UCF Preview: Tight Ends

The tight end position has been sparingly used by the UCF offense during the tenure of head coach George O’Leary. In the nine seasons that O’Leary has been with the program, the use of the position has transformed from a receiving focus to a block-first approach.

Back in the 2005 season, when Brandon Marshall and Mike Sims-Walker were ruling as premier wide outs, Darcey Johnson tallied the second most productive seasons for a UCF tight end.

Johnson, a Mike Kruczek recruit, posted 36 receptions for 435 yards and two touchdowns that year. He finishing just six yards shy of the UCF tight end single-season yards record which was set in 1987 by Don Grayson (50 receptions for 441 yards).

This season there are six tight ends on the roster. Two true freshmen that will likely earn redshirts, one redshirt freshmen, one true sophomore, and two redshirt juniors.

Here is a break down of the three players that are most likely to see the majority of playing time this season.

Chris Martin:

Martin, a redshirt junior, is playing tight end for the first time since high school. After three years under his belt as an offensive lineman with the program, a change of position has been made to accommodate the lack of depth at the tight end spot.

Considered a blocking-style tight end, Martin, has the athleticism to get down field to make key blocks that the offense requires. Standing at 6-foot 5-inches and 285 lbs, Martin also has the uncanny ability to use his hands to haul in passes as rout runner.

“I think I will be able to help block for the running and passing game,” Martin said. “My size could create some mismatches against defenders, I’m working to prove I can make any catch on the field.”

Martin is expected to be the starting tight end for the Knights when the season begins. However, if he is unable to show the ability to receive, he may have a short leash when it comes to making starts.

D.J. Brown

A converted high school defensive end, Brown has seen little action since arriving to UCF. Appearing in just two games in two active seasons, little is known on whether he can be much of a receiving threat from the Knights.

Justin Tukes

Tukes appeared in five games last year totaling a whopping 2 receptions for 18 yards. Playing behind starter Adam Nissley, Tukes was used mainly as a blocker. He brings tremendous size and athleticisms and could be the Knights best option when it comes to a receiving tight end.