CollegeFootballNews.com Preview 2017: Top 20 Tight Ends
Who are the best tight ends coming into the college football season? Here are the projected 20 top guys
Preview 2017: Top 20 Tight Ends
Who are the best tight ends coming into the 2017 college football season? This is a projection of the top COLLEGE players, and not necessarily the best pro prospects. Talent, of course, matters, but this is about looking ahead at who will be the top 20 this year.
20. Miller Forristall, Soph. Alabama
No, he’s not O.J. Howard, but there’s a shot he could be more productive – if the coaching staff doesn’t forget to throw his way. The 6-5, 225-pound star recruit only caught five passes for 73 yards last season, but that might be a decent game for him this year.
19. Brandon Lingen, Sr. Minnesota
Hurt almost all of last season, now he’s back and should be a force. The 6-5, 250-pounder caught 33 passes or 428 yards and three scores two years ago, and now he has to rise up among a pack of good tight ends. He’s the best receiver of the bunch.
18. David Wells, Sr. San Diego State
The 6-5, 255-pound veteran is a big blocker for the great SDSU ground game, but last year he showed off his terrific receiving skills, going from four grabs as a sophomore to 25 catches for 294 yards and four scores last season. The Aztecs don’t throw much, but Wells is too good not to get more work.
17. Chris Herndon, Sr. Miami
Rising up into a dangerous target, the 6-4, 258-pound veteran caught 28 passes for 334 yards and two scores. Now with David Njoku off being a Cleveland Brown, the opportunity is there for Herndon to shine.
16. Tyler Conklin, Sr. Central Michigan
A rising talent in the NFL circles, the 6-4, 240-pound former JUCO transfer showed off his receiving skills with 42 catches for 560 yards and six scores. He’s like a bulked up wide receiver, who’ll star on a potentially dominant offense.
15. Ethan Wolf, Sr. Tennessee
A solid, steady target with the perfect 6-6, 245-pound size and three years of experience, he has 67 career catches for 752 yards and four scores. The frame and skills are there to be unstoppable in the red zone.
14. Daniel Imatorbhebhe, Soph. USC
The former Florida Gator should turn into one of Sam Darnold’s safest targets. The 6-4, 240-pounder looks the part, runs well, and has the talent of a receiver catching 17 passes for 250 yards and four scores.
13. Marcus Baugh, Sr. Ohio State
There was some thought about possibly turning pro early, but he’s back after coming up with 24 catches for 269 yards and two scores. The 6-5, 250-pounder hasn’t quite blown up for the passing game, but he’s got the prototype size and athleticism to turn into more of a playmaker – the talent is there to go from very good to amazing.
12. Octavious Cooley, Soph. Ole Miss
Get ready for the pro hype to be huge. At 6-3 and 257 pounds, he’s a big, dangerous athlete with fantastic hands and skills. Last year he had to take a backseat to Evan Engram, but now he should be among Shea Patterson’s top targets.
11. Blake Mack, Sr. Arkansas State
The 6-3, 245-pound senior grew into a dangerous deep threat. Expect a huge year after averaging over 19 yards per catch on 34 grabs for 652 yards and three scores – he should hover around 50 catches.
10. Ryan Yurachek, Sr. Marshall
With so many key losses from the receiving corps, the 6-3, 239-pound senior needs to be targeted more. He caught 28 passes for 298 yards and five scores, but he has the ability to double those numbers.
9. Mitchell Wilcox, Soph. USF
Will he do more in the Charlie Strong offense? With Quinton Flowers throwing to him, absolutely. The 6-4, 248-pound All-American Athletic pick only caught 12 passes for 278 yards and two scores, but he can block.
8. Dalton Schultz, Sr. Stanford
Yet another great Cardinal tight end, the 6-6, 240-pound All-Pac-12 talent caught 23 passes for 222 yards with a score, but he’s a tough blocker and wasn’t used enough – the passing game wasn’t good enough. That should change.
7. Cam Serigne, Sr. Wake Forest
Wake Forest hasn’t exactly been Texas Tech when it comes to winging the ball around, but Serigne has still been able to thrive with 130 catches in three years for 1,519 yards and 12 scores. The 6-3, 250-pounder had his fewest catches last season – 30 – but they went for a career-high 14.2 yards per grab.
6. Hayden Hurst, Jr. South Carolina
Now that the Gamecocks have a solid quarterback in Jake Bentley to build around, they need to get the ball to their veteran tight end even more after a fantastic year. The 6-5, 253-pound former walk-on caught 48 passes for 616 yards and a score.
5. Mike Gesicki, Sr. Penn State
There’s a good chance the 6-6, 252-pound veteran turns into the first tight end taken in the 2018 NFL Draft. He turned into an ultra-consistent No. 2 receiver with a team-record for a tight end 48 catches for 679 yards and five scores.
4. Adam Breneman, Sr. UMass
The former Penn State Nittany Lion star recruit has blossomed into a terrific pro prospect in Amherst. The 6-4, 250-pounder was a machine last season with 70 catches for 808 yards and eight scores, and the Minutemen won’t stop giving him the ball.
3. Jaylen Samuels, Sr. NC State
While he’s really a jack-of-all-trades fullback/H-back/tight end, and he’s not built like a true tight end at just 5-11 and 223 pounds, he produces no matter where he lines up. He caught a team-leading 55 passes for 565 yards and seven scores, and was third on the team in rushing with 189 yards and six touchdowns.
2. Troy Fumagalli, Sr. Wisconsin
While he might need a little more bulk for the pros, the 6-6, 249-pounder is a pure receiver who’ll be the main man for the Badger passing game. He showed off his skills with a dominant Cotton Bowl over Western Michigan – catching six passes for 83 yards and a score, making big play after big play – and now the spotlight will be on.
1. Mark Andrews, Jr. Oklahoma
Can a tight end really be a No. 1 option in the Oklahoma passing offense? He might be too good to not get the ball as Baker Mayfield’s main option after catching 31 passes for 489 yards and seven scores, averaging close to 16 yards per grab. At 6-5 and 253 pounds with soft hands and great route-running skills, he’s a matchup problem.