Tuesday, September 15, 2020

WATCH: TJ Hockenson scores first touchdown of 2020 season


Sep 13, 2:44 PM


Former Iowa Hawkeye star and current Detroit Lion tight end T.J. Hockenson is back with a vengeance after missing the final month of his rookie season due to an ankle injury that he sustained in a Thanksgiving Day loss to the Chicago Bears. Now, Hockenson is back making big plays for Matthew Stafford and the Lions offense.


On Sunday, Hockenson played a key role in getting the offense going. He was responsible for helping the Lions set up for their first touchdown of the day. The versatile tight end also was responsible for a touchdown reception that came in the third quarter. Currently, Hockenson leads the Lions with five receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown.

During his rookie season, the former Iowa star went on to appear in 12 games with seven starts, hauling in 32 receptions on 59 targets for 367 yards and two touchdowns.


Earlier this offseason writer Adam Rank previewed the Lions 2020 season and believes that Hockenson will be a breakout star for Detroit this season


“A lot of people called the tight end "Patricia's Gronk" after Detroit selected him at No. 8 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft,” Rank wrote. “And those folks doubled down on that sentiment when Hockenson caught six passes for 131 yards and a touchdown in the season opener. But he never came close to that kind of production again, totaling just 26 catches for 236 yards and a touchdown over the rest of the season.


“Honestly, not a huge surprise, considering A) the TE position usually takes a few NFL seasons to master, B) Hockenson was limited by injuries and C) Stafford missed half the year. I'm really looking forward to seeing what Hockenson can do in 2020.”


Hockenson was a star for the Hawkeyes caught 24 passes for 320 yards and three touchdowns over 13 games in 2017. But he broke out as a redshirt sophomore, hauling in 49 catches for 760 yards and six touchdowns en route to winning the John Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end and being named a first-team All-American.

After Hockenson was taken eighth overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, tight ends coach David White raved about Hockenson, and he praised Iowa's system that involves the tight ends more than most college offenses.

“Luckily, T.J. came from a college program that’s more pro-oriented than more college (oriented) where it wasn’t as spread out,” White said of Hockenson via the Detroit Free Press. “And he is familiar with being on the line of scrimmage, blocking defensive ends and making line calls and things like that, whereas a lot of these guys have never put their hand in the ground. So I think he has a step up there from a lot of tight ends.”


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