Viva Loudoun college intern Joe Bushrod a graduate of Loudoun County High School and current student at Old Dominion University, has been scouting the returning Loudoun football players and will offer his top 5 at each position.
Previously Joe covered the Top 5 quarterbacks, top 5 offensive guards/centers, top 5 offensive tackles, and top 5 defensive ends. Today he continues with his top 5 tight ends and the No. 1 returning player at this position is Sean Tracy of Stone Bridge.
1. Sean Tracy (SR) Stone Bridge 6’2 230
Sean Tracy is the true definition of a coach’s player. Tracy’s outlook on football is seek and destroy, the kid just loves to hit. Many skill position players tend to become unhappy when they never receive the ball or when the play-calling isn’t calling their number. Not Sean Tracy. Even though he is one of the top athletes for the Bulldogs, he knows his role, and without him this offense just would not be as successful. Head Coach Mickey Thompson stated that Sean Tracy has the “best hands” on the team when referring to his players ability and consistency of catching the ball. It is not often we see Tracy go out for a pass as one of his primary roles is playing as the blocking back in this spinner S’Wing-T offense. Believe me when I say the last thing opposing linebackers and defensive backs want to see each play, is Sean Tracy lead blocking around the edge for the speedy Sterling Dailey. In college I see Tracy as a great fit at fullback as most college coaches prefer their tight end’s to be taller than 6’4.
2. Mark Birmingham (SO) Briar Woods 6’3 205
I would not be surprised if Mark Birmingham led all tight ends in receiving in 2013. With the tight end often being the closest receiver to the QB, it is more likely that check-downs will fall into his hands as well as redzone targets. As a freshman, this kid was able to crack the defensive line and tight end rotation on a team that was already 2x state champions, only to help them attain their 3rd straight title. Birmingham already has tremendous size at the tight end spot and he combines that with soft hands and proper route running. As a route runner, Birmingham already shows great awareness by finding the gaps in the defense while also being able catch the ball in traffic. Birmingham will be in the ideal situation to succeed with the area’s top quarterback gunning the ball to him in Trace McSorley. At the receiver position he has the talents of Brandon Polk to spread the defense and demand attention of the near-side safety on every play. Another weapon lingering between tight end and wide receiver is top pass-catcher in Melvin Holland Jr. So with his talent as a tight end and the many weapons around him, look for Mark Birmingham to become the premier tight end in Loudoun County.
3. Chad Smith (JR) Dominion 6’4 210
Chad Smith is the most versatile player on this tight ends list and the most versatile player on the Dominion Titans roster. Starring as the middle linebacker on the defense, he is also one of the top targets for quarterback Donnie Gasser. One of the hardest parts about game-planning for this 6’4 target is his tendency to line up anywhere on the field. While lining up at wide receiver, fullback, or his natural tight end spot, Chad Smith can hurt you on any play. Smith can also stay in and provide great pass protection or powerful run blocking. As he is only a junior, he dominance on both sides of the ball should only continue to increase.
4. Josh Ammon (JR) John Champe 6’ 185
Josh Ammon comes in as the shortest of the tight end group but still poses as a dual-threat on the field. While Ammon mans the safety position for John Champe, he also has a strong hold on the tight end position. This is a player that may not play on the most talented team–new John Champe did not open with seniors last season — but he sure shows leadership in the way he plays the game. Easily the most dependable pass-catcher on the team, Josh Ammon is a young player on the rise. Count on Ammon to be one of the leading receivers and leading tacklers for the John Champe Knights.
5. Thomas Carter (SR) Park View 6’4 230
Rounding out the tight end portion of the weekly scouting report is Park View’s Thomas Carter. Carter has tremendous size and strength for the tight end position. Carter is most often used for his ability to block and overpower defenders. Even when flexed out wide he is mostly used as a blocker. With Carter’s tremendous size I recommend giving him a few targets when the Patriots get toward the endzone. Even if a defender is in fairly good position, Carter can use his length to snatch the ball and his body to shield away defenders. While he may not put up the most receiving numbers, he will block until the whistle blows and cause headaches for those lined up against him.