2017 Season Countdown: #18 Tyrone Wheatley, Jr.

2017 Season Countdown: #18 Tyrone Wheatley, Jr.


August 15, 2017

Tyrone Wheatley, Jr. (image via 247 Sports)

Name: Tyrone Wheatley, Jr.
Height: 6’6″
Weight: 276 lbs.
High school: Buffalo (NY) Canisius
Position: Tight end
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #17
Last year: I ranked Wheatley #30 and said he would be a part-time starter at tight end. He made 3 catches for 35 yards and 1 touchdown.
TTB Rating: 82

Wheatley was a huge tight end and defensive end when he came out of high school, big enough to where many people thought he would grow into an offensive tackle. He was up around 290 lbs. prior to his freshman year, and was listed at 276 lbs. by the beginning of 2016. With Jake Butt at tight end, he was bound to be primarily a backup tight end battling with Devin Asiasi, Ian Bunting, and others for playing time. He got wide open for a 21-yard TD against Illinois, but he was mostly used as a blocker.

Despite his size, the biggest knock on Wheatley has been his blocking skills. He has reportedly dropped some more weight going into this season and should be in the 260 lb. range when the new fall roster is released. I expect him to be a second tight end this year, and while maybe he hasn’t reached his potential as a blocker, I think that’s where he holds the most value for this team. Ian Bunting is probably going to win the starting tight end position, but he struggles as a blocker, too, so the coaching staff needs to find a blocker out of Wheatley and Sean McKeon. I think Wheatley’s targets will increase this season, but he probably won’t be a breakout receiving star.

Prediction: Backup tight end

9 comments

  1. Avatar
    Comments: 528
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Aug 15, 2017 at 6:21 PM

    McKeon will be the guy with the most catches and Wheatley will play the most since McKeon can’t block. I have always love McKeon since his h.s. film. He is a natural pass catcher but guy is really a wr masquerading as a TE. Wheatley is a blocking TE masquerading as a pass catching TE. Wheatley is Derrick Walker potentially.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 6182
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Aug 15, 2017 at 7:14 PM

      What’d Bunting do to make you so mad at him?

      I like McKeon and everything I’ve heard about him since he arrived on campus 12 months ago. Seems headed for stardom, though I would be a little surprised if he usurped Bunting this season.

      Also McKeon’s progress should be encouraging news to anyone worried about the recent 3-star TE commit whose name I already forgot how to spell.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 528
        Joined: 9/13/2015
        michymich
        Aug 15, 2017 at 9:37 PM

        This is more about McKeon and his prowess of running routes and snatching balls. The guy is some potential version of Eric Kattus. Guy is a natural. He is going to play in obvious passing downs and Speight is a guy who looks for intermediate routes. McKeon is a guy who makes difficult catches.

        Bunting catches the ball like is a receiving a watermelon. Wheatley just a real solid player but McKeon is going to get open. He also runs routes really well and don’t think qb’s don’t notice these things. Speight like any qb will have his preferences, guys who are reliable catching balls on 3rd downs.

        Nothing against both Bunting and Wheatley but both of these guys are much better all around football players but the better receiving TE is McKeon. In fact, I’ll throw out this name for you. Jokisch. Hopefully spelled correctly.

  2. Lanknows
    Comments: 6182
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Aug 15, 2017 at 7:11 PM

    I keep hearing mixed messages about the TE development and pecking order. One day McKeon is ahead of Wheatley. The next Wheatley is really showing something as a blocker. Hard to get a read.

    I had Wheatley a few spots lower than this but it’s anyones guess how the TE playing time gets distributed this year. I like Wheatley’s upside a lot.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 6182
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Aug 15, 2017 at 7:18 PM

      I see TE as a position of great depth now with McKeon’s emergence. I do think Wheatley still deserves to be ranked highly, perhaps more highly even than Bunting, simply because he’s the only seemingly viable candidate for the blocking TE spot.

      Then again if he did go down I guess it would just mean more snaps for DPJ/Martin/McDoom. Not necessarily a bad thing.

      Anyway I had Bunting 12 and Wheatley 23. If I was doing it again I’d drop Bunting about 5 spots or so and probably bump McKeon into the top 35.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3785
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Aug 16, 2017 at 6:03 AM

      I would say that’s a good thing, because the tight ends were already bound to be pretty solid, in my opinion. If there are different guys moving ahead at different times, then that means there’s good competition from a bunch of solid guys.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 6182
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Aug 16, 2017 at 1:53 PM

        Yes probably a good thing. And a testament to the way the staff has prioritized the position in recruiting numbers. Consider they lost a multi-year starting senior (Butt) and a top notch option to unexpected attrition (Asiasi) yet they still have 3 guys (across different classes) who they probably feel comfortable with as a starter. Whatever snaps McKeon gets will have been earned. Nothing is handed to anyone.

        Now contrast that with OL where there were senior losses but also 40% returning starters and only 1 instance of unexpected attrition (Newsome)…yet they’re grasping at straws, exploring grad transfers, and throwing true freshman into the competition for starting spots.

        Development is an issue of course but TE illustrates how, regardless of that, you need numbers if you want to have depth. It’s all about what you prioritize. Me personally I’d rather have a walk-on like Jocz playing depth snaps at TE than short-change OL.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 29
      Joined: 12/19/2015
      greggoblue
      Aug 16, 2017 at 9:15 AM

      From what I’ve read, the message seems to be that Bunting is locked in and the competition for TE #2 is mainly between Wheatley and McKeon with Gentry/Eubanks flex TE skillset working in.

  3. Avatar
    Comments: 1863
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Aug 15, 2017 at 7:33 PM

    TE is tough. A ot of unknowns
    As for Bunting, if he stays healthy for three consecutive games, it’d be a first

You must belogged in to post a comment.