When you have so much attention paid to the quarterbacks, running backs, and a usual stream of NFL-ready offensive linemen, sometimes, the tight ends can be the unsung heroes of the Boston College offense. The Eagles can boast some talent at the position, however, and in the upcoming 2011 season, a lot of it will be experienced, but some of it will be emerging in front of our eyes.
Lars Anderson (not to be confused with the Red Sox prospect of the same name) is one of those guys who seems like he’s been on the Eagles forever, going out there every game and doing his job. His stat line would indicate that he’s usually not going to catch more than a pass or two per game, but he’ll get a decent amount of playing time in every game. During the 2009 season, he made ten starts at fullback as well, so the Eagles can use him in a few different ways as a back, a blocker, and a receiver.
Darmstatter was a 2010 recruit and subsequent redshirt-wearer, but in high school, he did a good job catching the ball, catching twenty passes in each his junior and senior years. He also played on the defensive side of the ball for Barnegat (NJ) High. Darmstatter is believed to be better at receiving than blocking (though he’s not bad at blocking), so he may emerge as another option for Rettig for catching the football when he’s in on plays.
Foxen, who comes from a leisurely half-hour drive away from my residence in Downstate NY (look it up), is one of the few players I’ve come across so far that simply hasn’t appeared in any games. Foxen is considered a “valuable scout team player” as they put it so I wouldn’t expect to see him much, if at all. He was a three-sport athlete and two-position football player in high school.
Naples joined the Eagles in 2009, after having decommitted from East Carolina, whereupon arriving he redshirted. In 2010, he made eleven appearances but hasn’t recorded any catches yet in his Boston College playing career. I expect fairly limited playing time in any event.
Here, in all likelihood, is your starting tight end for the Eagles in 2011. Since he redshirted in 2008, over the course of the 2009 and 2010 seasons, he has played in all twenty-six games and started twenty-four of them. He did such a good job last season that he ended up being the team’s second-most productive receiver behind Bobby Swigert. He caught 31 passes for 338 yards and a touchdown last season and was one of the key targets for BC quarterbacks. Pantale currently sits on the Mackey Award Preseason Watch List, for the award given to the nation’s best tight end. He will likely be a significant part of the Eagles’ offense this upcoming season.
Miller is a 2011 recruit and one of the key additions to the roster. A four-star local recruit from Andover, Miller turned down offers from big-time programs like Iowa, Miami, and Penn State to play for Boston College, and the high school scouting reports glow about him. In fact, Rivals listed him as the top recruit from Massachusetts in the 2011 class. All of that said, I bet he’s redshirting this season — at least, if it were up to me, I’d redshirt him and save him for the future. There is no urgent need for Miller to play in 2011.
The tight end position would seem to be one of the least of the Eagles’ worries, both now and in the foreseeable future. Chris Pantale and Lars Anderson have this spot locked down, and stud recruit Miller would seem to be the star of the future (with any luck). With a new offensive coordinator coming in, it remains to be seen how much involvement tight ends will get in receiving, but if it’s anything like last year, then Pantale will be one of Chase Rettig’s main targets.