Out of all of the positions we’ve previewed thus far, this group is probably the most mysterious. The official roster lists eight tight ends who have combined to catch a total of 16 passes in college football across their careers.
As with the receiver group, there are some guys who technically have college experience, but who have yet to really see the field. To distinguish between them and the guys who have a bit more college pedigree, I’ll use the same distinctions as I did in that article.
Let’s take a look at who we have:
- R-So James Bomba
- R-So Aaron Steinfeldt
- Jr Sam Daugstrup
- So Ryan Miller
- Sr Trey Walker
- So Brody Foley
- R-Sr Bradley Archer (transfer from Stanford)
- So Zachary Scott (transfer from Blinn College)
- Fr Sam West (3-star recruit, #42 TE in class of 2023)
- Fr Anthony Miller Jr. (3-star recruit, #60 TE in class of 2023)
As mentioned above, not many of these guys have very much college experience. On paper, Bradley Archer appears to be the most experienced, having played four full seasons of college football and recording stats in three of them.
One might assume that he will at least be in competition for a prominent spot in the rotation considering his decision to join the Hoosiers. On the other hand, both James Bomba and Aaron Steinfeldt recorded more receptions last year than Archer has in his career to this point.
Looking at this group’s production from last year, it doesn’t seem likely that any of these guys will replace A.J. Barner’s production on their own. Barner was third on the team in receptions last year with 28 catches for 199 yards and three touchdowns.
The Hoosiers are also adding Zachary Scott, a transfer from the junior college ranks. Last year at Blinn College, he played in all nine games and recorded one catch for five yards. Unranked as both a high school recruit and junior college transfer, Tom Allen and company are hoping he can develop into a contributor in the Big Ten.
Another intriguing player is Sam Daugstrup, who had earned time on the special teams unit against Idaho before suffering a season-ending injury in the bye week. In a group full of guys who lack true experience, he’s somebody to keep an eye on as a guy who as earned Tom Allen’s trust in his systems.
While there doesn’t appear to be a ton of depth at this position, I wouldn’t expect much from either Sam West or Anthony Miller Jr. this season. They compare favorably to guys like James Bomba or Aaron Steinfeldt, who both redshirted their first seasons before making it into the offensive rotation.
Based on past production, I don’t think any of these guys have a clear advantage in the competition for a starting spot. Steinfeldt, Bomba, and Archer will likely be the top three, but it remains to be seen which of these guys will separate themselves and end up with the most targets this coming season.