FOXBORO, Mass. — All things considered, Jacob Hollister had a successful rookie season as an undrafted free agent out of Wyoming.
Hollister played in 16 regular- and postseason games, caught four passes for 42 yards and contributed on special teams, making four tackles. But he has an opportunity to go from rarely-used offensive role player to contributor in his second season, and he’s making the most of it.
Hollister added bulk by training with former NFL tight end Kevin Boss in Bend, Ore. over the offseason. He also is taking strides to become more dependable. It seems to be paying off so far in organized team activities and minicamp, where he’s been a favorite target of quarterbacks Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer and Danny Etling.
“I think it’s just becoming reliable and earning the trust of your teammates,” Hollister said after Day 2 of minicamp Wednesday. “Obviously you’ve got to earn the trust of your quarterback, earn the trust of everyone on the team, really. It’s really just coming out every day and proving yourself to your teammates and knowing they can trust on you every play. That’s what I’m worrying about the most.”
Hollister is competing for snaps and roster spots with fellow tight ends Dwayne Allen, Will Tye, Troy Niklas and rookie Ryan Izzo behind Rob Gronkowski this spring and summer. Hollister and Tye have been standouts thus far in the spring passing camps.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick often speaks about a leap a player can take between their first and second seasons. Hollister believes he can make that jump.
“I feel like every player can always get better,” Hollister said. “Like Coach Belichick says, I think making that jump from the first to second year is something he mentioned and something I look forward to. I hope that he’s been seeing that in me, but I’m just trying to make strides every single day.”
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