John Mackey Award voters haven't spent too much time looking toward Rutgers lately when searching for the nation's best tight end.
The position has been mostly forgettable for the Scarlet Knights the past couple of years. But that may be about to change.
Last week, head coach Greg Schiano hired former Pittsburgh assistant Brian Angelichio to coach tight ends, with Phil Galiano moving into a different, as-yet-unspecified coaching role. And it's clear that Angelichio has higher aspirations for the Rutgers tight ends.
"In our offense, tight end is a focal point and someone you need to be successful for the offense to run," Angelichio said Thursday in a conference call with reporters. "It will be a priority. We will try to get the most out of them to get this system up and running."
The offensive system is one Angelichio knows well, as he worked for the past two years at Pittsburgh alongside new Scarlet Knights offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti. Two years ago, Pitt had the best tight end tandem in the Big East and arguably the country with Nate Byham and Dorin Dickerson. Production from that spot was not as strong in 2010, but the Panthers lacked experience at tight end.
Angelichio's No. 1 goal seems obvious: maximizing D.C. Jefferson's potential.
Jefferson switched from quarterback to tight end before the 2009 season, and the 6-foot-6, 258-pounder has limitless potential. He caught five passes in 2009 and just 10 for 166 yards last year.
"Obviously, he has impressive physical characteristics," Angelichio said. "He can run and do some things.
"What he's done in the last two years and how far he's grown is certainly impressive when you consider he'd never been in a three-point stance before."
If Angelichio can get Jefferson to grow even more and fill out his potential, tight end could quickly become a source of strength for Rutgers.