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ASU Football: Reviewing the tight ends from 2013

How did the tight ends fare in 2013 compared to expectations?

Donald Miralle

In 2012, the leading receiver on the Arizona State football team was not a receiver at all. Tight end Chris Coyle's breakout season saw him catch 57 passes for 696 yards and five touchdowns.

Coyle quickly became Taylor Kelly's favorite target, as he finished with 16 more receptions than any other Sun Devil in 2012. Coyle solidified the tight end position for the Sun Devils heading into 2013.

2013 Expectations: The Pac-12 conference is stocked full of some of the best tight ends in college football. Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins and USC's Xavier Grimble are seen as the elite of the conference, with Coyle right there with them.

Not much was known about the 2013 Arizona State receiving corps coming into the season. The Sun Devils lost Rashad Ross and Jamal Miles, who combined for 74 catches in 2012. This was pre-Jaelen Strong breakout, so Coyle was expected to continue his role as Kelly's favorite target.

Coyle was expected to be a chain-mover, someone who Kelly would look to on third down to move the sticks and make difficult catches in traffic. He was also expected to be a main target in the red zone, as his five touchdowns in 2012 tied him for third on the team.

The other key returner heading into 2013 was Darwin Rogers. A JUCO transfer who caught three passes for 31 yards and a touchdown in 2012. Rogers was a physical receiving target who figured to have a bigger role in 2013 both in the passing game and as a blocker.

2013 Production: Coyle lived up to his 2013 expectations, being named First Team All-Pac-12 at the end of the season. The emergence of Strong hurt Coyle's numbers, but the senior still put up a respectable 29 catches for 423 yards and four touchdowns.

Coyle finished fourth on the team with an average of 14.6 yards per catch. He had five catches for 87 yards against USC and five catches for 78 yards and a touchdown against Washington.

However, Coyle's stats fell off toward the end of the season. He caught just six passes and did not score a touchdown in Arizona State's final five games. He did not record a catch in the Pac-12 championship loss to Stanford and had just one catch for 10 yards in the Holiday Bowl loss to Texas Tech.

Rogers was not heavily involved in the passing game in 2013, catching just four passes for 66 yards and a touchdown. He did lead Arizona State with an average of 16.5 yards per catch.

De'Marieya Nelson came to Arizona State from the junior college ranks in 2013 and caught a touchdown pass in the season opener against Sacramento State.

Nelson saw the field more than Rogers, but only caught seven passes all season and did not record a touchdown grab after early October. Toward the end of the season, he was used more as a running back and pass rusher than a pass catcher.

Who's returning in 2014

De'Marieya Nelson: Seven catches, 107 yards, two touchdowns

Who's leaving

Chris Coyle: 29 catches, 423 yards, four touchdowns

Darwin Rogers: Six catches, 66 yards, one touchdown