I know you must be thinking, “A breakout tight end at LSU? Impossible. How does a player breakout if he’s anchored to the o-line while the running backs do all of the heavy lifting?’ Traditionally, you’d be correct to think these things; however, the times are a changing, my friend, and one guy has the ability and the situation to do what no other LSU tight end has done in recent memory…catch the football early and often!
Who’s the guy?
Going back to the 2012 LHSAA State Championship in the Superdome, many a casual fan flooded the place to see the high powered offense from Barbe and their start receiver, junior Trey Quinn, take on Archbishop Rummel. However, another four star pass catcher by the name of Desean Smith stole the show. Quite simply, the guy was uncoverable that night…the only piece of the Barbe offense that Rummel couldn’t stop. He ended the game with 4 catches for 85 yards and two scores. While that may not seem like much, consider that his QB only had 167 yards on the night, and Desean snared a hail mary at the end of the first half that was called back.
What is working in his favor?
Traditionally, LSU has stuck to a power running formation and often uses multiple tight ends as extra blockers. Cam Cameron and his penchant for using tight ends was supposed to change that; however, with Mettenberger’s cannon and the talented WR duo he was throwing to, it just wasn’t necessary. Desean Smith was rarely on the field, using the 2013 season to add weight and learn the playbook.
2014 brings quite a change of scenery to the LSU offense, and that boasts favorably for Smith. He’ll be amongst the most experienced pass catchers on the team, and undoubtedly an important safety valve for a young and inexperienced quarterback. Oh and he did something several Tigers pass catchers failed to do last year…he caught a pass!
Why will he definitely break out?
Desean Smith is a rare combination of size and speed at the tight end position; a true receiving threat that high points the ball and uses his body to shield defenders. One that you have no choice to but to use in the passing game because of mismatches in the seam, and quite frankly the Tigers need him if they are going to move the ball down-field with anyone not named Dural, Fournette, or Magee.
As for the blocking duties of the LSU tight end …Dillon Gordon weighs 295; he’s got that part of the offense covered.