2023 Maryland football position overview: tight ends

Maryland’s tight ends have consistently been a big part of head coach Mike Locksley’s offenses and with former Texas A&M and Arizona head coach Kevin Sumlin taking over the unit, veteran Corey Dyches leads a room that boasts multiple underclassmen looking to carve out their roles in 2023.

Entering his redshirt junior season, Dyches will look to take the young room under his wings as he puts together his own case to play on Sundays. Dyches enters fall camp as the leader of the unit as the dynamic receiving threat gives Taulia Tagovailoa a reliable target over the middle Through three seasons, Dyches has a stat line of 58 receptions for 703 yards and seven touchdowns and despite all the targets that Tagovailoa has in his arsenal in this offense, Dyches is arguably the most well-rounded. Along with his much-improved run blocking that he showed last season, Dyches is a guy that can do just about any route you ask him to out of the tight end spot or out of the slot which he lined up at times last season as well. His background as a wide receiver and redzone nightmare in high school helps him understand route running concepts even more then some tight ends normally would. Dyches will look to build on his profile as a dynamic receiving threat after finishing second on the team in receiving yards and third in receptions last season.

Dyches may be the only upperclassman in the room, but Leron Husbands will get a chance to step up heading into his redshirt sophomore year after appearing in one game last season. Maryland will look to fill a key need for a blocking tight end as tight ends coach Kevin Sumlin works with the new unit and while he hasn’t proven it yet, Husbands is a candidate to fill that void. The balanced tight end has battled injuries his first two seasons as he looks to take advantage heading into camp.

Meanwhile, Preston Howard heads into his second season and is another athletic piece who flashed through the spring en route to becoming the offensive selection for Most Improved Freshman Award following the spring game. Although he played quarterback in high school, Howard drew interest mainly as an athlete with former assistant Mike Miller recruiting him on the offensive side of the ball with his athleticism at 6-foot-6 an attraction to bolster the tight end room. Howard missed the bulk of his freshman season with a foot injury, but after a full year with the program and a strong spring, the McDonogh alum will have chances to flash his athleticism across the field.

Howard and freshman Rico Walker give the room a pair of young dynamic pass catchers as Walker, a former four-star out of North Carolina, is one of three new additions to the room. Walker was an athlete coming out of high school with him being a target to potentially play on either side of the ball for the Terps. Many argued his NFL potential sat as an edge rusher, but Walker’s interest in playing offense along with his natural athleticism for his sturdy frame made him an ideal fit in Locksley’s offense. Walker’s length and catch radius give the room another receiving threat who can complement Corey Dyches in the redzone.

Dylan Wade is the latest Florida product on the Terps roster as the multi-sport athlete out of Jones High School lined up as a defensive end in hopes of lining up on the other side of the ball. But after enrolling in January, Wade joins the program as a tight end and his size and skillset make him another ideal fit in Locksley’s offense. Maryland also signed Loyola Blakefield (MD) tight end AJ Szymanski where he could possibly be looked at when the Terps will be looking for an extra blocker in short yardage situations while still being a target for the short pass. Both Wade and Szymanski add to the future of the room with a chance to redshirt in 2023.

Bold Prediction: Tight Ends total over 900 receiving yards and 9 receiving touchdowns on the season

Finding a dependable blocking tight end will be the biggest question for the room, but the unit features several athletic weapons for the unit to remain as much of a threat in the Terps’ passing game as it was last season. Maryland’s wide receiver room may not boast the national buzz that it did last fall, but the veteran room gives Taulia Tagovailoa ample options and just like last season, Dyches will step back into the feature role he assumed following Chigoziem Okonkwo’s departure. Dyches proved himself to be a reliable target last season and will be looking to have an even larger role this season while guys like Walker and Howard will look to prove they belong as they give fans a glimpse into the future.

In addition to their non-conference schedule, Maryland will face the Big Ten’s three worst passing defenses from last season in Nebraska, Indiana, and Michigan State, which adds an early sense of confidence to Maryland’s aerial attack through conference play.

Related Links

Maryland adds non-conference game to 2023-24 schedule

Preseason buzz continues for Maryland safety Beau Brade

Virginia WR Mekhai White updates recruitment, suitors, timeline (+)

Maryland Football Film Breakdown: CB Ja’Quan Sheppard

Maryland basketball makes the cut for nation’s top point guard