Mike Gesicki has the starting tight end position locked down. Behind him, things are less clear with redshirt sophomores Jonathan Holland and Nick Bowers competing for the second slot on the depth chart. While Bowers has had his career hampered by injuries, at 6-4 and 268 lbs his size alone will make it difficult for Holland to run away with the job.
With that said, reports have been encouraging for Jonathan Holland this offseason. His teammate Juwan Johnson praised the work that Holland has done this offseason, and the progress he’s made in understanding the offense. It’s always reassuring to read that the game has started to slow down for a player, which is what has been said of Holland lately. His 8 catches for 62 yards in the Blue-White game is the most tangible evidence of his improvement that we’ll see before kick-off against Akron.
Playing last year behind Gesicki and Pancoast on the depth chart, Holland’s impact was felt on special teams where he performed admirably. Still, there is a difference between coaches saying you can catch and block, and proving it on the field. It is concerning to note that with 0 career catches, Jonathan Holland is in a tie for 2nd among the team’s tight ends in receptions. September’s schedule should allow for either Holland or Bowers to get some playing time and reassure coaches and fans about the depth behind Mike Gesicki.