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FIU 2017 Outlook: Tight Ends - Will they be a factor under Butch

Ron Turner produced solid tight ends but with Butch in town they may become nonexistent.

Florida International v Charlotte Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images

New FIU head coach Butch Davis signed the best recruiting class in recent memory for FIU as the Panthers signed the fourth best recruiting class in Conference USA, with 12 three star recruits set to call Miami their next home. We will take a look at the new roster and do a position-by-position breakdown of what the roster looks like going into Spring Camp.

Previously: Quarterbacks, Running Backs, Wide Receivers

Returning Contributors: A.J. Branisel (SR), 12 Catches for 163 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Incoming recruits: None

What we know: Not too much really. Jonnu Smith was one of FIU’s most reliable pass catchers over the past few seasons. He earned All-Conference USA Second-Team honors last year with 42 catches for 505 yards and four touchdowns.

Now that he’s off to the NFL FIU has a huge void to fill at this position. A.j. Branisel was mainly used as a red zone target last year but when his number was called he delivered. Junior Mac Carey also saw the field but he recorded just one reception in 2016.

Branisel could be an option in Rick Skrosky’s offense but I wouldn’t count on it. Given the depth at the receiver position he could be used primarily in a red zone role like last year.

Final thought: Butch Davis’ transition to a spread offense might mean decreased production from FIU tight ends not only this season but going forward. South Florida has speed for days. It would make sense for Davis to primarily focus his recruiting efforts on speed rather than size.

Positon grade: C. A.J. Bransiel didn’t see much targets last year but he made the most of his opportunities. Four touchdown receptions is nothing to scoff at despite the limited opportunities. The depth behind him however is unknown.