2023 Position look ahead: Tight Ends

With the 2022 season officially in the books it’s time to turn our focus to 2023. It is still very early and there will almost certainly be more roster attrition throughout spring and leading up to the regular season. However, with a lot of moves already being made we’re going to take an early look at each position group to see what 2023 could potentially offer as it stands right now.

Of course, we’ll reevaluate this closer to the season when the roster moves to wind down and names have emerged. In each preview, I’ll name those I see as current impact players (players who have already produced or are expected to at a significant level) and possible contributors (players who have at least seen some playing time or have been highly regarded in practice and could contribute in the near future). This does not necessarily mean at FSU in regards to the transfer players and the returning production is from the 2022 season at each player’s respective school. Let’s get to it!

Impact Players

Possible contributors

Returning Production


Tight-end play should see a considerable improvement in 2023. Despite needing to replace veteran Cam McDonald, the staff has flipped this position room by adding 2 of the top 3 (at the time) tight ends in the portal Jaheim Bell and Kyle Morlock. FSU hasn’t gotten much from the position in recent years and sometimes even turned to walk-ons. This year looks to be much different with an array of sizes and skill sets.

Jaheim Bell did play running back for a portion of the season at South Carolina last year which changes his production and Kyle Morlock played at the division 2 level. However, Bell and Morlock combined for 54 of the 72 receptions, 681 of the 898 yards, and 8 of the 11 touchdowns in returning production. While they still have to produce in garnet and gold I think you get the point of how important these additions were.

Jaheim Bell, a consensus 4-star out of high school, is not exactly a traditional tight end coming in at 6-foot-3 232-pounds but he is a dynamic playmaker with proven production in the SEC. He’s an exciting addition to the offense when you look at the combination of power, speed, and the ability to be used in multiple ways at multiple positions. Norvell has been good at getting tight ends open in space and Bell is finally an option that can make defenses pay for that.

Bell has 55 career receptions, an impressive 85.7% catch rate, 1,042 all-purpose yards, and 10 total touchdowns. His PFF grade in 2022 was 76.4 which is well above quality starter status and an even more impressive 85.6 in 2021 which was the 13th highest in FBS that year. Bell was also a Pro Football Focus second-team All-American in 2021. His blocking grades are pretty bad but that is not why he was brought here.

At 6-foot-7 Kyle Morlock provides another large red zone threat alongside Johnny Wilson. Obviously, there’s the question of how he’ll adjust from Division 2 to Power 5 but his 6 receiving touchdowns at Shorter last season would have led the team at FSU. He comes in at 250 pounds so I wouldn’t mind seeing him add a little mass to help with blocking but either way FSU is getting a big, experienced, 2x D-2 All-American at the position. In 2022, Morlock caught 30 passes for 446 yards and 6 touchdowns. If he could replicate that in garnet and gold it would be a huge boost to the tight end room and an offense that struggled at times in the red zone last year.

Last but certainly not least, don’t sleep on the leader in returning production at FSU, Markeston Douglas, who had a nice season in 2022. He had an impressive 73.7% catch rate with 190 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. His PFF grade was a very solid 69.2. His blocking could be improved but he certainly has the size to do it. Nicknamed “Biscuit” Douglas did some pretty impressive things for a man of his size last year and I suspect he’s not going to just play third fiddle to the transfers

Jerrale Powers and Brian Courtney are a pair of young guys that could contribute this season and have gained high remarks during practice in  2022. Preston Daniel is a walk-on player who has also performed well when his number is called. There are other names in the position room that could still emerge but they are players who have yet to contribute.


I’m excited about the upgrades in production that have been added to this room. I think tight end has been a position that has been lacking for some time at FSU and this year should change that. If I had any concerns about this position group it would be two main things. 1) There still doesn’t appear to be any great blocking tight ends in this group. Douglas has the size and Morlock could be a better blocker than I expect because D-2 stats and info are not as readily available to assess. It’s a minor concern and if the production is there and the blocking is “good enough” we can live with that.

2) How will Morlock’s production translate to the power 5 level? You don’t earn All-American honors twice at any level if you aren’t a good player and his height translates no matter who he plays for. However, it’s not always guaranteed that everyone will be like a Jared Verse stepping up to a tougher level of competition. We’ve seen multiple players who came to FSU from a lower level leave without ever being a contributor. I don’t suspect this with Morlock but if I had to name concerns this is one.

Wrapping up

As I previously mentioned, I’m excited about the array of different sizes and skill sets this position room has now. For the first time since 2014 when Nick O’Leary himself produced 613 receiving yards the FSU tight end room as a whole eclipsed the 500-yard mark. If this group has the year I think it can we should see them pass that number again in 2023. 

FSU added a versatile player in Jaheim Bell and an additional 6-foot-7 target to a position group that needed new life. There are also some younger players who needed time to develop that could certainly contribute this season too. This is one of the many position groups where FSU has elevated the talent floor which should pay off in 2023.

Be sure to check out the remainder of our position previews that will be released in the coming days. Thanks for reading and Go Noles!

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