2019 Southeastern Football Position Report No. 5: Tight Ends
HAMMOND, La. – When the Southeastern Louisiana football team hosts No. 6 Jacksonville State next Thursday at 7 p.m. in Strawberry Stadium, the Lions will feature perhaps its deepest and most versatile tight end group in recent memory.
Bransen Schwebel returns after earning first team All-Southland Conference honors a season ago and teams with junior Damien Dawson to give SLU a versatile tandem. Newcomer Matt DeBlaiso is expected to provide another talented pass-catching option, while Tanner Olsen adds quality depth.
Southeastern head coach Frank Scelfo has touted the tight end position as one of the team’s strengths. Second-year assistant Ross Jenkins, who works with the tight ends, as well as serving as the special teams and recruiting coordinator, shares Scelfo’s optimism.
“We’ve really bonded well as a position group and are all working together towards the same goal,” Jenkins commented. “The competition has been good for all of us and we’re pushing each other to be better each day.”
Schwebel and Dawson play vastly different roles and complement each other well. Schwebel hauled in 30 passes for 484 yards and three touchdowns in a breakout junior campaign, while Dawson has been one of the team’s top blockers in his two years out of Franklinton High School.
“Damien’s had a phenomenal fall camp and is playing at his highest level right now,” Jenkins said. “Bransen’s always been a good receiver, but he’s improving in every aspect, including his run blocking. Those two have put the work in and helped elevate our entire group.”
DeBlaiso has caught Scelfo’s eye since transferring in during the spring out of Nassau Community College. The 6-4, 235-pound Seaford, New York native provides another talented target for SLU quarterback Chason Virgil.
“Matt’s been a great addition to our team,” Jenkins continued. “He’s brought it every day and isn’t going to be out-worked. The work he’s put in has shown and he’s become a significant part of our offense. We’re really pleased with our entire group’s progress and we just have to continue working hard to improve.”
The fall semester opens on Wednesday, meaning the Lions will begin practicing at 3:30 p.m.
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