Sims: who will replace Will Mallory at tight end?

Fifth-year senior tight end Will Mallory rushes through defenders during Miami's game against the University of North Carolina on Saturday, Oct. 8 at Hard Rock Stadium. Photo credit: Alexandra Carnochan

For the first time in five years, the Miami Hurricanes will enter a season without one of their leaders at the tight end position.

Will Mallory left Miami for the NFL, as the Indianapolis Colts selected Mallory with the 162nd pick of the NFL Draft this past April. The former ‘Cane was considered by many to be one of the best tight ends in all of college football.

Miami is known historically to produce tight ends that go on to be successful in the NFL. Some include past NFL Pro Bowlers like Jeremy Shockey, Jimmy Graham and Greg Olson.

There are several tight ends on the Hurricanes’ roster with the potential to be the next player to follow in Mallory’s footsteps.

Key contributor Elijah Arroyo only played four games before his season ended after tearing his ACL. Arroyo caught five passes for 66 yards in his time on the field.

Arroyo has made a full recovery and is ready to compete with his team once again.

“We’ve been doing a great job with the training staff,” Arroyo said to reporters after fall practice. “I’m good to go. I’m ready.”

Sophomore Jaleel Skinner stepped up last year when Arroyo went down and had a decent season. He caught nine passes for 129 yards in six appearances. He could be a significant contributor to Miami’s offense this year if he stays healthy.

The ‘Canes also have a few newcomers joining the team. Riley Williams is among the two tight ends in the freshman class. Williams was the eighth-best tight end in his recruiting class, according to 247 Sports. The four-star prospect may have a chance to contribute right away. Jackson Carver is the other freshman tight end coming to the Hurricanes. The three-star recruit hails from Windsor, Conn.

Cam McCormick is an incoming transfer tight end from Oregon who has had a long career playing college football. McCormick is entering his eighth season of college, with five of them being with UM head coach Mario Cristobal at Oregon. He will bring a veteran voice to the young Miami tight-end room.

The tight-end position will be essential for Miami’s success, as new offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson brought a revamped offense to Miami that utilizes its tight ends.

“The one thing we’ve done over the last four years is line them up everywhere,” Dawson said regarding the usage of tight ends in his offense.

Arroyo was also very complimentary when asked by reporters about Dawson’s offense.

“I feel good about the offense,” Arroyo said. “Gives us a chance to show out.”

The ‘Canes have an unproven tight end room and a tall task ahead of them, as Mallory’s production will be hard to replace.

However, Arroyo and Skinner showed flashes that they could be something in this offense last year. With many new tight-end additions to the squad, it likely won’t be just one guy who replicates Mallory’s success but rather a collection of all their skill and size as a group. If they can stay healthy, this unit could have multiple years of success in this new-look UM offense.