John F. Silver
E.J. Norris, a sophomore who played last season as a true freshman on defense, has been moved to tight end and will work with that unit as the Huskies search for some blocking help.
UConn’s tight end position has been a struggle. Sean McQuillan, a sophomore, is the incumbent and is coming off a concussion this summer. He is 6-4, 237 pounds while walk-on backup Spencer Parker isa 6-4, 228-pounds. Norris, 6-3, 240-pounds, gives the Huskies some more size and strength at the position. The only other tight end on the roster is true freshman Tommy Myers, who at 6-4, 240-pounds projects as the big blocker and is a great athlete, but likely isn’t ready to see significant action as a blocker right now.
Norris’ move is a surprise considering last season at this time the coaching staff was so robust in Norris’ ability that they played him as a true freshman at defensive end. Norris injured his chest making a tackle later in the season and missed games and most of spring practice recovering after surgery. Norris never seemed to get back into the mix at defensive end and with Jesse Joseph back as well as Tim Willman returning, the staff decided to move him to offense. The four-man rotation at defensive end also includes Angelo Pruitt with converted fullback Ruben Frank listed as the fourth defensive end. The Huskies also have plenty of defensive ends in development.
Norris isn’t going into this position with zero experience. He was a tight end as a senior at Archbishop Carroll in Maryland and caught 20 passes for 440 yards and four TDs.
Pasqualoni didn’t commit to playing Norris this week, but the Huskies sorely need another blocking tight end to help in the running game. The Huskies’ tight ends didn’t record a single pass in the game, though Parker did catch a two-point conversion pass from Chandler Whitmer in the fourth quarter. Conversion catches don’t count in total offense.
Update: As far as depth at tight end, after McQuillan and Parker are two freshmen in Tommy Myers and Mike Boland. Both aren’t ready it would appear. Quinn Thompson, another tight end, is out with an injury and us unlikely to play this year anyway.
That puts Norris firmly in the mix at tight end.