This is my preseason rankings of the Tight End for the 2017 season. A lot of changes will probably transpire as the season progresses.
1. Troy Fumagalli – Wisconsin: You had to love Fumagalli’s performance in this year’s Cotton Bowl game. He was dominating. Obviously, playing at Wisconsin, Fumagalli can block. But, he’s more than proven he’s a really good receiver. Last season, he led the Badgers in receptions with 47 for 580 yards and a couple of scores. The 6-6, 250 Fumagalli might be the best Tight End in the country for 2017, but there are a lot of great competitors that might be as good or better.
2. Mike Gesicki – Penn State: I can’t leave a link to my blog on Youtube so I won’t leave a link on here for their’s. But, anyone doubting Mike Gesicki is an athlete needs to watch the video of him Gesicki TE2
playing basketball which is on Youtube.com. Gesicki is about 6-6, 255 and he still looks skinny. His blocking has been a work in progress and he developed hands of stone in 2015, but regained his form last year. He caught 48 passes for 679 yards and 5 Touchdowns. He is what they call a baller. He high points the ball and can make the highlight reel catch time after time.
3. Hayden Hurst – South Carolina: Hurst walked-on at South Carolina after several years playing baseball in the minor leagues. He played football in high school in Jacksonville, but apparently he was better in baseball at the time. Growing to 6-5, 250 and maintaining his speed and athletic ability, Hurst decided to try football and he has been super successful. Hurst caught 48 passes for 616 yards and a score. He can run for his size and is a true mismatch for a defense. More about Hurst: TE
4. Isaac Nauta – Georgia: The true freshman Nauta moved right into the lineup in spite of Georgia have an outstanding group of Tight Ends on their team, probably the best in the nation. Nauta was ranked the top Tight End in his 2016 recruiting class and proved he belonged immediately. Georgia played 4 Tight Ends this past season and Nauta led them with 29 receptions for 361 yards and 3 Touchdowns. Nauta is about 6-4, 245, but he was just a true freshman last season and probably will grow at least a little. The Bulldogs will run the football so Nauta had better be a good to great blocker if he is going to play ahead of other talented Tight Ends. Georgia TEs
5. Marcus Baugh – Ohio State: Just because the Buckeyes haven’t thrown to the Tight End a lot doesn’t mean Marcus Baugh can’t play. He’s about 6-5, 260 and returned for his senior season with something to prove still. Baugh only caught 24 passes last season, but he clearly demonstrated his athletic ability in their loss against Penn State when he caught a pass inside the Nittany Lion 10 yard line and avoided defenders to score a rare Touchdown. He moves pretty well for a 260 pound man.
6. Christopher Herndon IV – Miami: Herndon is almost a mirror image to last season’s David Njoku. Herndon was the back up, but he still caught 28 passes which he took for 334 yards and 2 Touchdowns. He might not be quite as athletic as Njoku, but he is a very good Tight End in his own right and he may be at the top of this list after the 2017 season is over. Miami coach Mark Richt loves to use his Tight Ends and Herndon should have a great senior season.
7. Mark Andrews – Oklahoma: In the Sooners offense, Andrews plays wide mostly like Bucky Hodges of Virginia Tech. It’s hard to know how good he is as a blocker. But, he is a good receiver and caught 31 passes a year ago for 489 yards and 7 Touchdowns. Andrews is 6-5, 250 and uses his size to his advantage particularly in short yardage situations or on the goal line. He’s a reliable receiver for Heisman candidate Baker Mayfield.
8. Dalton Schultz – Stanford: The Cardinal always comes up with good Tight Ends and Schultz may
be the latest. Schultz is used mostly as a Wide Out, but he’s also a Tight End. At 6-6, 240, he is thin for the Tight End position, but he is a very steady and reliable receiver with long arms and good hands. Stanford throws the football, but last season they had new Quarterbacks to break in and they are predominately an old school run first type of offense with generally good to great Running Backs and a solid Offensive Line. Besides Quarterback, they had Offensive Line issues last season and particularly early in the season. Schultz caught 23 passes for 222 yards and a Touchdown. He will need to pack on a few pounds if he wants to join other Stanford Tight Ends in the NFL, but he has the receiving skills.
9. Ryan Izzo – Florida State: Jersey guy that has the size and strength to become a really good Tight End. At 6-5, 245 Izzo can become that prototypical Tight End that is a clutch receiver on 3rd down and near the goal line. He and Mavin Saunders team up to form a potentially formidable Tight End combination. Going into his junior year, Izzo very much has a shot at the NFL and he will need a big season in 2017 to make his move up this list. Last season, the Highland Lakes, New Jersey guy caught 19 passes for 227 yards and a score. I’ve been expecting big things from Izzo, and this should be the year.
10. Tyrone Wheatley Jr – Michigan: Does the name sound familiar? His father was a great Running Back for Michigan, but Jr is 6-6, 275. He only caught 3 passes last season with 1 going for a Touchdown, but why he didn’t have more was the presence of senior Tight End Jake Butt. This season, either Wheatley, or giant Ian Bunting, or converted Quarterback Zach Gentry will take over as the go to guy. Also, Michigan lost superior Wide Receivers Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson and people will need to step up and why not Wheatley and/or Bunting? The biggest difference between Wheatley and the 6-7, 255 Bunting is the speed of Wheatley. But, Gentry can run as well and he is 6-7, 250. I am going with Wheatley right now and predicting a big season out of him. More likely, Michigan goes with 2 Tight Ends and plays all three of these guys. They all would make Defensive Backs and Linebackers miserable.
