Year: RS Sophomore
Hometown: Newtown Square, PA
As we’ve discussed a few times already, the role of the TE in the new offense is unclear. The new offense is going to be a high-tempo, spread, multiple WR option. There doesn’t appear to be much room for a TE. BYU, though, had 9 or 10 TEs on the roster over the past 2 years. Most of those TEs didn’t play much, and they totaled just a handful of catches between them. Is that going to be the case for the Hoos as well. One TE (Tanner Cowley) was already moved to WR.
Butts, though, was not moved. Nor did he elect to transfer, when surely he had options. He was a 3-star recruit across the board and he had offers from Big 10 schools, ACC schools, MAC schools and a number of FCS schools. It is possible that elected to stay, knowing that he wouldn’t have much role on the offense. Maybe he just wants to get his UVA diploma. But it is also possible that Coach Mendenhall and Coach Anae have a role for him going forward.
Butts is a good all around TE. He’s good blocker who can be trusted to pick up a blitzing LB or DB on his own. He’s also good in space. But his strength is as a receiver. Last year, he was 5th on the team with 16 receptions for 182 yards and 3 TDs. That’s not bad for a freshman who was splitting time at the position.
Here’s a highlight video for Evan from his senior year of HS. Butts also played DE, so there are some clips of his on defense included. He isn’t going to play DE at this level, though his play there shows his physicality and highlights why he’s a solid blocker.
There’s a few plays where he’s used as a split end and runs what amounts to a fade route. He also runs similar routes as an in-line TE. This is where he’s likely to be used. With his size, hands and catch radius, he could be valuable around the goalline. His 3 TDs last year are proof of this. Line him up outside and throw the ball up in the air and let him go get it.
Outside of that type of route, you can’t really see a ton of instances where Butts would play. Sure, they could split him out and let him run a drag route, but wouldn’t a quicker guy be better there. If he’s lined up outside, it’s probably mostly as a blocker or a decoy. There is nothing wrong with that, but Butts may not see many balls thrown his way.