Name: Tyrone Wheatley, Jr.
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
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