The 2013 Spartan offense was a vast improvement from 2012, but it was still not the strength of the team. Michigan State relied on it’s defense last season, and it will continue to do so in 2014 but the emergence of tight end Josiah Price could give the Spartans a more dynamic offense next year.
As a freshman, Price caught just 17 passes for 210 yards but he did find the endzone four times including the go-ahead score in the Spartan’s B1G Championship victory over Ohio State.
In 2013 Price wasn’t a featured part of the Michigan State offense because of his lack of experience and sometimes inconsistent play, but with a full season under his belt he is poised to be an impact player.
Price has a big body and proved last season that he is a more than capable blocker. That is important if he wants to be on the field more often because of the Spartan’s pro-style rushing attack. Getting more snaps will allow Price to get more comfortable on the field and help him become an impact player.
It isn’t hard to remember the days when the Spartan’s tight ends were a focal point of the offense. In 2012 Dion Sims was the only option Andrew Maxwell could count on to consistently catch the ball and in 2011 Sims and Brian Linthicum were a productive tight end tandem. Josiah Price will be looked at to carry the torch of playmaking Spartan tight ends next season.
The spring game showed several things that indicate Price will have a big 2014 season. The first being the offensive gameplan. Both Price and Jamal Lyles, another talented young tight end, were targeted early and often. Price finished the game with five catches for 81 yards and a touchdown. The tight ends were being looked at as the primary option on more plays, which will bode well for Price. Price’s first catch of the game brings me to the second positive takeaway of the game.
Connor Cook threw a pass to Price that he even admitted he thought was overthrown, but the 6-foot-4 tight end made a spectacular leaping catch and came down with the ball. Price making plays like that will build Cook’s confidence in him, which is key for a tight end and quarterback. Tight ends are often referred to as “security blankets” for quarterbacks because they consistently make plays. Price has shown that he is more than capable of making plays and with his consistency improving he will make a nice security blanket for Connor Cook this fall.
Although you can only look so far into spring game performances, Price looked like a different player than he did in the fall. He looked more comfortable on the field and he made some attention-grabbing plays.
The 2014 Spartan offense is expected to be better than last season because of all the returning skill players. Quarterback Connor Cook gets almost all of his weapons back, including tight end Josiah Price. Price has the skills and experience to emerge as a go-to option for Connor Cook, which will make the offense more dynamic in 2014.
Related article: Predicting the Spartan’s defensive MVP in 2014
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