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2023 Florida State Position Previews: Tight ends

Instant impact transfer talent should elevate entire room — and offense

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Charles Mays/Tomahawk Nation

Tight end has been an underwhelming position group in recent years for the Florida State Seminoles — some players have been productive, yet none have been an integral part of the passing attack.

The Seminoles have tight ends on their roster who are capable of producing for this offense, but the coaching staff was extremely aggressive this offseason in acquiring playmakers in the portal for an already-loaded offense ahead of a year filled with major expectations.

Alongside Keon Coleman via the transfer portal in the summer to bolster the receiving core, they acquired two of the top tight ends available — Jaheim Bell and Kyle Morlock.

Morlock will be more of a long-term option while Jaheim Bell will make an instant impact as a do-it-all, versatile playmaker who shone at South Carolina when also being forced into running back duties. He will fill in and take over Camm McDonald's target share that the current Green Bay Packers tight end leaves behind (9.7% of the total receiving targets and 60% of the total tight-end targets.)

Florida State Seminoles football: Tight ends

2022 stats

  • PFF Grade:
  • Camm McDonald 64.7 offensive grade, 62.7 receiving grade (36 targets, 21 receptions, 315 yards, 1 touchdown, 4 drops)
  • Markeston Douglas 69.2 offensive grade, 77.8 receiving grade (19 targets, 14 receptions, 190 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 drops)
  • Jaheim Bell (South Carolina ‘22 season) 76.3 offensive grade, 76.4 receiving grade (28 targets, 24 receptions, 235 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns, 492 yards from scrimmage)

Main name to know

Jaheim Bell comes in as the lead tight end for the Seminoles in 2023 with anticipation that he will be leading the group in targets by a wide margin.

He has had quite a unique journey in his on-field play. From a receiving production standpoint, his best season was 2021 when he recorded 488 yards and 5 touchdowns. He’s got the third-most yards over the last two seasons for a receiving tight end — per PFF, only Georgia’s Brock Bowers has a higher receiving grade for tight ends. His 24 forced missed tackles are tied for the most among all tight ends.

But last season he was asked to play more than just tight end as the Gamecocks had massive injuries to their offensive playmakers. This led to him being used in the running game, over the final four games of the season he carried the ball 55 times for 202 yards over the last four games of the regular season — leading all tight ends nationally.

In 2022 he lined up 45 times as an in-line tight end, 140 times in the backfield, 90 times as a slot receiver, and 30 times out wide as a receiver.

At Florida State, the expectation is that he will be used more in the traditional tight-end role than he was in 2022 but that experience in versatility will allow Mike Norvell to use him in a variety of ways.

Returning players

  • Markeston Douglas
  • Preston Daniel
  • Jackson West

Even with the new players coming into the position room, we will see more of what we saw in 2022 from Markeston Douglas. Douglas, or Biscuit as he is known around the team, emerged in the 2022 season.

Looking at his box score would not put to justice the season he had as he finished with 14 catches, 190 yards, and two touchdowns. From the Clemson game on (last 7 games of the season), he reeled in 11 of his 14 catches and both touchdowns.

He accounted for 31% of the target share at the tight-end position, with how often Mike Norvell uses two tight ends he will be on the field in a similar role.

New faces

  • Kyle Morlock
  • Jaheim Bell

Beyond Bell, Kyle Morlock is this position group's most notable new addition. The 6’7 tight-end transferred in the off-season from D-II school Shorter University.

Making that jump from division two to power five football will be quite the adjustment. But Morlock has all of the physical tools at his disposal to be an impact player and even eventually a large part of the offense.

His timeline is still unclear, with Bell currently ahead of him in the pecking order this year will be an opportunity for him to develop and be ready for when his name is called in 2024.

I still expect to see him be a contributor in 2023, but he is more a wild card than a sure-fire tight end two.