11. Ethan Wolf – Tennessee: Since his freshman season, I have liked the athleticism of Ethan Wolf.
He came in and had a really good season as a true freshman. But, he has not progressed, but I blame the Volunteer’s coaching staff instead of Wolf. He is 6-6, 245 and is athletic. He came into the college ranks in the class of 2014 and with another Tight End Daniel Helm. Since then, Helm has transferred to Duke and after sitting out 2015, Helm caught 21 passes in 2016. Wulf also caught 21 passes in 2016, after catching 23 as a true freshman and 23 as a sophomore.
12. Alize Mack – Notre Dame: Mack used to be Alize Jones, but whatever his last name is he has big time skills and talent. Another intriguing prospect out of Las Vegas Bishop Gorman High School, Mack is about 6-5, 245 and he could be a huge surprise this season. He was the top ranked Tight End in the class of 2015 by some recruiting services. As a true freshman, Mack started a few games and had 13 catches. But, as it seems to be typical Notre Dame fashion these days, he missed all of the 2016 season due to injury. Now, he’s back and I am predicting big things out of him. Notre Dame, Miami, Stanford and maybe a few others tend to have great Tight Ends all of the time. I am thinking Mack is the next big thing at Notre Dame.
13. Adam Breneman – Massachusetts: Breneman started his career at Penn State back in 2013, but he transferred to Mass and finally got back on the field in 2016. But, it was worth the wait for the 6-4, 250 Breneman as he caught 70 passes in 2016. He made way too many one handed catches last season not to have a great set of hands. He runs well, catches well and blocks well, and he could be one of the very best Tight Ends in the country.
14. DeAndre Goolsby – Florida: I’ve always been impressed with Goolsby’s athleticism and the 6-4, 245 Goolsby from Derby, Kansas has taken that athletic ability and become a productive Tight End for the Gators. This past season, he hauled in 38 passes for 342 yards and 3 Touchdowns. With
stability at the Quarterback position, Goolsby could be a top player this season.
15. Daniel Imatorbhebhe – USC: This Suwanee, Georgia native can be a really good Tight End for the Trojans. Last season, as a freshman, he caught 17 passes for 250 yards and 4 Touchdowns. With the emergence of Trojan Quarterback Sam Darnold players like Imatorbhebhe should benefit. He is still young, but is 6-4, 240 and with a lot of potential.
16. Chris Clark – Pittsburgh: Going out on a limb here because of the controversy surrounding this guy. It seems Clark committed to North Carolina out of high school, then switched to Michigan when Brady Hoke was coaching. When Hoke was fired, Clark decided to look around. He was the number 1 Tight End recruit in the country coming out of high school, so the traffic was intense when he opened up his recruitment.
17. Tommy Sweeney – Boston College: Big Tight End at 6-5, 260 and a good blocker. He’s not fast, but he runs well enough to be an option for whoever plays Quarterback for the Eagles in 2017. Last season, Sweeney caught 26 passes for 353 yards and 3 Touchdowns. Sweeney is one of those tough Jersey guys hailing from Ramsey, New Jersey.
18. Ian Thomas – Indiana: Who? Thomas could surprise this year after transferring from a Junior College last season and only catching 3 passes. He can block and at 6-5, 250 he still looks pretty slim and could put on some weight. Thomas can also run really well and he could be in line to have a big season in 2017.
Ian Thomas – Indiana:
Daniel Helm – Duke
Mavin Saunders – FSU
Jaylen Samuels – NC State not really a TE more of a solid h back.*
Cam Serigne – Wake Forest
Cole Hunt – TCU
Danny Friend – Indiana
Ian Bunting – Michigan
Devin Asiasi – Michigan
Sean McKeon – Michigan
Matt Sokol – Michigan State
Nate Wozniak – Minnesota 6-10
Colton Beebe – Minnesota
Brandon Lingen – Minnesota
Cole Herdman – Purdue
Brycen Hopkins – Purdue
Hunter Folkerstma – Bowling Green
Tyler Conklin – Central Michigan
Nigel Kilby – Eastern Michigan 6-7
Ryan Smith – Miami Ohio
Metuisela Unga – Hawaii
David Wells – San Diego State
Jacob Breeland – Oregon
Tyler Petite – USC
Caleb Wilson – UCLA
Harrison Hundley – Utah
Drew Sample – Washington
Will Dissly – Washington
Miller Forristall – Alabama
Hale Hentges – Alabama
Austin Cantrell – Arkansas
Cheyenne O’Grady – Arkansas
Grayson Gunter – Arkansas
C’yontai Lewis – Florida
Jeb Blazevich – Georgia
Charlie Woerner – Georgia
Jackson Harris – Georgia
CJ Conrad – Kentucky
Greg Hart – Kentucky
Foster Moreau – LSU
Kendall Blanton – Missouri
Jared Pinkney – Vanderbilt
Blake Mack – Appalachian State
Ari Werts – Georgia State