We aren’t just a basketball site here at Otto’s Grove, as we love us some Syracuse football as well. The season may not have gone quite as well as we had hoped, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have some things to start looking forward to as we move ahead. One of those things is the excitement surrounding tight end prospect Trey Dunkelberger, who is signing his letter of intent today.

Prospect Info: 
#7 TE Trey Dunkelberger – Los Angeles Pierce CC
6’5, 245lbs
4.56 40 yard dash
34″ Vertical
335 Bench Press
495 Squat
11.2 100m dash
Offers from – Syracuse, Cincinati, Akron
Interests: Many came a calling, Trey told them to dunk off

Tale of the Tape:

TD stands for touchdown. There are many SU fans who hope Trey Dunkelberger will live up to his initials. So what can we gather from a 4 minute highlight tape that consists of a couple of catches, and mostly blocking? Well, there are a couple of things to take note of. The first item to take away is how fundamentally sound his stance is. His butt is down, his back is straight. It allows him to keep low out of his stance so there is no wasted time leading up to the point of contact.

There’s a reason many coaches are looking for Tight Ends with TD’s measurables. It’s called the Jimmy Graham effect. “Can we take someone who is strong, quick, powerful, and turn them into someone who is a matchup nightmare?” If you can, you have an advantage immediately. Traditional tight-ends and some that cross over into the HBack territory are mostly covered by linebackers (when the defense is playing man). If you have a tall tight end who is fast, it’s a matchup nightmare. LBs are (or should) always be taking a read step forward before dropping into pass coverage. This gives the tight end an advantage when running routes, because the defense is looking to read the play. If TD’s 4.5 40 yard dash is accurate, linebackers can get caught off guard easily when covering somebody that fast, making the big play very possible from the tight end position

Additionally, TD is the type of player that is going to frustrate the hell out of defensive players. He’s physical, and you can’t teach that. He does a great job at playing to the whistle. If he’s blocking you, he’s going to be engaged until the whistle blows. He’s got very good run blocking technique. He drives his feet. His hands are in great position. He does a solid job of getting close to the defender and finishing off blocks. I’m guessing we are going to see a lot of players try and give some extra shoves to TD after the whistle because of how aggressive he plays.

Let’s take a look at some highlights from TD’s tape.

1:20 mark – You see a great seal block on the edge. Trey comes in for a run block, engages, and naturally moves his hips into position to get his body in between the sideline and the defensive end he is blocking. These are blocks that offensive linemen need to excel in. Trey shows some good instinctive blocking.

It should be noted that all throughout the highlight tape, Trey’s always bouncing to the next level to get another person on a secondary or tertiary block. He seems to love contact.

2:15 mark – This looks like a simple Off-Tackle play. Pay attention to what Trey’s responsibility is on this play. He’s charged with running a linebacker off, so if there’s a cutback, the RB is able to find open space. Some players fall into a habit of doing this at 50%, because the possibility of a cut back there is not very likely, so why waste energy?  It’s plays like this that get more players time on the field, because coaches are looking for guys who don’t take plays off. Trey takes off on a go route like a bat out of hell. We get to see some really good explosiveness here, and see that he indeed does not take plays off. Pay attention on Sundays. A lot of NFL players mail home routes they are supposed to run to decoy the secondary. Football coaches get excited about little things like this.

2:46 mark – This play call is a screen pass, with Trey being a secondary route for the QB to look at if the screen is not there. Trey runs a great route which causes the LB to get caught “cement footed.” If the QB looks at him, he’s got big yardage. He shows great quickness on the zip route, stopping and accelerating with good quickness. The same goes at the 3:24 mark. Trey is wide open down the field on his go route, and the QB misses him.

Final Analysis

Strengths – Tenacious, physical, strong and fast. He is a matchup nightmare for opposing linebackers. With Offensive Coordinator Tim Lester wanting to utilize the TE more, Trey has an opportunity to make a big impact. In his routes that were run on tape, he finds soft spots in zones, and gets vertical if he sees that he is allowed too. The potential here is very high.

Areas of Improvements –  We don’t really get to see Trey’s receiving skills in this video. He catches one ball on a bubble screen, and another short route that he snags easily. In both of the catches on the video, Trey catches the ball with his chest, and not clean with his hands. Ideally, I’d like to see him catch the ball cleanly, but theres no way to effectively analyze hand strength or catching ability off of two catches.

Trey’s size and speed makes it very easy to see why he was getting calls from Florida State, Texas, and USC last week. When you rate a prospect, you rate him on the potential he has to be an impact player. Trey has all the physical tools you want, and has the motor you need to go with it. There are many instances seen where the two don’t go together. When you have those two factors align; special things have the potential to happen.

When I watch Trey’s tape, I see some Jason Witten in his game. When the JUCO ratings get updated, I would be very surprised to see Trey stay at the 2 star status. He will be on the field next season, and Orange fans will enjoy him being there.

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Justin is a 2011 graduate from SUNY Buffalo State. Since that time, he spent several years coaching high school football in North Carolina while also working at NC State, and has also served as a head and assistant tennis coach at the Division III and Division I levels. During this tenure coaching high school football, he sent players to continue their football career at Alabama, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Purdue, North Carolina State, East Carolina, and other Division II and III schools.