak also snagged eight passes for 75 yards a year ago. His most productive game last year was against Kent State when he caught three passes for 40 yards. He also made two catches at Colorado State and had one catch each against TCU, Ohio State and Central Michigan.

Nick Hart is another Gopher grown tight end from Prior Lake, Minn. Hart started one game last season and played in eight. He ended his campaign with nine catches for 84 yards. Hart wasn’t targeted often, but when he was it was during big moments. His first career catch was a 14-yard gain against Colorado State that came on the team’s game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter. Hart also caught two passes on Minnesota’s game-winning drive in the fourth quarter against Ohio.

Duke Anyanwu is Minnesota’s third and final tight end from the Gopher state on the roster. The Blaine, Minn., native has been plagued by injuries most of his career, but is hopeful to return in 2016. Anyanwu has missed most of three seasons (2012, 2014 and 2015) with injuries. He played in one game in 2013, where he saw action on special teams against Western Illinois. Anyanwu, who was granted a sixth season of eligibility, has two seasons of competition remaining (2016-17 and 2017-18).

Minnesota redshirted two tight ends last season in Colton Beebe and Bryce Witham. Beebe is from Kansas City, Kan., and was a four-year letterwinner at Piper High School, where he caught 47 career passes for 615 yards and eight touchdowns. He also rushed 336 times for 1,594 yards and 28 scores during his career. Beebe can also play fullback for the Gophers if needed.

Witham attended West Catholic High School in Grand Rapids, Mich., and helped lead the Falcons to back-to-back state championships. He caught 16 touchdown passes and amassed nearly 800 receiving yards as a senior.
 

 

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