Dions Sims (above) Brian Linthicum and Garrett Celek are all NFL worthy talents on the Spartans Tight End brigade.  Photo courtesy of Troy Benoit.

Dions Sims (above) Brian Linthicum and Garrett Celek are all NFL worthy talents on the Spartans Tight End brigade. Photo courtesy of Troy Benoit.

MSU returns a bevy of talented running backs and will likely add another to the playing mix. We all know that Baker, Caper and Bell are talented high-level tailbacks, but a fourth is emerging. Nick Hill will see some time on the field this year and be ready if someone goes down with an injury. Nobody disputes the talent at running back, quarterback (Cousins, Maxwell and Nichol) or wide receiver (Cunningham, Martin, Nichol, Fowler, Mumphrey, Spencer and Lippett), but few are talking about the depth and potential of the MSU tight ends.

Charlie Gantt has graduated. It is largely seen by most outside analysts as a loss. We’ll miss Charlie ‘cause he’s one of us. As far as MSU’s rotation is concerned, it is really a two for one scenario.

Last season MSU was without Garrett Celek and Dion Sims. Celek was nursing his way through two years of injuries while Sims was paying his debt to society. We are proud of Dion. He has done everything that was asked of him to make things right while continuing his education and handling his legal business. We stand firmly behind Coach’s decision to reinstate Dion. His return changes things for the MSU offense.

The depth at the tight end position is incredible. They are arguably the best group of tight ends in the Big Ten and among the top 5 nationally. Let’s take a look.

  1. Brian Linthicum, senior, 6’5”, 252 pounds. Good ball skills. Catches the ball well in traffic. Excellent athlete. Has become a better blocker, but could become more dominant this season. Should have a big year.
  2. Garret Celek, junior, 6’5”, 250 pounds. Another tight end with the prototypical Big Ten body. Likes to block. Looks good setting the edge. Good hands and can be counted on as a reliable receiver. Should make up for the loss of Gantt immediately. Hungry to play and be productive after last season’s injury.
  3. Dion Sims, sophomore, 6’6”, weight (somewhere between 280-300). Sims is going to play on Sundays. He is an elite athlete with all of the God given tools. Sims looks like an offensive tackle and has the foot speed of tight end. He has the soft hands of a dominant player in the post and is a mismatch for every team that we play on our schedule.
  4. Derek Hoebing, sophomore, 6’7”, 265 pounds. Derek Hoebing is quite the physical presence. He saw action as a redshirt freshman last season during mop up duty. He is a good tight end with solid hands and blocking ability. He is going to play a lot of football during his MSU career. It just won’t be this year. Expect to see Derek playing special teams, mop up duty and the rare occasion we put 3 or more tight ends in the game as blockers.

This group is as good as it gets. They are as consistent and deep as any unit at Michigan State. They present problems for everyone on our schedule because these guys are all dual threat options. They are all solid blockers, good or elite athletes that possess foot speed and have the hands to take the ball out of the air against smaller defenders. A number of Big Ten linebackers will find these guys difficult to handle. Big Ten safeties will struggle to deal with their physical presence and body types.

If Dan Roushar is committed to opening the offense up on early downs, then this group is poised for a big year. All of these tight ends have the ability to get vertical and catch the ball downfield. It is time we put these guys to work and turn ‘em loose.