Steadily, not suddenly, the Tigers are rich in tight ends.
Versatile Jay Jay McCullough joined the fold this week, and will begin full-contact work by the weekend.
Because of depth at the position, the coaching staff should have the option of redshirting McCullough. If they do, McCullough will vie for a spot on the depth chart a year from now with three returnees and incoming freshman (currently a commitment) Jordan Leggett.
While senior Brandon Ford is expected to get the majority of snaps this season, the Tigers have an array of secondary options, including physical senior Darrell Smith (the team’s designated fullback), sophomore Sam Cooper and redshirt freshman Eric Mac Lain, as well as rangy, fast-developing Stanton Seckinger – like Ford, a converted wide receiver.
Dabo Swinney said Wednesday he has high hopes for Seckinger – both as a situational player this season and as a mainstay down the road.
“He’s a good football player,” said Swinney of Seckinger, a record-setting pass-catcher at Porter Gaud School in Charleston, S.C. “He’s nowhere near where he’s going to be, but he just has a lot of promise.
“He’s a long kid that’s got a lot of toughness. Football’s important to him, and winning is important to him. He’s not anywhere near where he’s going to be four years from now.”
Already, Swinney said Seckinger can be a matchup problem for opposing defenses.
“You can use him in the running game, because he has that toughness,” Swinney said. “He’s not quite as big we want him to be, but he’ll get there. He’s bigger than Brandon Ford was, and he’s tougher as a redshirt freshman.
“He’s got excellent ball-skills and he can run and is a very athletic player. We think he’s a guy who can bring a nice package to our system and gives us some flexibility in how we roll some of those guys in there.
“He makes plays. He’s not perfect, and, again not even close to the player he’s going to be. But we feel like he can plays and be a very reliable guy in certain situations this year.”