Michigan State football will have its best TE production since Josiah Price

Michigan State tight end Daniel Barker runs a drill during practice on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, in East Lansing.220804 Msu Fb Practice 014a
Michigan State tight end Daniel Barker runs a drill during practice on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, in East Lansing.220804 Msu Fb Practice 014a /

Josiah Price was one of the best tight ends Michigan State football has seen in the past decade, but the position group has been quiet since.

Jay Johnson has a goal for Michigan State football’s offense and it’s getting the tight ends involved and making them sort of the “MVP” on that side of the ball.

Through two seasons, that hasn’t quite happened.

While Connor Heyward played a tight end-like role as an H-back, he wasn’t truly considered a tight end but it gave everyone a glimpse at what could be possible from that position in Johnson’s offense. He caught 35 passes for 326 yards and two touchdowns and Tyler Hunt was fifth on the team with 14 catches for 136 yards and a score.

The tight end position’s stock is on the rise and it feels like we’re about to see the most effective room since 2016 when Josiah Price led the way.

That 2016 season was a disaster but Price thrived, catching 38 passes for 387 yards and five touchdowns as the most productive tight end in the past decade. Since then, the position group has been ineffective since.

Mark Dantonio landed Trenton Gillison in the 2018 class and he was expected to give the tight end room a shot in the arm but he struggled to catch on with the Spartans and entered the portal this offseason. Adam Berghorst moved over from the defensive side of the ball to help out there and never really saw action and now he’s focusing on baseball. Tommy Guajardo committed to the 2020 class and has already transferred.

Kameron Allen committed to Mel Tucker’s first class but it took him just one year to transfer back down to Texas, picking SMU as his new home. But Tucker also picked up a transfer in that 2021 class in the form of Maliq Carr, a former four-star athlete.

Carr’s first year was quiet with the Spartans, but he has all the potential in the world and he’s reportedly had a strong preseason.

Now with the 2022 class, Tucker brought in another highly-touted transfer in Daniel Barker from Illinois and he had a super productive career with the Illini. He’s expected to start and have a huge year with the Spartans before heading off to the NFL. Not only are Carr and Barker leading the way, but Hunt returns with experience and solid blocking and Tucker landed former Notre Dame commit Luke Nickel and three-star Michael Masunas at the position.

Long story short, this is the deepest tight end room that Michigan State has had in a long time.

And talent is not lacking from the No. 1 guy all the way down to No. 5.

Barker is going to have a productive year (potentially Heyward-like numbers) and Carr is going to start living up to that lofty potential. Hunt will be a great third option and the room as a whole will start to take shape the way Johnson was expecting when he was hired in 2020.

If you miss seeing productive MSU tight ends, the 2022 season will be just for you.

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