June 11, 2004 - by
Florida State Football Position Analysis: Tight Ends

June 11, 2004

The tight end position is as deep and as talented as FSU has enjoyed in years.
Three players with considerable experience return and they will team with a Notre Dame transfer to make a formidable group.

Paul Irons is the lone senior among the tight ends and the man to beat for the starting position. Irons is very solid at the spot with excellent run and pass blocking skills. He had six receptions a year ago and started all nine games in which FSU began the game with a formation that included a tight end. Although Coach John Lilly feels very good about Irons, the upperclassman will have to fend off three talented players to hold the position in the fall.

Donnie Carter, a 6-4, 255 junior, pushed for the starting position all summer. He had five receptions for 99 yards a year ago, while still adjusting to tight end after playing on the defensive line his first two years on campus. He has excellent speed and good hands. His blocking skills have come a long way and hold the key to playing time for him in 2004. Ditto the agenda for fellow junior Matt Henshaw who also has proven himself an excellent receiver with five catches for 94 yards as a sophomore last year. He doubled Carter’s touchdown total with two, including one against Florida and Miami in the Orange Bowl to close the season on a high note.

Matt Root is big (6-6, 249) and anxious. He sat out last season after transferring from Notre Dame. He has the size to be extremely effective at tight end, but is also big enough to provide help along the offensive front if the Seminoles’ numbers get too low.

The emergence of FSU tight ends in the passing game over the course of last season made the entire offensive unit much more difficult to defend and they are all back this year. They combined for 21 catches and nearly 300 yards, which should force defenses to play a different strategy in 2004.

TE 38 Paul Irons 6-2 242 SR
88 Donnie Carter 6-4 255 JR
14 Matt Henshaw 6-4 231 JR
87 Matt Root 6-6 249 JR

#38 Paul Irons
Tight End * 6-2 * 242 * Senior
New Orleans, LA (St. Augustine)

At Florida State: Listed first on the depth chart at tight end and is one of 10 returning starters on the Florida State offense…anchors the tight end position which FSU coaches consider to be as deep and talented as they have had in years…was first among the tight ends in 2003 with six receptions and third with 79 yards receiving…also contributes on special teams…was the recipient of the Leadership Award for the offense following spring drills…has earned most dependable tight end and Iron Nole awards on offense the past two springs… was recruited to FSU as a fullback, but was moved to tight end in 2001 due to the lack of depth at the position…one of the leaders of the FSU team…joined fullback James Coleman and quarterback Chris Rix on a mission of Africa during spring break.

Junior Year (2003): Started nine games – every game the Seminoles had a tight end in the starting line up…was first among the tight ends with six receptions and third with 79 yards receiving…had a career-high three receptions for a career-high 42 yards at Duke…recorded a career-long catch of 20 yards at Clemson…also saw action in all 13 games on special teams and recorded an assisted tackle…earned most dependable tight end, Iron Nole (offense) and the Offensive Leadership awards following spring drills.

Sophomore Year (2002): Made one start at tight end, while appearing in 13 games both on offense and as a member of the special teams units…gained valuable experience at tight end, playing behind senior Patrick Hughes…had one reception on the year vs. NC State…was also credited with a tackle against Georgia Tech…played on special teams as a member of the kick return unit, making one return…was named most improved tight end following spring drills.

Freshman Year (2001): Was recruited to FSU as a fullback, but was moved to tight end due to the lack of depth at the position…saw action in all 12 games, primarily on special teams…caught a five-yard touchdown pass against Virginia…was one of 12 true freshmen to see playing time.

High School: Played guard in high school but recruited by Florida State as a fullback…ran a 4.8 40-yard dash and bench pressed 300 pounds…selected Florida State over Louisiana State, Mississippi and Tulane.

Personal: Born December 23, 1983…major is finance.

Irons’ Career Stats
2001 1 5 5.0 1 5
2002 1 1 1.0 0 1
2003 6 79 13.2 0 20
TOTALS 8 85 10.6 1 20

#88 Donnie Carter
Tight End * 6-4 * 255 * Junior
Waycross, GA (Ware Co.)

At Florida State: Should continue to see plenty of action with fellow tight ends Matt Henshaw and Paul Irons…listed second on the depth chart at the position…ranked first among the tight ends and eighth on the team in receiving yards in 2003 after moving from defensive tackle to tight end…was named the most improved tight end following spring drills in 2003 and 2004…used his outstanding athletic ability and size to ease the transition into his new role.

Sophomore Year (2003): Had five catches for 99 yards in his first season at tight end…played in all 13 games and had receptions in four contests…recorded a 34-yard reception to set up a Chris Rix touchdown run in the Seminoles’ 38-34 win at Florida…posted his best game of the season with a career-high two receptions, including a career-long 50-yarder, for a career-high 57 yards and his only touchdown of the season in the win at Duke…led all tight ends and was eighth on the team in receiving yards…made one of the biggest changes during spring 2003, moving from defensive tackle to tight end and earned most improved tight end honors following spring drills.

