By Nathan Hutchinson
Register Sports Editor
Jon Floyd had realistic expectations when he signed with EKU.
The former Madison Central tight end understood that he would likely be redshirted his first season and that it might take him a couple of years to earn some significant playing time.
Floyd did indeed sit out last season, as expected, but he has, somewhat unexpectedly, gotten an opportunity to get some valuable experience this spring.
With tight end Matt Lengel still recovering from knee injury and fullback ShaQuille Prather out following a surgery, the redshirt freshman has moved up the depth chart at both positions.
“After a redshirt season I wasn’t expecting to get a lot of reps, but I have,” Floyd said. With (Matt Lengel) out, I’ve been getting a lot of time. I’m still learning though.”
Floyd learned a lot last season as he watched from the sidelines.
He didn’t dress for home games or travel with the team to road games. Still, he worked with scout squad, attended team meetings and got bigger and stronger.
“It was a great year,” Floyd said. “It gave me a lot of time in the weight room. I’m much stronger than I was coming in and that really helped. I was really scrawny coming in. It gave me a lot of time to understand the offense. I was lost. It’s been really great for me. It’s the best decision I could have made.”
Even though he didn’t get to play last season, Floyd was able to stay healthy. In high school, the tight end suffered two serious injuries.
As a junior, he broke his wrist. His senior year, Floyd tore his quad.
Floyd played just six games in his final two seasons at Central.
“I’ve been to the trainer a few times, but nothing major,” Floyd said. “Thank God for that.”
Floyd hasn’t had much of a chance to work with the first-team offense in his first year at EKU, still he’s already made an impression. He’s shown the ability to catch passes and the willingness to work hard, sacrifice and contribute at other positions, like fullback.
“He’s a worker,” EKU coach Dean Hood said of Floyd. “He reminds me a lot of Paul Henry. You may not hear a lot about him early in his career, but he’s going to end up being like a little gnat that you just can’t get away from. He’s going to work his way in there.”
Lengel should be back at full strength once training camp starts, giving the Colonels two top-notch senior tight ends — Lengel and Nathan Watts.
That likely means Floyd may not get much of a chance to play this season.
Still, he’s ready to step in, if needed.
“I’ve got two seniors in front of me, but hopefully I can get in there if they need me,” Floyd said.
The Colonels are set to wrap up workouts Saturday with the school’s annual Spring Game at Roy Kidd Stadium.
The game is scheduled for 4 p.m. and admission is free.