Central Michigan Chippewas 2018 position group preview: Tight ends

Sophomore tight end Austin Ervin, left, and sophomore tight end Logan Hessbrook, right, shake hands on the sideline during the Spring Game on April 22 at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

Central Michigan began fall practice on Aug. 3, meaning the 2018 season is just around the corner. For more position group previews, check Central Michigan Life over the days leading up to kickoff:

Position: Tight ends

Projected starter (pictured above): Logan Hessbrook (senior)

Key backups: Keegan Cossou (redshirt freshman), Bernhard Raimann (freshman), Joel Wilson (freshman)

Breakdown: Starting three games in 2018, tight end Logan Hessbrook made 10 catches for 132 yards and one touchdown. He was a walk-on player until receiving a scholarship from head coach John Bonamego on June 24, 2018, at Central Michigan's annual Coaches vs. Seniors softball game. 

Since last year's top tight end Tyler Conklin has graduated and moved to the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL, Hessbrook is poised for a breakout campaign. In eight games in 2017, Conklin caught 35 passes for 504 yards and five touchdowns. 

Bonamego has already listed Hessbrook as the starting tight end for the season opener at Kansas on Sept. 1. 

Here's Bonamego's breakdown of the tight ends: “Logan is going to be a steady playmaker for us. He showed some of that last year. Keegan Cossou is doing really well. He’s a redshirt freshman. Bernhard Raimann came in as a grayshirt, so really he’s a true freshman, but I expect him to play this year. Joel Wilson from Petoskey has flashed. It’s a good group.” 

Hessbrook came to CMU from Division II Saginaw Valley State. Halfway through his freshman 2014 season with the Cardinals, the then-wide receiver broke his collarbone after seven games, five receptions and 52 yards. 

The 6-foot-3, 238-pound tight end decided to transfer to CMU as a walk-on after the first semester of his sophomore year at SVSU. He sat out the 2016 season due to transfer rules and finally made it on the gridiron in 2017. 

"First of all, he’s an unbelievable person," Bonamego said of Hessbrook. "He’s ultra-hard working, passionate and a very good student. He is your model student-athlete in a lot of ways. He’s always looking to do more and never trying to get out of anything."

Cossou joined the Chippewas as a member of the 2017 recruiting class from Greenville Senior High School, ranked No. 946 in the nation, No. 44 at tight end and No. 21 in Michigan, per 247Sports Composite. He took a redshirt as a freshman after picking CMU over Minnesota, Purdue, Nebraska and others. 

"A talented kid, gifted athlete, heavily recruited out of high school," Bonamego said of Cossou. "With that upside, every practice and every rep is important for him, much like the rest of the young guys on the team. He's definitely a talented kid."

Cossou is expected to be Hessbrook's backup, as he has been working out with the second team in practice. 

Raimann was supposed to make his debut for Central Michigan in 2017 but was forced to return home to Austria to serve one year in the military before earning a reserve title under zero pay. 

Now Raimann is back in Mount Pleasant and ready to make an impact for the Chippewas.

New tight ends coach Tavita Thompson has praised Raimann for his work ethic in practice. 

"He's giving constant effort, even if he messes up, he's still flying around and you can appreciate that," Thompson said. "He's big and he's just learning how to do everything. For him to make this transition into college and be where he's at is really fun to see."

Raimann moved to Michigan as a foreign exchange high school student. He was a two-star prospect from Delton-Kellogg High School. Raimann's only other offer was to Eastern Michigan. 

While Hessbrook, Cossou and Raimann are expected to see playing time in the fall, one future star could eventually emerge in Wilson, a freshman from Petoskey High School. 

Attending a CMU summer football camp in 2017, Wilson worked out at the quarterback position. Bonamego pulled him aside and asked him to run a few tight end routes. The 6-foot-4, 217-pound athlete gave it a chance. 

“I initially worked with the quarterbacks, then towards the end of the camp I ran routes and really impressed the coaches,” Wilson said. “(My recruitment) really kicked off after that.”

In his senior season, Wilson passed for about 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns. He scrambled for about 500 yards and seven touchdowns. 

“He’s a great kid,” Bonamego said. “It’s a tremendous environment at Petoskey, one of the best I’ve had the privilege of being around. 

“(I’m) extremely excited. I think he’s a tough, athletic kid who’s going to find his way on the field in one way or another.”

Despite losing Conklin to the NFL, the Chippewas have numerous options at tight end. The more quarterback Tony Poljan uses his big-arm like Shane Morris in 2017, the more CMU's tight ends should see positive action.