Central Michigan spring football: Poljan's continued emergence key for relatively inexperienced group
This is the fourth of nine position group previews throughout Central Michigan spring practice. Today's edition focuses on the Chippewa tight ends and full backs. For the other groups, follow the links below:
Tony Poljan entered his junior year with Central Michigan moving from the quarterback position to the tight end position, where he played in high school and was heavily recruited.
After a strong season at the position, Poljan looks to looks to be the leader at the tight end position and one of the top receiving options for the Chippewas.
Poljan finished last year with 33 receptions for 496 yards and four touchdowns providing a solid option throughout the season for quarterbacks David Moore and now-graduated Quinten Dormady.
One of the players expected to produce behind Poljan next season is sophomore Joel Wilson. Wilson battled injuries throughout the 2019 campaign and as a result played in only three games catching just one pass for seven yards. The 6-foot-4 Petoskey native has the ability to impact the game, especially considering the highly-skilled players around him.
Junior Bernhard Raimann played in all 14 games last season and, much like Poljan, is a big target for whoever the Chippewas line up under center in 2020. Raimann had similar production in his first two years on campus catching 10 passes each season. The Austria native averaged 7.6 yards per catch in 2019.
Another former quarterback, Austin Hergott, also joined Poljan at tight end in 2019, however, Hergott did not see the field during the season. Without a sample size and a relatively deep group of tight ends, the potential for Hergott is unknown in 2020.
Two fullbacks are currently listed on the roster for CMU — seniors Oakley Lavalli and Hunter Buczkowski.
Both players will continue in a role for the Chippewas that doesn’t see much fame or box score praise and both are aware of it.
Buczkowski will likely remain in the starting spot for CMU. The 6-foot back from Mount Pleasant seemed to catch the attention of coach Jim McElwain throughout the season. Following a brief two-game stint dealing with an injury, McElwain praised Buczkowski in his return.
"The things that don't show up in the box score are the things that really make it happen," McElwain said. "To have him back, he does a great job doing the things that don't necessarily show up.”
Both the full back and tight end position groups will be vital in the upcoming season for CMU. Neither position is expected to steal the show from the receivers or running backs they’re helping to block for, but the coaches will be looking at their effect on the field.