Florida State’s production at tight end dipped a year ago, something that was expected when it’s replacing the Mackey Award winner and most productive player at the position in school history in Nick O’Leary.
But Ryan Izzo emerged among the group of candidates, starting 11 games. Izzo was the Seminoles’ fifth leading receiver with 14 catches, 210 yards and 2 TDs. The other tight ends (Mavin Saunders, Jeremy Kerr) combined for seven catches
Izzo, who will be a redshirt sophomore in the fall, said he’s much more comfortable after two years in the program, one on the field.
“I think I’m just able to play faster,” he said. “Last year, trying to read coverages, a lot of our routes have so many variations to it in different coverages. Being able to play faster is the biggest thing.”
With a stable of talented skill players, Izzo is well aware of what coaches are looking for from their tight ends.
“I just want to keep growing in the run game,” he said. “I want to keep getting my opportunities in the pass game whenever they do come. But mainly the run game and perfecting my routes and trying to speak up and become more of a leader.”
All three tight ends from a year ago, along with Jalen Wilkerson, who red-shirted in 2015, return. They will be joined by incoming freshman Naseir Upshur. Kerr is out for the spring with a shoulder injury.
“We’ve got some great tight ends with Izzo and Mavin and those guys,” coach Jimbo Fisher said. “And Jalen Wilkerson will get his first taste of action.
“I’m looking forward to seeing some of those guys in action.”