Utah State's football team held its sixth practice of the 2018 season Wednesday afternoon, and the tight ends are working on being consistent as the season opener is just more than three weeks away.
"I have really high expectations for the tight ends," said assistant coach Luke Wells. "Dax Raymond really improved his blocking last year and showed he can be a dominant guy in this league. He is really a mismatch at his position. Carson Terrell did a lot as a true freshman, which is hard to do. He is a physical guy, and I like how he competes.
“We have some other guys that we are continuing to develop as well, including Travis Boman, who was hurt last year, but he is having a really nice camp and doing some good things this fall.”
Utah State welcomes back two letterwinners at tight end in junior Dax Raymond and sophomore Carson Terrell to go along with two more players who were with the program last season in senior Emerson Woods and sophomore Travis Boman.
“I expect a lot out of Dax, and he expects a lot out of himself,” said Wells. “I don’t think people realize how good of a blocker he is, and he became a dominant blocker last year. I expect him to pick up right where he left off last season and make even more plays this year. He is a competitor, he is tough and I know we are going to get everything we can out of him.”
Raymond has played in 21 games during his Aggie career, including starting all 12 games he played in last season as he caught 41 passes for 456 yards (11.5 ypr) and one touchdown en route to earning honorable mention all-Mountain West honors. In fact, Raymond ranked second on the team in 2017 in both receptions and receiving yards. For his career, Raymond has 45 receptions for 528 yards (11.7 ypr) and one touchdown.
“We are a very experienced tight end group, and our expectations are really high this year,” said Raymond. “We should be able to open up both the passing and rushing game because defenses will not know what we are going to do each play.”
Terrell played in 12 games as a true freshman for Utah State last season and caught 10 passes for 107 yards (10.7 ypr), while Woods appeared in two games. Boman did not see any action for USU last season due to his injury.
Furthermore, Utah State added one new player to the tight end group this summer in freshman Bryce Mortenson (Smithfield, Utah/Sky View HS).
“We ask a lot out of our tight ends, mainly because we never take them out of the game. Stretching the field vertically is a big part of what we do, and we are going to run the ball right behind them, so the tight ends are going to be a focal point of both the passing game and running game in this offense,” Wells added.
Wednesday was the sixth of 24 practices for the Aggies leading up to their season-opening game at Michigan State on Friday, Aug. 31, at 5 p.m. MT, in a game that will be nationally televised on the Big Ten Network. Utah State then begins its home season the following weekend against New Mexico State on Saturday, Sept. 8, at 6 p.m., in a game that will be streamed live on Facebook. Mountain West play begins two weeks later as USU hosts Air Force on Saturday, Sept. 22, in a game that will be televised nationally on one of the ESPN Networks.
Utah State's first two scrimmages are closed to the public, but fans are invited to its last scrimmage as part of Family Football Fun Day at Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 18, at 2 p.m.