OXFORD — Quite simply, Lane Kiffin hasn’t had a tight end who can do all the things senior Caden Prieskorn can during his three years as head coach at Ole Miss.
There have been “specialty” players, Kiffin said. Former star Kenny Yeboah and current junior Michael Trigg are elite pass catchers, and there have been players whose blocking was ahead of the receiving aspect.
Prieskorn, though, is an all-conference transfer with the prerequisite size at 6-foot-5, 255 pounds to play in-line and the production to back up what he can do as a receiver, having caught 48 passes for 602 yards and seven touchdowns in 2022 at Memphis.
“I think he’s a really kind of do-it-all, consistent tight end, when you watched him last year. Very big frame,” Kiffin said. “It seems like over time here, we’ve kind of had more specialty tight ends. He’s a bigger frame, probably, I guess, than anybody we’ve had. That makes a difference in blocking, at point of attack. And so, we were excited to get him to add him to our group, a very proven tight end, that’s (having) NFL measurables and not necessarily (just) like a receiver or a shorter blocker.”
The senior from Lake Orion, Michigan graded 40th nationally in run blocking among tight ends last season — nearly 20 points higher than Trigg — according to Pro Football Focus. Prieskorn also played the sixth-most snaps (839) of any tight end in the country a season ago, which tied for No. 43 nationally.
Trigg was one of the Rebels’ big hauls in last year’s transfer portal class, ranking as a four-star recruit from USC. Trigg missed six games in 2022 but caught 17 passes for 156 yards and three touchdowns. All three touchdowns came in a win against Central Arkansas.
“I feel like we complement each other so well. Like, I do some stuff he does well, he does some stuff that I don’t do so well,” Prieskorn said. “So I feel like it’s been a great one-two punch.”
Kiffin has a history of dynamic tight ends in his coaching career — O.J. Howard was among the nation’s best during his time with Kiffin as offensive coordinator at Alabama, and Harrison Bryant won the Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end in 2019 at FAU.
Upon entering the transfer portal, Prieskorn said he had plenty of suitors. But the idea of playing in an offense that could utilize his talents was hard to pass up, as was the chance to play in the SEC.
“I just felt like it’d be a great fit, and I just wanted (to come here) to compete. I feel like we have a great room all around. I feel like, to be honest, I think our room is one of the best in the country. We just have to be consistent every day and just show it.”
Prieskorn was a quarterback in high school at St. Mary’s Prep and at Fork Union Military Academy as a postgraduate. That perspective has helped formulate the way he plays tight end, he said. He sees the game differently than he otherwise might.
“I feel like my IQ, my knowledge of the game, helps me in a lot of ways, in that aspect,” Prieskorn said. “ … I’m a competitor, I love to compete. That’s why I came to Ole Miss.”
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