It’s been a while since the Arizona State Sun Devils have had a notable tight end. It was a position that was essentially irrelevant under Dennis Erickson. That looks to have changed early into the Todd Graham Era, though.
Erickson relied on receivers and his running backs to make up the passing game, leaving the tight end spot basically ignored in anything but a blocking role. Through two games under Graham, it’s pretty clear that that is not the case anymore.
Junior Chris Coyle came into the season without much of anything on his resume. That has changed quickly, particularly thanks to his 10-catch performance against the Illinois Fighting Illini over the weekend. He finished with over 170 yards receiving and a pair of touchdowns.
The Sun Devils haven’t had a really successful tight end probably since Zach Miller. At 6’3”, 235 Coyle certainly has the size to be successful at the spot and he has good hands. He’s not only going to be used strictly as a tight end, either.
This coaching staff is going to use Coyle as something of an H-back. He’ll be at tight end, in the backfield, and split out wide. We’ve seen how this type of player has become an important piece at the next level (See: Hernandez, Aaron) and Coyle has an opportunity to start in that type of role.
Though there are some playmakers on offense, there isn’t too much in the way of folks to throw the ball to. Coyle has emerged as a top target and has developed some nice chemistry with quarterback Taylor Kelly.
Chris Coyle still has a ways to go to be in a league with the likes of Miller or
, but it’s clear he has the skill set to become a very good player for the Arizona State Sun Devils. A converted receiver, he seems to have found his niche at tight end. I look forward to seeing how his game comes along as the season progresses.