Freshman Year (2002): Played in 13 games on special teams and as a backup at defensive tackle…totaled 10 tackles, three of which were solo…accumulated two tackles for a loss and made one quarterback sack…was credited with one pass break-up…had a season-high three tackles twice, versus Iowa State in the Eddie Robinson Kickoff Classic and versus Duke…against Duke, compiled a season-high two solo tackles…also appeared on the kick return team, recording three returns for 40 yards, with his longest run registering at 17 yards…named the most improved player on the defensive line by coaching staff at the conclusion of 2002 spring practice.

2001: Redshirted.

High School: Part of an impressive incoming class of defensive linemen…ranked 14th on Tom Lemming’s Top 25 defensive linemen from Prep Football Report…totaled 79 tackles, 10 sacks, six knockdowns and 10 caused fumbles on his way to earning All-South Georgia honors in his senior year…standout athlete who was also a power forward in basketball…given a three-star rating in BorderWars.com’s recruiting profiles…recorded 50 tackles and three sacks as a junior…decided on FSU after attending the Clemson-FSU game.

Personal: A sport management major…was born October 27, 1982.


Carter’s Career Stats
2001 not applicable
2002 5 99 19.8 1 50
CAREER 5 99 19.8 1 50

#14 Matt Henshaw
Tight End * 6-4 * 231 * Junior
Brentwood, TN (Brentwood)

At Florida State: Will vie for playing time behind tight ends Paul Irons and Donnie Carter…came to FSU as a quarterback but made the transition to tight end in his freshman season…has played in 21 games over the past two seasons…led the tight ends with two touchdown catches in 2003, including one vs. Miami in the Orange Bowl, and ranked second among the tight ends with 94 yards receiving…good athlete with good hands…coaches believe tight end position is as deep as it has been in years.

Sophomore Year (2003): Played in 11 games at the tight end position…was second among tight ends with 94 yards receiving which ranked ninth on the team…was first among tight ends with two touchdowns…recorded his first career touchdown at Florida on a 20-yard reception in the second quarter of the Seminoles’ 38-34 win…scored FSU’s only receiving touchdown in the Orange Bowl with a seven-yard catch in the second quarter which gave FSU a 14-3 lead…had a career-high two catches for a career-high 58 yards against Wake Forest.

Freshman Year (2002): Due to a lack of depth at tight end, made the transition from quarterback to tight end…saw action in 10 games including the Nokia Sugar Bowl versus Georgia, primarily on special teams…impressed coaches with his progress as a quarterback before moving to tight end.

2001: Redshirted along with most of his class.

High School: Completed 169 of 269 passes (57 percent) for 2,173 yards and 15 touchdowns in his senior season under head coach Jack Daniels…passed for over 2,300 yards and 19 touchdowns as a junior…named second-team Class 5A all-state…ran a 4.65 in the 40-yard dash…picked FSU over ACC rival Clemson.

Personal: Born March 17, 1983…major is social science… father George Henshaw, an FSU assistant coach from 1976-1982, has coached with several NFL teams and is currently a member of the Tennessee Titans’ coaching staff.

Henshaw’s Career Stats
2001 0 0 0.0 0 0
2002 5 94 18.8 2 46
CAREER 5 94 18.8 2 46

#87 Matt Root
Tight End, 6-6, 249, Sophomore
Tallahassee, FL (North Florida Christian)

At Florida State: At 6-6, a big tight end with great hands and good speed… should move into the tight end mix behind veterans Paul Irons, Donnie Carter and Matt Henshaw…transferred from Notre Dame in the summer of 2003… was a member of the Irish squad for two seasons but did not see game action…has three years of eligibility remaining after sitting out last season…knows the FSU system as he was able to participate in practice all of last season and in the spring…coaches feel that tight ends are as deep and talented as they have had in some time.

2003: Redshirted after transferring from Notre Dame.

High School: Caught 17 passes for 274 yards and two touchdowns as a senior in ’00 at North Florida Christian…also played defensive end…rated 78th among Florida prospects by the Orlando Sentinel…rated 29th among Florida prospects by SuperPrep…rated the No. 1 tight end in Florida in 2000…helped North Florida Christian to state titles as a junior and senior…captain of team as a senior…caught 19 passes for 301 yards as junior in ’99…earned a letter at quarterback as a sophomore…won two letters in basketball playing both the forward and center positions.

Personal: Father Jack Root was a second-team Academic All-American as a fullback at Stanford (1965-67)… is majoring in history…was born September 29, 1982 in Palo Alto, Calif.

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