When you think of the tight end position at the University of Tennessee, what name comes to mind?
Jason Witten, right?
The guy is still adding to a future NFL Hall of Fame career with the Dallas Cowboys after being drafted in the 3rd round of the 2003 NFL Draft. If you were putting together an all-time Tennessee Vols team, he is more than likely your pick at tight end.
Cue the ESPN “30 for 30” music for me.
What if I told you Tennessee has on its current roster a tight end that has better collegiate stats than Jason Witten? This is 30 for 30 on Ethan Wolf.
This column isn’t to say that Wolf has had a better collegiate career than Witten or that his possible NFL career will be similar.
It is remarkable though if you take a look at Wolf’s body of work in his three and half years on Rocky Top, considering the type of play calls that head coach Butch Jones and his multiple offensive coordinators have made.
For a good couple years, it was the Jalen Hurd show. Hurd up the middle, swing pass to Hurd. Wide receiver Josh Malone was in the mix too. Screen to Malone, deep bomb or post to Malone. But along the way, there was Wolf. Catching passes in the flat. Running down the seam for a clutch first down on 3rd and 12.
Take a look at the numbers:
Witten – 68 catches for 797 yards (11.7/catch) and 7 touchdowns over 3 seasons
Wolf – 79 catches for 851 yards (10.8/catch) and 5 touchdowns in 3.5 seasons and still going.
Yes, Witten only had 1 catch his freshman year and he left early so his entire career was pretty much achieved during the 2001 and 2002 seasons.
When given looks, Wolf makes the most of them. He’s not the most vocal guy. When he talks, you would probably think he just reading quotes from the General Football Quotes Handbook. He’s there though. He’s making those clutch 1st down catches. He’s not making the highlight reels, but he’s making an impact.
And along the way, he might find himself having a pretty solid NFL career like the guy whose stats he’s beaten.