McCray Moves to Tight End

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Zack McCray

Virginia Tech announced over the weekend that Zack McCray has been moved to tight end, effective immediately.  The Hokies are losing three senior tight ends after this season, and they hope the move puts McCray in a position to compete for playing time this spring.

McCray came to Virginia Tech as a highly-touted 4-star defensive lineman from Brookville High School in Lynchburg.  He redshirted in 2010, and played in all 14 games as a r-freshman in 2011.  He saw 141 snaps on defense, and 59 on special teams.  However, he didn’t have the impact that many projected, and he finished with only 14 tackles and one TFL.

This August, McCray played both defensive end and defensive tackle.  The Tech coaching staff considers him a tweener – not quick enough for defensive end, and not big enough for defensive tackle.  He has been beaten out for playing time on the defensive line by a pair of r-freshmen – Kris Harley and Dadi Nicolas.

As a result, the 6-5, 256-lb McCray has been moved to tight end.  Randall Dunn, Eric Martin and George George will all be gone after this season, and an opportunity for playing time will be available.  The depth chart will be wide open, following starter Ryan Malleck .  Here’s a look at Tech’s projected tight end roster for the spring…

Ryan Malleck (Jr.)
Duan Perez-Means (r-Jr.)
Darius Redman (r-So.)
Dakota Jackson (r-Fr.)
Zack McCray (r-Jr.)

Of those guys, the only proven player is Malleck, who took a big step forward Thursday night against Miami.  It’s a good move for McCray, who was unlikely to unseat anyone on the two-deep on the defensive line this spring.

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30 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Anyone who ever watched ZM play prior to attending VT would have told you TE was the only spot he could of played. From prior coaches to fairly tuned in fans. Frustrating waste of time. I said it way back when, and it isnt about being right as much as wandering… if us local folks knew.. how the heck did the coaches not realize it.

    Dont underestimate D. Jackson, that kid is a football player. I would bet ZM still has a tough time earning meaningful playing time at tight end.

    1. To play DE was Zack’s call. He was highly rated as a TE/DE Jumbo ATH and decided that with Logan Thomas playing TE, he’d be better off playing DE and began focusing on defense his senior year and in his recruiting. Of course LT got switched to QB almost immediately, and it took McCray a couple years to figure out that he wasn’t cut out for DL.

  2. A reason for doing this is might be that you aren’t sure that your tackles next year will be able to handle the quicker defensive ends. So, you know that you’ll need a two TE setup quite a bit.

        1. What! From what I have seen from Holmes, he is not the future. I think Edmonds would be the best pick to lead the charge next year at TB. He looks the part already. Holmes is a step or two too slow.

          1. I am unclear why the staff thinks Holmes is the future. Coleman is so much more quicker. I like edmonds also.

  3. Does anybody know if he played a little tight end in HS? Hopefully, he has good hands. He ought to be frustrated enough to want to hit somebody. lol

    Another side to this story probably is that it shows that LT is committed to QB. I hope it works out for both of these young men. Clock is ticking!

    1. He played DE and TE all through HS and was widely considered a JATH DE/TE recruit at the college level. When his cousin Logan Thomas started getting recruited hardcore as a 5-star TE, McCray switched his focus to defense.

  4. So we prefer to recruit TEs to use as O Lineman and we recruit DL players to use as TEs. Makes perfect sense.

    1. That’s probably a well thought out plan. Historically, our DL has more recruits than on the OL even through there are 4 starting positions vs. 5. Considering VT’s team philosophy, it would make sense to overrecruit the part of the team that you think is most imporatant. This guarantees a higher quality player on average due to the larger available pool. The ones who don’t make it are athletic enough to fill in the less important (to the VT philosophy) positions.

      Based upon position shifting and recruiting numbers, I would say that Bud is dealt more cards than Stiney.

      For the record, this comment is not intended to undercut Bud or defend Stiney. Just an observation.

      1. Yep. When we’re recruiting 4-5 DL per year and only 3 OL per year that’s telling you something. (the coaches dont give a $#@^ about the OL)

    1. Would be nice if either of them are able to contribute there, but I doubt it. I imagine you meant that as a slam of some sort, but VTs success rate with converted TEs on the OL is really high over the past 8 years or so. There haven’t been all that many, but most people think there have been a lot of converts because they have nearly all become multi-year starters, and Duane Brown even became a 1st rd NFL pick.

      1. I did mean it as a slam initially, but you are right when I think about it we actually have had relative success when we convert TEs to linemen. I just wish we could actually develop the linemen that we recruit. I disagree with people that say the issue is the talent we get on the line. As we did more with less in the pre Newsome days.

    2. And the way of every other college team in America, btw. Tight ends are jumbo athletes and end up at many different places.

    3. Often, you find that HS TE’s are more athletic than their HS Oline counter parts. This is why I think it should be a strategy to recruit HS TE’s that have a big frame and move them to Oline (tackle esp).

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