PowerMizzou - Camp Preview: TE
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Camp Preview: TE

On Aug. 6, Missouri opens its preseason camp for 2015. Prior to that Thursday, PowerMizzou.com is taking a look at every position group to see what Missouri has returning and the outlook as the Tigers attempt to make it three SEC East titles in a row.
PREVIOUSLY: QB, RB
Today, we continue with tight ends.
Returning stats: 100% -- 21 catches for 186 yards and 1 touchdown
The Starter: Redshirt junior Sean Culkin enters August as Missouri's starter at tight end. He's shown potential over the last few years, but a combination of injuries and some inconsistent play has hampered him. But the tight end position at Missouri keeps evolving -- that's why we're no longer grouping it in the receiver preview -- and a healthy Culkin could blossom into a reliable target and consistent blocker in the ground game.
The Backups: Redshirt sophomore Jason Reese returns as the top back-up, and his playing time picked up toward the end of last season and in the spring to increasingly positive reviews. Reese only had one catch last season, but he lined up more and more as an H-back, which is something we could see more going into this season. Also returning is senior Clayton Echard, a bigger possibility at tight end who adds some power as a blocker. Redshirt freshman Kendall Blanton is (perhaps curiously) not listed on the summer depth chart, but he was recovering from an elbow injury in the spring.
Camp Outlook: Seems pretty clear-cut that Culkin and Reese will get the majority of snaps this season at tight end, and with the increased use of Reese as an H-back, they could be on the field together at the same time often. One thing to watch for, however, is if both players can find a way to get more involved in the passing game. Reese was one of the top targets in the spring when Culkin was sidelined, and Missouri will need both players to step up in that area to take pressure off a very unproven group of receivers.
Projected Depth Chart: Culkin, Reese, Echard, Blanton