While the receiving corps for the Cincinnati Bearcats will be retooling in 2016, the tight end posts are solidly built on the experienced shoulders of two returning players in DJ Dowdy and Tyler Cogswell. Although neither littered the stat sheet with crooked numbers (combined for 126 receiving yards in 2015), both have been through the ringer before and could be in line for more pass-catching responsibilities this season.
Dowdy is the more hyped of the two. A John Mackey Award contender, Dowdy stands at 6’1" with 250 pounds on his frame. He has played in 37 games since redshirting as a freshman in 2012. In that time, he has only managed to accumulate 146 yards and three touchdowns on a scant 19 receptions. However, UC’s offense has been predicated on getting the ball to receivers and running backs of late, with the tight end often being relegated to blocking duties or diversionary route running. In fact, the last time a UC tight end had more than 200 receiving yards in a season was when Travis Kelce totaled a team-best 722 yards during his senior season in 2012. Could Dowdy follow in Kelce’s footsteps? Its possible. After all, Kelce had only 197 total receiving yards before the 2012 season.
In 2015, Dowdy had only three games with more than one catch, putting together his best performance against UConn when he caught two passes for 55 yards, punctuated by a 26-yard touchdown reception. If he can consistently perform at that level, Dowdy may just become one of UC’s most trusted targets.
As for Cogswell, there is less expectation that he will suddenly be piling up the yardage. He has caught a total of five passes for 29 yards in two full seasons with the Bearcats. (He redshirted as a freshman in 2013). The former three-star recruit is still a valuable player on the roster as he supplements UC’s already talented offensive line as a solid blocker on the outside. This year he might be asked to do more and even get a few more passes sent his way.