Garrett Collingham

Boise State tight end Garrett Collingham (5) brings the ball down the field on a reception against Colorado State on Oct. 19, 2018, at Albertsons Stadium.

The Idaho Press is counting down the top 20 questions facing the Boise State football team heading into the 2019 season. The next entry in our series is question No. 11: Will the tight ends get back involved with the offense?

Boise State’s tight ends combined for 33 catches for 306 yards and three touchdowns last season. The previous year Jake Roh had 39 receptions for 410 yards and nine touchdowns by himself.

Saying the Broncos hope to see more contributions from the tight ends in 2019 would be an understatement.

Boise State loses its top tight end from a year ago in Chase Blakley, who had 17 catches for 89 yards and a touchdown. But John Bates (10 catches for 155 yards and a score) and Garrett Collingham (five catches for 58 yards and a TD) both return and should be improved.

And the wild card could be a pair of new additions. Austin Griffin, the No. 1 ranked JUCO tight end in the country, joined the Broncos this summer. The 6-foot-7, 240-pound transfer from Mount San Antonio (Calif.) College originally committed to Louisville, but changed his commitment to the Broncos. Tyneil Hopper, a four-star recruit from Roswell, Georgia, is coming off a redshirt year and also could make an impact. At one point he had offers from Alabama, Auburn and West Virginia among others before signing with Boise State.

Much of the problems last year centered around Bates, who came in with a ton of hype after showing flashes late in his redshirt freshman season in 2017. Most expected him to put up numbers similar to Roh, but for whatever reason he was mostly a non-factor.

Bates had five catches in the first three games, including four at Oklahoma State, but had just five catches in the final 10 games.

The Broncos are hoping the 6-6 Bates can take the jump in 2019 that many expected him to make last season. A 25-catch season shouldn’t be hard to achieve.

Collingham found a home at tight end after moving through five different positions since he arrived at Boise State. The Mountain View High product had just five catches for 58 yards and a touchdown, but also scored a rushing touchdown and continued to get more playing time as the year went on. The walk-on looks capable of seeing a big-time jump in playing time and production this season.

Another factor will be Boise State breaking in a new quarterback in 2019. Gone is four-year starter Brett Rypien, and whoever starts the opener against Florida State on August 31 will be making his first career start for the Broncos. It would seem to make sense that a new, inexperienced quarterback might rely more on shorter routes and check-downs to the tight ends instead of spending a ton of time waiting in the pocket for deeper plays to develop.

Bates and Collingham have shown enough to be counted on as contributors, and the newcomers Griffin and Hopper both bring exciting potential. Boise State is hoping to get more from the tight ends in 2019, and how involved they are in the offense will be a big question — especially early in the year.

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Countdown to Camp Questions{/span}

No. 20: Can Boise State’s injured players return to form?

No. 19: Do the linebackers have enough talent and depth to produce?

No. 18: Will Boise State’s wide receivers be a strength?

No. 17: How will playing time shake out in the secondary?

No. 16: Which true freshmen could make immediate impacts?

No. 15: What are the toughest games on Boise State’s schedule?

No. 14: Who will take over at kicker and punter for the Broncos?

No. 13: What should be expected from the defensive line?

No. 12: Which stats do the Broncos need to improve the most?

No. 11: Will the tight ends get back involved more with the offense?

B.J Rains has covered Boise State athletics for the Idaho Press since 2013. He is an Associated Press Top 25 men's basketball poll voter, and also contributes to KBOI-TV as a Boise State insider.

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