Crimson Tide Position Preview: Tight Ends
Each week leading up to Alabama's A-Day game, I will highlight two position groups and preview both the presumed starters and key depth pieces, as well as players that could challenge for a starting role this season. Let's take a look at this year's tight end group.
Cameron Latu, originally recruited in 2018 as a linebacker, redshirted his freshman year and made the switch to tight end for his sophomore season. In 2019, the Salt Lake City native saw time in 11 games as a special teamer, and again mostly saw time on special teams in 2020. Last season, splitting time with Jahleel Billingsley, Latu hauled in 26 receptions for 410 yards and even set an Alabama record for most touchdowns by a tight end in one season with 8. While Latu lacked the outright athleticism of a player like Billingsley, he made up for it with his ability to use his body effectively to get open and became a top target in a loaded offense.
Now that Billingsley has transferred to Texas, expect Latu to be the main pass catcher at the tight end position for the Crimson Tide, and potentially one of Bryce Young's favorite targets altogether.
Robbie Ouzts enters his sophomore season with a chance to take on a slightly larger role than in 2021. Last year, Ouzts was mostly used as a fullback in goal line or short yardage sets, and will likely be used a blocker again, but could do so more from the tight end position in 2022. Ouzts is a 6-foot-4, 258 lb. former three-star from Rock Hill, SC. Throughout his high school career, Ouzts was utilized all over the field, taking snaps at half back and wide receiver as well as tight end.
While the sophomore will likely not see many targets this season, Ouzts' special ability as a run blocker could be extremely useful for the Tide this fall.
Elijah Brown was an extremely exciting four-star out of Dayton, OH in the 2022 recruiting cycle and could see time as a backup this season. Brown stands at 6-foot-5, 238 lbs. and features a lot of versatility at the position, having been a former high school basketball athlete as well as playing multiple positions on offense in his time at Wayne High School.
Kendall Randolph, while competing for the open right tackle position, could be used as a blocking tight end once more in 2022. Though the sixth-year veteran is not going to be relied upon in the passing game, similar to Ouzts, what Randolph can bring as a run blocker is extremely important in goal line and short yardage sets.