The Jets got one tight end back in the lineup in Week 3 and the hope is another one isn't too far behind. Although Jordan Leggett showed flashes of his versatility during the first few weeks of training camp, the rookie tight end suffered a knee injury prior to the Giants game that has kept him sidelined for the first three weeks of the regular season.
"I'm just trying to go out there and make an impact. It's a matter of me getting healthy at this point," Leggett recently said.
Not a stranger to adversity, Leggett faced a similar situation when he transitioned from high school to college. In his first two years at Clemson, the Navarre, FL native battled injuries and his playing time was limited, resulting in a scant 336 yards and three touchdowns.
Frustrations in his first two seasons led the future Mackey Award finalist to consider leaving Death Valley.
"At the end of my sophomore year, I was actually ready to transfer down to UCF," he said. "I was in Coach [Dabo] Swinney's office talking to him. But after I talked to him, I left thinking 'It's only going to be as much as I put into it.' So I stopped blaming everyone else and started blaming myself."
Leggett's new perspective led to two seasons as a John Mackey Award finalist, given to college football's most outstanding tight end, as well as numerous All-America and All-ACC honors. He accumulated 1,261 yards and 15 touchdowns in those seasons, both of which ended in National Championship appearances for Clemson.
In his final game with the Tigers, Leggett made his name known to the nation. On the game-winning drive of the National Championship game, Leggett made an acrobatic back shoulder catch to put the Tigers inside the 10-yard line. They would score three plays later to knock off the defending champion Alabama Crimson Tide.
One of the most notable differences in John Morton's offense is an increased utilization of the tight end in the passing game. Seferian-Jenkins had five receptions in his season debut and the Jets believe Leggett could provide another dimension down the line.
"He added another aspect to our team from a receiving standpoint and he has the physical ability," said general manager Mike Maccagnan after selecting Leggett in the fifth round of April's Draft. "He's a big 260-pound guy; we think he can be an effective blocker for us."
As for now, Leggett is focused on his recovery. With nearly a quarter of the season finished, the rookie tight end has missed valuable in-game experience. However, if the past is any indication of the future, the Jets need not worry about Jordan Leggett.