Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Returning players: 5
Incoming: 2
Lost: 1 (Jesus Tapia)

Da Bear. It doesn’t get any better than this in Fresno State’s school history. Senior Bear Pascoe (6-5, 260) is arguably the nation’s best tight end. After beginning his college career as a quarterback, Pascoe was converted to tight end by Pat Hill and the coaching staff. It turned out to be a wise move. Just as impressive as Pascoe’s ability to get open on seemingly every passing play is his bulldozer blocking mentality. He excels in every aspect of the game. Though his speed isn’t up to par with some of the newer breed of tight ends entering the NFL, his size and strength is above and beyond, making him a surefire NFL draftee. He gets up deep, makes big plays and consistently drags defenders for yards after the catch. Oh, and he also stands out in special teams, with four career blocked field goals. Last season, Pascoe got off to a barking start with 3 touchdowns at Texas A&M en route to totaling a team second-best 45 receptions for 553 yards and 4 scores, despite missing all or part of three games with injury.

The Bulldogs offer another dimension with H-back junior Isaac Kinter (6-1, 240), a tight end who often lines up in the backfield similar to a fullback. Kinter developed into a major factor in the passing game after overcoming an injury late last season. Originally a linebacker, he offers uncommon speed for his size and has the soft hands to go with it. Kinter finished with 111 yards and 2 touchdowns in 8 games. While he’s also an above average blocker, similar to the makeup of Stephen Spach (most recently with the New England Patriots), the only thing keeping Kinter from having a 500-yard season is opportunities – because the Bulldogs have so many playmakers to distribute the ball to. Because of this, many opposing teams aren’t yet aware of the threat he presents.

The same holds true for sophomore Vince Pascoe (6-1, 250), the younger cousin of Bear who walked on last season and proved good enough to play right away. Nicknamed “Cub,” he’s more under the radar than anyone in this unit after catching just 1 pass for a 1-yard touchdown last season at Oregon. But he’s earned a much larger role in fall camp, and will work from several different spots on the field, including H-back and the slot. Like Kinter, the younger Pascoe is also a standout blocker.

Senior Drew Lubinsky (6-6, 250) started his career with the tight end of the future title, but hadn’t battled his way in for much playing time until last season. His role will increase even more now that Jesus Tapia is gone. Used more as a blocker, Lubinsky caught just 1 pass last season, but it was a big one – a diving 3-yard touchdown that helped clinch the Humanitarian Bowl win over Georgia Tech.

The biggest mystery of the group is redshirt freshman Ryan Skidmore (6-5, 240). Coming out of East High (Bakersfield), Skidmore was built more like a wide receiver than tight end, but has put on a considerable amount of weight and muscle. He is arguably the fastest of the unit and has hands that rival Bear Pascoe’s. Still, he’s visibly less refined and more mistake-prone than the other tight end candidates who have more experience. He may still be a year away from making large contributions.

A couple of true freshmen round out the unit in David Gory (6-4, 235) and Tapa Taumoepeau (6-3, 220) of Trinity High in Texas. Gory played just one season of organized football before a serious injury sidelined him in his senior year of high school. Still, he showed enough potential to garner big-time college interest, and is catching on quick in fall camp. His body type is very similar to a young Bear Pascoe. Taumoepeau has looked to be a quick study himself, with a couple nice catches already under his belt in scrimmage situations. Both are likely to redshirt, but have a chance to play a big role in future years.

Rating: 10 of 10

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