After the success of the first edition in 2021, Tight End University returned for its second iteration last week. Between June 22 and 24, several of the best players the position currently has to offer descended on Nashville to work out on the Vanderbilt campus.
Among the 80 players participating were three members of the New England Patriots: Jonnu Smith, Devin Asiasi and Matt Sokol.
Smith, 26, joined the Patriots on a four-year, $50 million free agency deal last offseason but had a quiet first year in the system. Playing 46.8 percent of offensive snaps, he caught just 28 passes during the 2021 season for 294 yards as well as one touchdown — all while primarily being used in a blocking role.
Asiasi, 24, arrived in New England as a third-round draft choice in 2020. Despite his prominent draft status, he saw action in only 10 games over his first two years in the league; the UCLA product has just two catches for 39 yards and a touchdown on his résumé.
Sokol, 26, is a career journeyman who had two separate stints in Los Angeles, Jacksonville and Detroit before breaking the cycle and getting claimed off waivers by the Patriots in March. He has appeared in two games since his arrival in the NFL in 2019.
Tight End University was founded by George Kittle of the San Francisco 49ers, Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs and former NFL tight end Greg Olsen. The meeting allows some of the top talent at the position to join forces for three days, and to get in touch with their brethren both active and retired.
Appearing on Good Morning Football this week, Smith spoke about his experience at the camp: he mentioned Kelce as the participant stealing the show and also named retired NFL tight end Dallas Clark as his MVP.
“He showed up, gave us some tips, gotten in line with us, did some reps, taught us some things,” Smith said. “This guy’s still got it.”