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2023 Northwestern football position reviews: tight ends

The tight ends were quiet this year.

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Moving forward with our position reviews, we’ll take a look at how the tight end room fared in 2023.

Note: tight ends with at least two receptions are included in this list.

Overall Grade: C-

No tight end on this roster eclipsed 200 yards receiving, and just two were over the 100 yard mark. C- might even be generous for a group with that little yard accumulation. Additionally, tight ends accounted for just two Wildcat touchdowns. From a stats perspective, the room gets an F.

But, injuries were certainly a factor that we must take into account. Marshall Lang, the leading receiver in the room, missed some time midway through the year. Thomas Gordon had some injury struggles, too. Both played a lot of games this season, but who knows how beaten up they were out there.

The tight ends also didn’t benefit from Northwestern’s three-headed-monster of a receiving room. A.J. Henning, Cam Johnson and Bryce Kirtz carried the load for the ‘Cats, and there simply were not a lot of other targets to go around. It relegated the tight end group into primarily a blocking role, at which they were serviceable.

Player Grades:

Marshall Lang: C

Lang, a senior from Ohio, finished the 2023 campaign with 11 receptions for 116 yards and no touchdowns. Yes, that was the most productive tight end stat line that Northwestern can boast from this season. Not great.

Lang seemed to have one big catch every game. He had exactly one reception in eight separate contests this season. The only time he eclipsed that mark was in the bowl game, when he had three. But he made those receptions count, averaging 10.5 yards per catch.

As a blocker, Lang is decent, but there isn’t much else to say. His season was very much just okay.

Thomas Gordon: C-

Gordon made some big plays for the ‘Cats in 2022, but he didn’t feel as noticeable out there in 2023. He finished the year with 13 receptions for 112 yards and a touchdown early in the season against UTEP. Again, just okay.

The former three-star recruit out of Houston gets a slightly worse grade than Lang because he hurt Northwestern with penalties on multiple occasions. He had a terrible facemask penalty against Nebraska that stalled a crucial drive. He also had a number of costly holds.

Charlie Mangieri: Incomplete

The senior from Peoria, IL finished the year with seven receptions for 53 yards and a score after missing all of 2022. His one TD was a massive one, though, against Minnesota in overtime to win. Otherwise, there’s not much to say about his season. The six-year Wildcat deserves credit for a solid college career, however.

Lawson Albright: Incomplete

The junior had exactly two receptions for 12 yards. They both came early in the season (one against UTEP and one against Duke) when others were banged up in those games.