Naseir Upshur is a great example of not judging a book by his cover. I think he shows good ability as a receiver, but he really stands out as a blocker.
He gets after it and has the potential to be a complete tight end at the next level.
He isn’t going to be a monster at tight end in terms of his height and weight, but he plays more physical than you’d expect at his size. He is a very good athlete, but doesn’t show the elite speed to threaten down the seam. He has very good initial quickness in his first few steps, though.
Upshur gets after it as an in-line blocker. He plays nasty and does a nice job of fitting his blocking and finishing. Sometimes he will simply throw a defender down to the ground and he won’t be able to get away with doing that at the next level, but he shows the technique and tenacity the majority of the time that this is something I don’t see will be an issue with him trying to get away with it in college.
He has decent hands, but let’s the football get to his chest at times. He’s not the biggest guy and I’m not sure how big his catch radius is. Most athletic linebackers should be able to match up because he won’t be too big of a size mismatch like some other top tight ends.
He needs to improve as a route runner to better use his initial quickness to separate. He can do some damage after the catch because of how hard he competes. He isn’t a true big play threat, though.
Seeing him on defense, I actually think his best position might be at defensive end. He has a great first step and shows the ability to naturally dip and bend around the edge. With schools always on the lookout for pass rushers, this might be in his future.
He is a classic in-line tight end in a pro-style offense. I do think he could be a nice player at right end.
Upshur will probably never be a dynamic receiving threat. He can become a really good one, though, and that combined with his mentality as a blocker makes me believe he has the chance to be a complete tight end at the next level that could end being valuable contributor for multiple seasons at the next level.
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Jamie Uyeyama was a way too small defensive tackle at Idaho State University and a more appropriately sized rush end at Simon Fraser University. He was a coach at the college and high school level and is the son of Ron Uyeyama, a member of the Delta Sports Hall of Fame and high school football coach for over 30 years (hence the site name, Son of a Coach).