18 DAYS TO KICKOFF: Andre McDonald

Sometimes, the biggest threat is the one you don't see coming. But it's hard to understand why opponents keep doing that with Andre McDonald — he's a pretty big dude who's awfully hard to miss.

#18 Andre McDonald
Redshirt Junior
6-8 | 264
Choctaw, Okla.


Position: Tight End

Previous College: None

Projection: Second-String

Status: On Scholarship

Andre McDonald Jr. (b. Dec. 19, 1990) is an exasperating player. Half of the fan base thinks he doesn't have the ball thrown to him nearly enough, while the other half is of the opinion that he should be moved to offensive tackle.

McDonald's a natural at the tight end position, having played it throughout high school. He is an uncommon weapon for which most teams are not going to be prepared, if we continue to use him wisely.

I say keep him at tight end, but you have to admit how frustrating it is that he never quite seems to break through.

For every 34-yard catch-and-run where he breaks three or four Miami tackles, there's long periods of ... nothing.

McDonald only caught six passes of note in 2010, but most of them were fairly important. For instance, there was the key fourth-down conversion to keep alive the game-winning drive against UCF.

Then there was a touchdown catch to help pour it on the despised Jayhawks — always a worthy endeavor. And even though we lost, he caught some key passes in the Colorado game, including a two-point conversion.

All of that preceded a breakthrough season in 2011. McDonald caught just nine passes for 136 yards, but his whopping 15.1 yards per catch was second on the team behind Tramaine Thompson's 16.1.

And much like that Miami play, his catches again came at big times, such as the touchdown in the back of the end zone against Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl or a couple of huge plays against Oklahoma State and Texas A&M.

But then McDonald, a virtual co-starter with Travis Tannahill at tight end, apparently entered Bill Snyder's doghouse for the umpteenth time. He lost his spot to Zach Trujillo and logged just one catch in the spring game.

It's maddening and frustrating that A) they don't throw him the ball more and B) he can't quite seem to get his crap together. Maybe these two things are not unrelated, hm? Here's hoping he puts it all together in 2012. We need him.

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