We're 10 days down on our epic countdown, but don't fire up the tailgate grill until at least the 60s, okay?
We've got 90 days until a Bronco storm hits East Lansing, but our #90 is Billy Winn-less and has yet to be assigned. We're about to start a string of tight ends, so we might as well get this part started with Hayden Plinke
#90, Hayden Plinke, True Freshman, TE
Weight: 230 lbs.
High School: Glencoe High School, Hillsboro, OR
How'd he get to The Blue™?
Plinke was a big-time stud at Glencoe High School (a recurring them among Bronco recruits). He was named honorable mention all-state and first-team all-conference as a senior and was a second-team all-conference performer as a junior. As a senior, Plinke rushed for 251 yards and caught 31 passes for 457 yards—he also scored five TDs in his senior season. An all-around athlete, Plinke received three varsity letters in track and field, winning the state javelin title as a junior. Plinke's other scholarship offers came from defending FCS national champ Eastern Washington and Air Force. Plinke grayshirted last season and joined the team in January.
"Plinke and the Brain"
Actor and American Captain Chris Evans
All-state and all-conference honors as a senior. Student body president at Glencoe High. Got to hurl a pointed stick through the air...
Plinke is off his grayshirt year now so all bets are off. He could follow up with a redshirt year or play in 2012 as a technical true frosh. I like Plinke's athleticism, but a quick glance at the TE depth chart tells me that we may not need his services this season. And sure, I'm aware of the mantra "the best player plays", but senior Chandler Koch, junior Gabe Linehan, sophomore Kyle Sosnowski and redshirt frosh Holden Huff would all appear to be ahead on the depth chart at this point and all 4 could feasibly see the field this year. That leaves JC-transfer Connor Peters, Plinke and 2012 commit Armand Nance as added depth (Nance may be being groomed as a fullback), but might not leave room for a lot of touches. This may be just what the doctor ordered, however. As you can see, we've got a solid TE prospect in every class after losing the productive Kyle Efaw to graduation. If Plinke indeed redshirts this season—next year we'll be looking at a murderer's row of a tight end lineup with Linehan (Sr.), Sosnowski (Jr.), Huff (So.) and Plinke (RSFr.). That's a killer mix of pass-catching and blocking tight ends and I didn't even throw Peters into the mix (don't worry...I'll focus more on him tomorrow). The bottom line is that I like Plinke's game and think he'll be a valuable asset to the Broncos in the very near future...this just isn't a year where tight end depth is a legitimate concern, so I think he moves from one shirt to the next in 2012 and we'll see a lot of him in 2013.
Completely made up fact
During his track and field days, Plinke once threw a javelin completely out of the stadium and through a Walmart. The javelin return a half hour later with a dozen cookies and an assortment of $6.99 DVDs.