Ohio State offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Kevin Wilson told 2021 Georgia tight end Cane Berrong that he and the Ohio State staff are hoping to get tight ends more involved in the passing attack moving forward, Berrong said. Wilson said this in February while extending an offer to who is supposed to be one of the best tight ends in his class.
The Buckeyes already have plenty of athleticism in their tight end room, particularly in senior Rashod Berry and sophomore Jeremy Ruckert, but adding another athletic tight end who claims to run a 4.50 laser-timed 40-yard dash at 225 pounds and just 15 years of age would retool the position for Wilson when the majority of his current tight ends are gone.
To better prepare himself for the college level, Berrong turned to former Georgia wideout Terrence Edwards, who set the SEC receiving record at the end of his collegiate career in 2002 and who now is the CEO of his own wide receiver training academy in Georgia.
“Watching his film and now seeing him in person, he will definitely be one of the top kids in the 2021 class,” Edwards said about Berrong.
Edwards is already working with one of the best recruits in his respective class. One of the stars of Edwards’ young academy is five-star Georgia athlete and No. 10 prospect in the 2020 class Arik Gilbert, who also has mutual interest with Ohio State.
The former Atlanta Falcons receiver has worked with several clients from a middle-to-high school level that went on and currently are going on to play college and professional football. Chester Rogers, a wide receiver for the Indianapolis Colts, worked with Edwards early in his career, and Justin Robinson, a four-star 2020 wide receiver who committed to Georgia on March 2, works with Edwards.
The first thing Edwards noticed about Berrong was how he carries his weight. The former NFL receiver said Berrong is a “legit” 225 pounds but possesses enough speed and explosiveness to outrun most defenders at the high school level.
Berrong said what Wilson likes the most about his game is that he is a “true” tight end. Edwards explained that what Wilson meant by “true” could be that his style is part-Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys and part-Jimmy Graham of the Green Bay Packers. His versatility is best compared to that of Travis Kelce from the Kansas City Chiefs, though, in that he has the speed and agility to run more than the short routes that Witten typically sticks to but that he can also block in the running game, something that Graham has had a of history of struggling with in his career.
Watching his film, he is most often lined up outside with wideouts but can be brought into the line as a wing and clearly provides several options for his coaching staff. What stood out to Edwards while watching his film was that Hart County can run bubble screens with Berrong because he has the hands and the speed to execute.
“That’s just a testament to how fast and explosive he is right now,” Edwards said. “Making tough catches is routine for him, and that just shows me that his ball control and concentration levels are just off the charts right now. His ability to catch the football is just natural. He doesn’t fight the ball. He plucks it out of the air, and he’s very comfortable just catching a football.”
Edwards is working with Berrong on how to improve that speed and explosion as he grows, which he will inevitably do. But Edwards said he’s also running Berrong through drills that introduce him to complexities of a college passing game that high school can’t provide.
Once he learns how to use leverage, to use his frame, to read coverages on the run and to understand positioning, Edwards said it will help make him a better tight end quicker once he reaches a Power 5 level and faces linebackers closer to his size.
Berrong said he’s applying what Edwards is teaching him to his early-morning workouts that he frequently posts on social media. Edwards said one of his favorite characteristics about Berrong is his willingness to learn, and it’s evident in the efforts Berrong is making in his training, as he’s also working with a speed trainer outside of his every-other-weekend visits to Edwards’ academy.
The Georgia tight end has already visited Tennessee, Wisconsin, South Carolina and Georgia, and after his offer from Ohio State on Feb. 19, Berrong pulled in three others, from Georgia Tech, Auburn and NC State.
The tight end said the way a school uses its tight ends, how much tradition it has and whether it can provide a path toward being a strength coach will be deciding factors in how he chooses where to commit.