Utah State football preview 2016: Tight ends

<em>This is the sixth in a series of previews of the 2016 Utah State football team. The other previews can be found at these links: <a href=”http://www.cachevalleydaily.com/sports/article_a8767102-5db9-11e6-8e72-876267ee69ec.html” target=”_blank”>Offensive line</a>, <a href=”http://www.cachevalleydaily.com/sports/article_c646adcc-5e82-11e6-a8e0-634ab124a813.html” target=”_blank”>Wide receivers</a>, <a href=”http://www.cachevalleydaily.com/sports/article_5c5ed972-5f8e-11e6-b671-7392ae4fb32b.html” target=”_blank”>Special teams</a>, <a href=”http://www.cachevalleydaily.com/sports/article_7e176f5e-62bb-11e6-b5dc-dba717bdd756.html” target=”_blank”>Linebackers</a>, <a href=”http://www.cachevalleydaily.com/sports/article_971bb17c-640f-11e6-99ed-5bf8df6b8419.html” target=”_blank”>Running backs</a></em>

LOGAN – The Utah State football team has a younger, more inexperienced group of wide receivers this year, but it helps that the top three tight ends from last year are returning.

Head coach Matt Wells said that could affect the way the offense is ran this year.

Senior tight end Wyatt Houston ranked third on the team in receiving yards with 307 yards on 25 receptions. Three of those receptions were touchdowns. Those numbers have gotten Houston some preseason attention. Last month he was named to the John Mackey Award watch list, which is given to the most outstanding tight end in college football.

“It’s obviously nice to be recognized,” Houston said. “But it is just preseason stuff. I’d rather not be on there and be on there at the end of the year.”

Houston is hoping to improve on last year’s numbers. He said he has worked to become a more complete tight end.

“I’ve been working on receiving and blocking,” he said. “For receiving I’ve been working on getting out of my brakes a little quicker.”

In addition to Houston, Wells pointed out Dax Raymond as a “really good” Mountain West Conference tight end. Raymond is a 6-foot-5, 254 pound sophomore who played in nine games during his freshman season. While at Timpview High he caught 74 passes for 1,458 yards as a senior.

“Dax is going to have a great year,” Houston said. “He’s going to be a stud for us. A lot of people are going to learn about Dax this season.”

Last year, 6-foot-1 senior and Oklahoma transfer Joe Palange was with the team but did not play. He has the ability to play fullback and tight end. The third senior in the group is Landon Horne, who played 12 games for the Aggies last year.

“(Horne) knows the offense really well and brings a lot of thing to the table,” Houston said.

The new guys on the team include junior college transfer Matt Nelson and two true freshman, Travis Bowman and Derek Hastings.

“Overall I think this is probably one of the best groups I’ve been a part of as a whole,” Houston said. “I’m just really excited to see how it plays out.”

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