A year ago, Texas A&M were incredibly excited to see five-star tight end Baylor Cupp in action. The top-ranked player at his position in the nation for the class of 2019, he arrived early in College Station and went through spring ball. Immediately, he looked like a difference-maker and had fans, coaches and players all raving.
However, in fall camp, Cupp went down with a broken leg in a scrimmage that sidelined him for the season. Surprisingly, though, Texas A&M still had a Freshman All-American at the tight end position. It was just a different player than expected.
Jalen Wydermyer arrived in the summer from Dickinson, Texas, after being a big pass-catcher in his high school career. He immediately jumped out physically at 6-foot-5, 265 pounds and it did not take long for him to become a huge part of the Aggie offense as he led the team in touchdown catches.
However, one area that Wydermyer struggled a bit in his first season was blocking. He played more of a receiver role in high school so it was a bit new to him and he was also going against the best of the best in the nation’s top conference. Fellow tight end Ryan Renick says that there has been a big improvement in fall camp, though.
“This year especially, I’ve seen him get better in his run blocking,” Renick said of Wydermyer during Thursday’s Zoom media availability. “He’s really started to attack and be a little more physical. He knows what he’s doing a little more and what we’re trying to do on plays.”
As for what makes the now-sophomore so good, Renick pointed to a pair of attributes Wydermyer has going in his favor.
“I think what makes him special is he has great size and amazing hands,” Renick said. “I think his hands are great, especially for a guy his size.”
Renick, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound senior, admits he is a bit jealous of his younger teammate.
“I wish I was his size,” Renick said, laughing. “He definitely has that skillset – the size and hands, especially.”
Wydermyer will be counted on once again in the 2020 season and even more than he previously expected to be. For the second year in a row, Cupp went down with a season-ending injury as he recently underwent shoulder surgery. In addition, true freshman Blake Smith, who had been turning heads a bit in camp, suffered a knee injury and underwent season-ending surgery himself.
Texas A&M kicks off the season on Sat., Sep. 26 against Vanderbilt at Kyle Field. The game will air on the SEC Network Alternate Channel at 6 p.m. Central.