#18 Andre McDonald
Position: Tight End
Previous College: None
Status: On Scholarship
Andre McDonald Jr. (b. Dec. 19, 1990) is a big and physical tight end who is solid in run blocking and will battle for starting duties as a senior. After a breakthrough season in 2011, he regressed in 2012 and looks to bounce back.
McDonald appeared in nine games last year, but did not record any statistics due to a combination of injuries and being in the doghouse (forgive the bad pun). The simple truth of the matter is that he is an exasperating player.
But he had eight catches for 80 yards in the spring game, and was a favorite target of both Daniel Sams and Jake Waters. That seems to bode well for a solid senior season when our passing game should be highlighted more.
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. But he's inconsistent as hell.
For every 34-yard catch-and-run where he breaks three or four Miami tackles, there's long periods of ... nothing.
McDonald caught just nine passes for 136 yards in 2011 while complementing the much-steadier Travis Tannahill, 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 come 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.
He played in 12 games that year, including starts against Missouri, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M, beginning the season with a 15-yard reception against Kent State and also catching an 18-yarder against Missouri.
Zach Trujillo will push McDonald, but not nearly as much as Tannahill did. The starting tight end job is McDonald's to lose and everyone knows it. Here's hoping he puts it all together in 2013. We need him.