It came as no surprise when Missouri coach Gary Pinkel traded in his old tight ends for new, sleeker models.
Missouri tight ends combined for 19 catches, 182 yards and two touchdowns in 2002.
Three new tight ends reported to camp Wednesday with every intention of working their way up the depth chart at one of the Tigers’ most loaded positions.
Victor Sesay, a 6-foot-6 transfer, has been a standout in Missouri’s first two practices. Sesay said he brings a new dimension to the Tigers’ offense.
“I’m not your old-fashioned tight end,” Sesay said. “I’m what I like to call a 2003 tight end where I can catch the ball and move it upfield. Being a big guy, I am pretty fast. That’s my game and that’s what I bring to the table.”
Sesay caught 20 passes for 285 yards and three touchdowns at Ventura (Calif.) College where he was a second-team All-American last season.
Pinkel said Sesay has a chance to be a great tight end for the Tigers because of his size and speed.
“He’s athletic, he can change direction and he catches the ball well,” Pinkel said. “He looks like he weighs 230 and he weighs 270 so he is a pretty remarkable athlete.”
Sesay is not the only welcome addition to the position. Freshmen Josh Barbo and Martin Rucker also signed with Missouri on Feb. 5.
Returning starter J.D. McCoy said he is impressed with Rucker and Barbo in early workouts. McCoy caught eight passes for 58 yards and a touchdown last season and said he will do everything he can to keep his job.
“I’m just going to do what I can do and play within myself because I know I can play out there,” McCoy said. “Everything else will just take care of itself.”
With the amount of talent the Tigers have added, opponents might see more of the Tigers’ three tight end sets in addition to the “doubles” set, which features two tight ends.
“Doubles” is the base set for the Tigers’ offense. With the athleticism of Sesay and redshirt freshman DeQuincy Howard and the blocking abilities of McCoy, tight end might become a prominent position in Pinkel’s offense.
Howard, who runs a 4.68-second 40-yard dash, said the competition from Sesay and the other tight ends will help make him a better player.
“Victor here has more experience than me,” Howard said. “With the guys we have and the other young guys I think it will work out real well.”
McCoy is at the top of the depth chart, with junior Clint Matthews and Howard behind him.
Sesay said he will take his time and work his way up the chart by working hard in practice every day.
“Right now is just like a waiting game and being patient,” Sesay said. “You can’t just come in here no matter who you are and expect to rise to the top.
“I feel as though I have a lot of talent and a lot of experience and I have a lot to offer, but at the same time it’s a team game, so whatever they ask me to do I’m going to do it.”