Trevon Wesco Heads New Look Tight End Corps
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — He’s caught just two passes in 304 offensive snaps during his career — hardly a basis for optimism for more productivity in that play phase during his upcoming senior season. Yet, Trevon Wesco is all smiles in discussing the increased numbers in the tight end meeting room at West Virginia’s Puskar Center during the spring and summer, and what the addition in both numbers and talent could mean for his position during 2018.
“It’s way more packed, but it’s a good thing,” a smiling and confident Wesco said. “I have to teach the younger guys since I’m the older guy there.”
In years past, there wasn’t much to pass on to younger players. While WVU might have had a couple of bodies on the room and on the practice field, their presence in games was tougher to detect. The Mountaineers have completed just 20 passes to tight ends over the past five seasons, with Charleston, W.Va., native Cody Clay accounting for 16 of those. The reception numbers have dropped to almost indistinguishable levels, but that doesn’t dampen Wesco’s optimism for the upcoming season.
“I think we are definitely going to see more of the tight end, 100%,” the Martinsburg, W. Va., native opined. “I’m just excited for us to be on the field and have the opportunity to help our team win the game. We’ll block, catch, do whatever we can do to win.”
In most recent seasons, blocking has been the primary focus, and playing time for tight ends other than Wesco has been limited. Some of that is due to the limited numbers of available players, but it also was rooted partly in the presence of fullback Elijah Wellman, who was a rowdy blocker and occasional pass recipient in his own right. This year, that situation is reversed. The fullback position must rebuild, while the tight end spot has no fewer than six candidates. Transfer Jovani Haskins, along with signees T.J. Banks and Mike O’Laughlin, as well as state native Matt Bezjak and intriguing Jesse Beal (a 28-year-old walk-on) bring a number of different abilities to the position. Those will likely be leaned on by offensive coordinator Jake Spavital to fill the gap left by Wellman, albeit from a different position on the field. It also wouldn’t be a surprise to see multiple tight ends on the field.
West Virginia’s coaching staff has noted that Wesco has distinguished himself over the spring and summer, especially in his leadership role. For his part, Wesco sees an opportunity for himself and his teammates in the tight end room, and believes one offshoot of the increased numbers will help.
“One thing that is better [this year] is competition,” he allowed. “We really compete with each other — I think we have done that a lot more. We compete against each other with teams in conditioning. It has really been good.”
Those sessions help build a sense of team unity, of picking up a teammate when he’s down, and in his leadership role Wesco believes that is invaluable. Haskins and Bejak were on the team a year ago, but the former was ineligible to play as he sat out his transfer year. Bezjak has been around for two years, but also has yet to see the field, leaving Wesco to pass along the lessons he learned in 508 snaps over the past two seasons. (Also included in that number are vital roles on multiple special teams, where he participated in more than 200 plays.)
With much expected of the offense this year, there might seem to be some pressure building on that unit to deliver — and perhaps some outsized expectations. Taking the leadership mantle, though, Wesco is again confident that his group, and the offense as a whole, will deliver.
“I don’t think there’s pressure, because we work on this stuff every day, out there in spring summer and camp,” he explained. “I think we will be ready when the time comes.”
For those Mountaineer fans who have been clamoring for the inclusion of the tight end in the offensive attack, that time can’t come soon enough.