Auburn Recruiting: Tight Ends Most Underrated Part of the Recruiting Class

Jimmy McMurreyAnalyst IIFebruary 10, 2012

Ricky Parks.
Ricky Parks.

Auburn's recruiting class as a whole is terribly underrated, but the two tight ends may be the most so. Make no mistake, Ricky Parks and Darrion Hutcherson are big-time commitments.  

The 2012 recruiting class, that so far only holds 20 commitments, five under the maximum, has 12 4-star athletes. They have a lot of really good players though they have no highly-touted 5-star athletes.

Or do they?

Ricky Parks is an athlete deserving of a 5-star status, but he's only a 4-star for one disappointing reason. Both Rivals and Scout predict him to play tight end. 

It's a horribly underrated position in college football. Maybe the college world should take some notes from the NFL where the receiving tight end is becoming a deadly weapon, such as New Orleans' Jimmy Graham, New England's Rob Gronkowski and Detroit's Brandon Pettigrew.

Jimmy Graham was the leading receiver for the Saints and the main reason Drew Brees broke Dan Marino's almost 27-year-old passing record.

Ricky Parks is a great athlete that played tight end, linebacker and quarterback in high school.

Tight end is where he's expected to play, but with his size he could be an interesting prospect at wide receiver, provided he can overcome a mild speed deficiency and improve on his 4.67 40-yard dash.  

Phillip Lutzenkirchen exemplifies the importance of the tight end position for Auburn.
Phillip Lutzenkirchen exemplifies the importance of the tight end position for Auburn.Butch Dill/Getty Images

Parks stands at 6'4" and 230 lbs, a size very similar to South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery. He could embrace the tight end position and bulk up 20 to 30 lbs. or try to keep lean muscle mass and play receiver.  

If he does, indeed, play tight end, it would behoove the Tigers to quickly start incorporating him into their passing game.  

Auburn's other tight end commitment, Darrion Hutcherson, is a great talent as well, though his 3-star status is a little more fitting.  

He's a massive target height-wise at 6'7", but he needs to add a lot of bulk to his 245-lb. frame as he runs a sluggish 4.90 40-yard dash so he'll be a more effective blocker. 

He also played defensive end in high school, and it wouldn't be a reach to say he could play there in the SEC as well. He's bigger than Auburn's sack specialist Corey Lemonier and they are almost equal when it comes to speed.

When used properly, the tight end position can be incredibly versatile and dangerous, especially when least expected. Phillip Lutzenkirchen displayed this by being the hero of the 2010 Iron Bowl.  

Auburn's future looks bright, even in the brutal SEC West, and these two tight ends have the potential to be shining stars.