Junior tight end ready to step up for SDSU football


Photo by Kelly Smiley

Sophomore tight end Kahale Warring celebrates his touchdown during SDSU’s opening game win over UC Davis.

by Abraham Jewett, Sports Editor

San Diego State football will feature a new starting tight end this season, following the graduation of two-year starter David Wells.

Junior tight end Kahale Warring is set to take over the reigns, and standing at 6-feet-6 inches and weighing in at 250 pounds, he will be a hard target for senior quarterback Christian Chapman to miss. 

Warring comes into the year with high expectations, as he was named to the preseason Mackey Award Watch List, which is given each year to the top tight end in the nation.

It is the fifth time in the last nine years that the Aztecs have had one of its tight ends receive the preseason honor.

Warring, for his part, took news of the recognition in stride, and said that being named to the watch list means nothing if he doesn’t perform out on the field.

“It’s a pretty big honor to be noticed and put up on that watch list,” Warring said, “but at the same time it doesn’t mean anything unless you perform this season.”

Warring finished with the third most receptions on the team last season with 18, and ended the year with the most touchdown receptions with three.

Warring said that he looks to play a big role in the passing game again this season, and the team may need him to step up following the departure of Mikah Holder, the team’s previous leading receiver.

“I would sure hope to see myself as a big play in the Aztecs’ pass game,” Warring said. “That’s a goal of mine, definitely one of my favorite things to do.”

The player passing Warring the ball this season will be senior quarterback Christian Chapman, a familiar face in the SDSU backfield with 23 career victories and a record 29 consecutive starts under center.

Chapman said that Warring will be a big part of the offense, and will need to step his game up accordingly.

“What (Warring) can do (with) his athleticism, one on one’s with linebackers and safeties, he’s going to be a go-to this year and he’s going to have to step it up big time,” Chapman said.

Warring is actually a relative newcomer to the sport of football, having played only one year of football while excelling at basketball, water polo, cross country, swimming and tennis while at Sonora High School in Sonora, Calif.

Chapman said that Warring has made great strides as a football player since joining the program as a redshirt freshman back in 2015.

“When he came here first he had one year experience of high school football, when he got here he did not know how to play football, honestly,” Chapman said. “It was so hard to get that man on point, he’s come a long way for sure.”

While Warring looks to make a big impact in the passing game, he has also spent the offseason attempting to improve his skills as a run-blocker, an area in which Wells excelled at.

“This year is mainly about me stepping up in the blocking game and getting to prove that I can do both,” Warring said. “It’s just a really big season to try to be a complete tight end this year.”

One player which Warring has reached out to for advice on improving his blocking abilities is sophomore Keith Ismael, who comes into the year as a pre-season first-team all-Mountain West selection by multiple outlets after earning second-team all-Mountain West honors following his redshirt freshman season in 2018.

“(Warring) has reached out to us about trying to improve his blocking, he’s shown up in a couple offensive line meetings,” Ismael said. “He’s just trying to improve his game like we all are, he’s going to be a big player, he’s a freakish athlete and you watch the film he’s open a lot of the time, so if we just give Chapman time to find him he’ll get the catches he wants.”

Whether blocking for the run or catching passes from Chapman, Warring said that his main goal for the season is to win football games and put SDSU on the map.

“We honestly want to win every single game,” Warring said. “Make a statement to the college football world that we’re not a Power-5 school, but we’re right up there with them.”