College coaches around the country have forgotten about the Tight Ends and the Fullbacks. This is a big mistake and the NFL continues to prove what kind of weapons they are, especially Tight Ends.
There are still a few college coaches that use the Tight Ends and here are some that I think are the best.
1. Bucky Hodges – Virginia Tech: Hodges is one of the more athletic big Tight Ends you are going to see. He is listed at 6-7, 240 and he can run and jump like a Wide Receiver. I am not sold on his blocking skills, and he came to Virginia Tech as a Quarterback. But, he is like a gazelle and can make the circus catches time and time again. The Hokies actually use Hodges quite a bit as a receiver, not as much as a blocker. In closed sets, they bring in senior Tight End Ryan Malleck who is more of a blocker. If Hodges can prove he can block, he will be an All Pro in the NFL in a few years. Who really knows who the next head coach at Virginia Tech will be and how he will use Bucky Hodges, but he has as much potential as anyone.
2. Hunter Henry – Arkansas: Most experts have Hunter Henry as their top Tight End and I have zero problem with that. He is a very good blocker as well as a receiver. His heady play against Auburn in Overtime kept them in the game before they went on to win it. He blocks well, runs well and catches the ball well. What else are you looking for in a Tight End? I don’t believe he has dropped a pass all season and currently he the top well rounded Tight End in the country.
3. Jordan Leggett – Clemson: Another big and gifted Tight End is Jordan Leggett of Clemson. Leggett played last season, but burst onto the scene spectacularly this season with the rise of the
Clemson Tigers in the rankings. He is an excellent blocker and he does catch the ball really well. He has been a consistent and steady performer all year for the Tigers and Quarterback Deshaun Watson. Leggett has 27 catches so far this season and 6 of those have been Touchdowns. The Tigers use Leggett as a standard Tight End, but they also flex him out wide and he runs really well.
4. Jake Butt – Michigan: Tall at 6-6, Butt can make the difficult catches look easy. He is not tremendously fast, but he runs well enough and has the good hands you are looking for in a Tight End that you want to go to in a tight situation. Butt had some injury problems in the past, but has been healthy all season and has been one of new Quarterback Jake Rudock’s go to guys. He has 43 catches on the season, so far, and his stock is on the rise.
Michigan Tight Ends are going to be great blockers especially now with Jim Harbaugh calling the shots. Butt excels at every phase of the game.
5. Bryce Williams – East Carolina: Williams is 6-6, 260 and runs almost like a Wide Receiver. He is a mismatch in most any situation. The Carolina offense feds Bryce Williams the ball often and he generally makes the catch. Like Hodges, he is more of a receiver than a blocker right now. But, he is so big and he runs so well, that he has to be one of the top Tight Ends around.
Williams has 53 receptions on the season already and he is really impressive.
Other Top Guys:
Jake McGee – Florida: McGee just looks like an NFL Tight End. Transferred from Virginia and then was injured a year ago. Big guy with good speed and athletic ability.
Austin Hooper – Stanford: Typical Stanford Tight End that has great hands and will play in the Pros. Stanford Tight Ends have to be able to block.
OJ Howard – Alabama: Howard has never been used much at Bama, but he is tall and fast and looks to have great hands. He can take it the distance if given the chance. He could easily be in the top 5.
Sean Culkin – Missouri: No relation to Macauley Culkin, and he’s big, fast and a good receiver from the Tight End position.
Josiah Price – Michigan State: Good blocker and pass catcher and particularly dangerous in the red zone.
Evan Engram – Ole Miss: Engram is more of Wide Receiver or even a Fullback than a true Tight End. He’s smaller than most Tight Ends at 6-3, 225. But, he’s fast and an awesome receiver.
Nick Vannett – Ohio State: Excellent blocker and perfectly sized for the next level. He’s not used in the passing game all that much and he’s not super quick. But, still a quality Tight End.
Tyler Higbee – Western Kentucky: Another big Tight End that is a receiving threat.
Ethan Wolf – Tennessee: Wolf is so good that another Tight End transferred out for playing time. Another good SEC player from the North.
Nate Wozniak – Minnesota: The Gophers don’t throw him the ball much, but that’s a shame because he is 6’10” and moves pretty well. I blogged about Wozniak before: wozniak
Jeb Blazevich – Georgia: Georgia has problems, but Blazevich is a talent.