Morgantown, West Virginia – There were several players that stood out in West Virginia’s incredible home win over #16 ranked Kansas State, but redshirt sophomore tight end Mike O’Laughlin appears to have taken his game to another level entirely.
O’Laughlin, who was on the Academic All Big 12 team last season, caught six passes for 24 yards while playing twelve games for the Mountaineers and starting four as a freshman. Since then, O’Laughlin has clearly dedicated himself in the weight room and has become an absolutely deadly weapon for the West Virginia offense.
— Alec Gearty (@gearty83) October 31, 2020
Through six games this season, O’Laughlin has 8 receptions for 83 yards. Although the tight end position is under-utilized under Neal Brown, O’Laughlin has shown to be the most sure-handed, consistent pass-catchers on the West Virginia roster. At 6’5 and 255 pounds, it’s hard not to make the obvious comparisons to legendary NFL tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Gronkowski, a 5 time Pro Bowl player and 3 time Super Bowl Champion with the New England Patriots, now plays with Tom Brady in Tampa. Gronkowski is perhaps the greatest tight end in football history, so O’Laughlin obviously has a long way to go, but he has the size, skill, hands and instincts to make a name for himself not only for the Mountaineers but also in the National Football League.
Mike O’Laughlin @M_O_3_ looks like a future NFL player. Tremendous hands and instincts.
— The Voice of Motown (@voicemorgantown) October 31, 2020
O’Laughlin, who – like Gronkowski – wears #87, is “Baby Gronk.” With the West Virginia wide receivers struggling, it almost makes too much sense for O’Laughlin to be the go-to player for quarterback Jarret Doege, particularly across the middle. Anytime O’Laughlin has been targeted this season, very good things happen.
Mike O’Laughlin is perhaps the most dangerous weapon on the West Virginia offense. His incredible hands combined with his ability to stay on his feet and not be tackled, make him one of the top tight ends in the Big 12 Conference. In fact, last week, Pro Football Focus rated him with an offensive grade of 90.0, which was the highest rated in the conference and 3rd among all Power 5 tight ends.
Neal Brown, get this man the ball more often!
With an Offensive Grade of 90.0 from @PFF_College, West Virginia's Mike O'Laughlin was the Big 12 Conference's highest rated Tight End this week — and No. 3 among all Power 5 TE's. pic.twitter.com/L6nE5kXjV9
— Jed Drenning (@TheSignalCaller) October 26, 2020