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Future of Rutgers Football 2023: Tight ends

Senior tight end Johnny Langan and junior tight end Victor Konopka will look to make an impact in the red zone for the Rutgers football team's offense in the 2023 season. – Photo by Gabby Ricciardi & Rich Grassle /

It is officially springtime, and spring training for the Rutgers football team started last week. In the fourth edition of Future of Rutgers Football, The Daily Targum previews the 2023 tight end room.

The Rutgers football team's tight end room will feature familiar faces in the 2023 season. Senior tight end Johnny Langan will return for his fourth season on the Banks. Junior tight end Victor Konopka is expected to be more involved after missing the last nine games of the season last year.

Langan will most likely lead the tight end room in 2023. Though he started his college career with Boston College as a quarterback, he has seen success as a tight end with the Scarlet Knights. 

Langan was a team captain in 2022 and Rutgers' most versatile offensive threat. In the 2022 season, he rushed for 139 yards and a touchdown, threw for 43 yards and a touchdown and had 296 receiving yards along with another touchdown. His offensive versatility has led many Knights fans to give him the nickname "Johnny Offense."

Konopka will be the other elder statesman in the tight end room and is expected to take a big leap for his junior season this fall. It will also be Konopka's fourth season on the Banks. So far in his Rutgers career, he has caught a total of five passes for 69 yards, struggling to maintain a consistent spot in the starting lineup. 

Konopka had a chance to serve a significant role in the 2022 season, but he suffered an injury that kept him out for most games.

"He was really coming on, and then all of a sudden, he disappears after the third game," said head coach Greg Schiano. "It's great to have him back. He's a really big target out there, and he's getting better and better at the blocking … Victor didn't play a lot of football before he came to Rutgers, so I think he is on that really steep incline of improvement."

Konopka's biggest strength is his height — he stands at 6-foot-7 and has the ability to climb the ladder as a receiver. His height also makes him an end-zone threat. Considering Langan's ability to serve as a running back, both players could be on the field plenty of times for the Knights in the red zone during the 2023 season.

Freshman tight end Logan Blake will join the tight end room for the 2023 season. The three-star recruit from Frenchtown, New Jersey, will add even more height to the tight end room. Blake stands at 6-foot-6 and could be featured as a blocker and red zone threat this season.

Sophomore tight end Mike Higgins is also expected to get playing time at the tight end position. Higgins was featured in seven games last season but made no catches.

With new offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca running the offense, new opportunities for playing time in the tight end room may present themselves. Andrew Aurich will be the tight ends coach for the 2023 season.

Ciarrocca discussed the tight end room in his introductory press conference.

"I love a tight end that can run and catch because it's easy to create those mismatches for (Langan) to get him on linebackers to get him on the (opponent's) worst cover guy when you detach him," Ciarrocca said. "That's easy, and it's definitely a bonus when we have that, and when we do, we try to take advantage of that."

For more updates on the Rutgers football team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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