2022 Virginia Tech Tight Ends Preview

Drake De Iuliis (89) and Nick Gallo are the two veterans in the tight end room for Virginia Tech. (Ivan Morozov)

The Virginia Tech tight end room has plenty of experience this year, and that was obvious when the depth needed to step up after James Mitchell was injured in 2021.

The Hokies have five scholarship tight ends, six if you count “athlete” Connor Blumrick, which TSL will for the purposes of this article. He’s mainly practicing with Tyler Bowen’s group, but he has also spent some time with the wide receivers.

Here are the six scholarship tight ends:

Connor Blumrick: 6-5, 222, r-Sr.*
Drake De Iuliis: 6-6, 240, r-Sr.*
Nick Gallo: 6-3, 240, Sr.
Benji Gosnell: 6-4, 243, Fr.
Harrison Saint Germain: 6-34, 236, Fr.
Dae’Quan Wright: 6-4, 231, Fr.

[Note: * indicates a player is using their COVID year this season. Gallo has a COVID year to use after this season.]


Virginia Tech has had depth at tight end for multiple years now. Back in 2019, the room included De Iuliis, Gallo, Mitchell and Dalton Keene. The latter two were selected in the NFL Draft by the Lions and Patriots, respectively.

De Iuliis and Gallo are two of the program’s veterans, meaning they’re in a natural leadership position, especially with three freshmen behind them.

“Their approach and their work ethic every day has been outstanding,” Bowen said about De Iuliis and Gallo on Aug. 5. “How they’re bringing along the younger guys in the room, Benji and Harrison and Dae’Quan, and Ty [Eller] even showing up in a leadership role, we’ve got a really good room of guys that are helping each other succeed.

How Bowen utilizes those two will be interesting. In some of the practices the media has observed, the Hokies have run some sets with two tight ends. He said he’s comfortable with the duo in just about everything.

“I think they’re pretty good all-around guys,” Bowen said. “I think you can utilize them in a variety of ways, deploying different formations. … A lot of things depends on the gameplan and how that unfolds, what gives the defense the most problems, but I feel good about those guys.

“They’re experienced, they’re consistent in what they do. They’re consistent in their approach every day.”

Here’s a breakdown of their career stats:

De Iuliis: 40 app., 9 catches, 106 yards (11.8 avg.), 1 TD
Gallo: 35 app., 25 catches, 213 yards (8.5 avg.), 1 TD

Those numbers are a bit different from that of their predecessors. Mitchell posted 52 receptions for 838 yards and seven scores in Blacksburg, while Keene caught 59 passes for 748 yards and eight touchdowns. 

How De Iuliis and Gallo improved in the offseason is important. Both players had about the same offensive ratings last year, per PFF: 58.7 for De Iuliis, 57.0 for Gallo. The latter was better receiving (56.1 to 47.6), while De Iuliis was the better pass blocker (57.8 to 53.3) and run blocker (69.1 to 57.8).

(Note from Chris Coleman: PFF has historically graded Tech’s tight ends a little lower than I feel they deserve.)

Tech will need them to use their experience and carry some weight in different areas in the offense if the unit is going to be successful this fall.

How will Connor Blumrick factor in to Tech’s offense? (Jon Fleming)

Connor Blumrick’s Versatility

Blumrick’s career path has taken him all over the place. A former H-back at Texas A&M, he transferred to Virginia Tech to play quarterback. He threw for 152 yards and two touchdowns on 31 attempts in 2021, but was utilized more in the run game: 56 attempts, 242 yards (4.3 avg.), and three scores.

Blumrick’s received praise since the new staff arrived in the winter. Brent Pry described him as “one of those guys who can line up at tight end, line up at receiver, line up at quarterback.” He also called him “a matchup problem for linebackers,” while wide receivers coach Fontel Mines said Blumrick “brings a different mentality to the room.”

He’s up to 222, a gain of seven pounds from last season, and he’s spent fall camp practicing with the receivers and tight ends. Bowen said Blumrick has a “unique skillset” and that it’s fun to figure out how to utilize him in different packages and personnel groupings.

“I want to be in as many plays as coach can put me in,” Blumrick told the media a few weeks ago. “I want to be involved with the run game, the pass game, just whatever I can do to help.”

Blumrick said he considers himself a bit of a hybrid player, and how he’s utilized is curious. He’s looked good with his hands in practice, something he said wasn’t a difficult transition, and Bowen said he hasn’t noticed any errors when it comes to Blumrick catching the ball.

“I’ve always felt as if the quarterbacks have the best hands on the team,” Blumrick said. “I feel like coming from the quarterback position, it’s just kind of natural.”

How Virginia Tech will split up his reps across the different parts of the offense remains to be seen, but Blumrick has the opportunity to be an X-factor for the Hokies in 2022.

The Young Guns

The three true freshmen in the tight end room have all made plenty of strides since they arrived on campus, and Gallo said they’re “pretty impressive.”

“It’s pretty unusual for you to see freshmen pick stuff up really quick,” Gallo said. “I think all three of them have been doing a really good job. Just giving great effort every day.”

Wright, Saint Germain and Gosnell have the luxury of not having to play right away in 2022 and being able to redshirt. With Gallo and De Iuliis ahead of them (and even Blumrick), the Hokies are set for the future at tight end. Gallo even has a COVID year for 2023 he could use if he wanted.

That means the trio has time to learn the offense and adjust to the college game without worrying about when they’ll get on the field. So far, they’ve made solid impressions.

“You’d have to show me three better freshmen tight ends, particularly after summer,” Pry said. “Body types, physical abilities, they’re all a little bit different. They have different strengths. But the combination of those three, I’m really excited about.”

Bowen said the freshmen’s approach, work ethic and maturity have stood out, and they all have a chance to be well-rounded.

“What they’re showing from a physicality standpoint, the ability to catch the ball and make plays, I’m really excited about that group,” Bowen said. “And I think it helps when you have an older veteran group in that room to show them the way. I think Drake and Ty Eller and that whole group has really done a nice job of bringing those guys along.”

4 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Here is what I have noticed. The prior staff evaluated talent pretty well. They just had issues in developing it. That is down to the assistants. That tells me that Fu was unable to properly evaluate his assistents. I hope he bounces back and has learned. I wish him all the success in the world…..except when playing against VT

  2. Ironic that TAMU used in almost the exact same way Pry and Bowen intend to use him, yet he transferred from the former for that very reason

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