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Towson sophomore TE Tanner Vallely making strides in first year as starter

In his first year as a starter, Towson sophomore tight end Tanner Vallely is tied with sophomore wide receiver Andre Dessenberg for the team lead with three touchdown catches.

It's a surprising total considering that Vallely has caught just 13 passes for 157 yards this season. But Tigers coach Rob Ambrose said the 6-foot-6, 240-pound Vallely's development is not that startling.

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"Tanner is one of our tight ends who has a great understanding of our scheme and plays to his ability the best that he can," Ambrose said Monday during his weekly conference call arranged by the Colonial Athletic Association. "I can say that there may not be another guy in this program right now who is working to play to the best of his talent level. He's not the strongest guy in the world, he's not the fastest guy in the world, and he doesn't play a lot of plays. But he plays hard."

Vallely was a decorated quarterback at Seneca Valley High School in Germantown who also played some tight end. But he was recruited to Towson as a long snapper until he came to a realization.

"Didn't want to just sit on the sideline and snap a ball all day," Ambrose recalled about Vallely. "Got into the tight end lines to begin with and showed some proficiency there. He backed up James Oboh last year, and now he's in the mix a little bit with [senior] Brendon Gannon, doing what he can for the team, and you've got to love guys like that."

Vallely figures to be next year's starting tight end. Asked to describe Vallely's factors for his success, Ambrose said: "His overall love of the game and knowledge of the game. He has a pretty high football IQ. Those two things combined usually make for a versatile player."

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