2019 Season Countdown: #31 Nick Eubanks

2019 Season Countdown: #31 Nick Eubanks


August 1, 2019
Nick Eubanks (image via 247 Sports)

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Name: Nick Eubanks
Height:
6’5″
Weight:
252 lbs.
High school:
Plantation (FL) American Heritage
Position:
Tight end
Class:
Redshirt junior
Jersey number:
#82
Last year:
I ranked Eubanks #54 and said he would be a backup tight end (LINK). He started four games and made 8 catches for 157 yards and 1 touchdown.
TTB Rating:
44

Going into his redshirt sophomore year, Eubanks looked destined to be the third tight end in an offense that might be de-emphasizing the tight end position altogether. With a new, more spread-oriented quarterback, along with the return of a third talented receiver (Tarik Black), it made sense to put more receivers on the field and lessen the reliance on multiple tight end sets.

A funny thing happened with the #3 tight end, though: He became the big-play guy.

Hit the jump for more.

Eubanks only had 8 receptions on the season, but 5 of them went for 20 or more yards. In fact, of 10 career catches, 2 of them have gone for 40+ yards. He wasn’t outrunning bad teams, either. He made big catches against Northwestern, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan State.

Now that the new season is on the horizon, Eubanks is one step higher on the depth chart (thanks to Zach Gentry’s graduation). Being #2 on the depth chart in a Josh Gattis offense may be an okay thing, but it’s almost never a good thing. Consider #2 tight end performances from offenses in his past:

  • 2018 at Alabama: 4 catches for 34 yards
  • 2017 at PSU: 4 catches for 27 yards
  • 2016 at PSU: 0 catches for 0 yards
  • 2015 at PSU: 13 catches for 125 yards
  • 2014 at PSU: 16 catches for 153 yards
  • 2013 at Vanderbilt: 10 catches for 100 yards
  • 2012 at Vanderbilt: 0 catches for 0 yards
  • 2011 at WMU: 6 catches for 31 yards

That’s an average of 6.6 catches and 58.8 yards per season for the #2 tight end, which hardly seems promising for a guy who averaged over 19 yards per reception in 2018.

Starter Sean McKeon has reportedly lost a few pounds and turned some heads this spring, but even so, he’s never been mistaken for a Mike Gesicki-like freak athlete. Gesicki put up pretty good numbers during his last couple seasons at Penn State. His backups did not. Of course, Gattis has popularized the #speedinspace theme at Michigan, but it’s unclear whether he thinks a tight end with explosive play ability qualifies.

I imagine Eubanks will have a season somewhere in between the explosiveness he had last year and the unimpressive numbers of the Ghosts of Gattis’s Past.

Prediction: Backup tight end; 15 catches for 210 yards and 2 touchdowns

6 comments

  1. Avatar
    Comments: 1564
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Aug 01, 2019 at 11:05 AM

    If McKeon drops another pass, Eubanks may take up some of those snaps

  2. Lanknows
    Comments: 5334
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Aug 01, 2019 at 12:55 PM

    McKeon is a good athlete and can block but isn’t a good receiver. Eubanks has more upside but has been behind. This is anyone’s guess, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Eubanks comes out ahead or they just rotated 50/50. Just another coin flip in the 15-35 range.

  3. Lanknows
    Comments: 5334
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Aug 01, 2019 at 12:59 PM

    I would take Gattis’ history with a grain of salt in this context. He’s never called the plays before.

    Furthermore, Harbaugh isn’t going to let go entirely, despite all the hype. Notable quote:

    “We’re still a run-first team and the runs that we’re running aren’t that much different,” Harbaugh said in April.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3268
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Aug 01, 2019 at 3:11 PM

      You’re right that he’s never called the plays before, but with James Franklin and with Alabama, the teams were “run first” in 5 out of 7 years, too. I don’t expect that to change. “Speed in space” doesn’t mean “Air Raid.”

      Past evidence is all we have to go on now. And past evidence suggests the #2 tight end won’t get a bunch of targets. If you want to argue otherwise, you’re going on feelings, not evidence.

      P.S. If we’re going from past Michigan experience…last year McKeon had 14 catches, and Eubanks had 8. More evidence that the #2 TE isn’t getting many targets.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5334
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Aug 01, 2019 at 3:45 PM

        It’s interesting info for sure but I imagine personnel played a factor in things also. Past evidence says Eubanks is a better pass threat so we’ll see if there is a clear #1 and #2 or not in 2019.

        32/14 and 31/17 are the receiving splits the last 2 years between 1 and 2 TE. I would call the 2 to 1 ratio of receptions a substantial share for a nominal backup.

  4. Avatar
    Comments: 1564
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Aug 01, 2019 at 5:58 PM

    With McKeon’s hands and Eubank’s big play ability, I could see the latter taking over as #1. But, with JH being clear about being run-first, and the coaches seeming to really like McKeon, I lean towards Lank’s prediction of the two splitting reps

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