#81 | 6'4, 245, Sr. | Mansfield, TX
2011: 3 targets, 2 catches (67%), 46 yards (15.3/target), 1 TD
2012: 8 targets, 4 catches (50%), 27 yards (3.4/target)
Bill C.: Eric Waters is a team player. The tight end role has changed a few times since he moved to Columbia. When he signed with Mizzou, Chase Coffman was fresh off of winning the Mackey Award. When he was a redshirt freshman, Michael Egnew was catching 90 passes. And as his role increased in 2012, due to both his own development and a complete lack of other tight ends on the roster, he became basically a sixth linemen, if for no other reason than Mizzou needed all the blocking help it could get. Thus, at one of the schools most successful in throwing to the tight end over the last decade, Mizzou's returning starting tight end caught just four passes last year.
Through everything, Waters has shown a willingness to do whatever is required of him. That's awesome. And he will likely be asked to do quite a bit as a senior, too. He was surpassed by Sean Culkin at first string, but he's still the most accomplished and experienced blocker Mizzou has at the position. (He's also got more career receptions, obviously, but Culkin could catch him in that regard by the end of September.)
Good teams have players like Eric Waters throughout the depth chart, experienced hands with a willingness to help however they are asked.
MizzouRugby: I assume we will see Mr. Waters either up on the line or in the backfield as an H-back when we need more blocking, and that may be about it. He wasn’t used for much more last year, but he still held his own, so with added experience, he may be an asset for Henson this year.
The Beef: I agree Waters will be an asset as we look to make ourselves bigger. However, I think Culkin stands to make the larger impact.
CapnCribbs: I think Waters will play a role as a blocker, and will help on goal line "beef" packages when we need to pound it into the end zone. Personally, I think Culkin will become our feature TE this year, but Waters will play an increased role in the red zone as Henson looks to get the tight ends more involved.
countrycal: The coaches and fans know what Eric can do, and appreciate it when he does it. But, like the others here, I think there is more that can be done with the tight end and Sean Culkin is going to get a chance to show that this year under the direction of Coach Henson.
#82 | 6'5, 240, Fr. | Euless, TX
If there's one thing we learned in 2012, it's that players get hurt. And the odds are pretty good that a third-stringer will spend at least a portion of a given season on the second string. For this reason alone, I think that if Jason Reese shows decent capabilities in fall camp, he plays in 2013. He is the third of three scholarship tight ends, and if he's not ready, then he's not ready. But if he's at least semi-ready, he plays.
So is he semi-ready? I think we're at "quite possibly" right now.
*Pinkel said freshman tight end Jason Reese, who is currently fourth on the depth chart but one of only three scholarship tight ends on the entire roster, is making an impression.
"Jason, when we recruited him I think he was 215," Pinkel said. "He’s 242 right now. He looks like he’s 220. He’s a really, really athletic guy with great size potential."
The coaching staff has shown through the years that if it thinks you can make a winning contribution to the team, you probably won't redshirt unless there is a ton of depth ahead of you. Having "size potential" says more about your future , obviously, but I think the staff might like his present, too. I see a Michael Egnew-esque, "playing as a true freshman and catching 3-5 passes" kind of situation for Reese this year. (countrycal disagrees.)
The Beef: Not much depth at this position, so I don't know if Reese will be able to shed the shirt or wait his turn after Waters departs.
countrycal: I can’t imagine Jason seeing the field this season unless both tight ends go down.