Auburn TE Philip Lutzenkirchen
Every Tuesday, The SEC Blog will rank the top player at each position for each team in the SEC. Today, we rank the best tight end at every school in the conference.
14. Eric Waters, Missouri
Waters was expected to step in and replace departed tight end Michael Egnew in the Tigers' offense, but the junior tore his MCL in spring camp. He is expected to return before the season, but with two career catches, he's still relatively unknown. If he's healthy, he will thrive in Missouri's offense.
13. Chase Clement, LSU
According to Jim Kleinpeter of the New Orleans Times Picayune, Les Miles is going to use the tight end more this season. Probably a good idea, considering the uber-talented DeAngelo Peterson only caught 18 passes last season. The problem is there aren't many experienced tight ends on the roster heading into 2012. Clement has more career catches than the rest of the tight ends on the current roster combined—nine.
12. Steven Scheu, Vanderbilt
Scheu is a redshirt freshman that is battling sixth-year senior Austin Monahan for the honor of replacing Brandon Barden for the starting tight end spot. According to reports, Scheu has been impressive this spring, but the winner of the job is yet to be determined.
11. Tyler Robinson, Kentucky
Robinson entered spring at the top of a crowded depth chart for the Wildcats. The 6'3", 250-pounder caught eight passes for 44 yards and one touchdown a year ago, but he will have competition from juniors Anthony Kendrick and Jordan Aumiller.
10. Michael Lamothe, Texas A&M
Lamothe is former linebacker that has 20 catches for 151 yards and five touchdowns in his career. He's more known as a blocker, but is versatile enough to be a receiving threat. He will be pushed by Hutson Prioleau, who came on late last season as a reliable receiving target; as well as by Nehemiah Hicks.
9. Jamal Mosley, Ole Miss
Mosley caught 12 passes for 166 yards and one touchdown last season, but he is expected to see a much bigger role this season under new head coach Hugh Freeze. According to Bennett Hipp of theDMonline.com, Mosely has lined up in six or seven places this spring. Ferbia Allen and E.J. Epperson will also line up as tight ends this season for the Rebels.
8. Jay Rome, Georgia
Georgia has found a niche as "Tight End U," and redshirt freshman Jay Rome is the next in line for the Bulldog throne. He was a key piece of the 2011 recruiting "Dream Team" and has been impressive this spring, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
7. Malcolm Johnson, Mississippi State
Johnson finishes last season fourth on the team with 11 catches for 206 yards and three touchdowns. He's only a sophomore, so he's got plenty of time to improve upon a freshman season that was very impressive.
6. Justice Cunningham, South Carolina
Cunningham is a versatile tight end that can block and catch. He caught 18 passes for 142 yards and one touchdown last season, and is a big part of the Gamecock running game. Rory Anderson, Drew Owens, Corey Simmons and Kelvin Rainey are also battling for the spot this spring, according to Willie T. Smith III of The Greenville News.
5. Mychal Rivera, Tennessee
Rivera finished 2011 as the Vols' second-leading receiver, with 29 catches for 344 yards and one touchdown. He is looking to finish off his career with a solid senior season. With all of the receiving weapons that Tennessee has, Rivera should be put in positions to make an impact early and often.
4. Jordan Reed, Florida
Reed has lined up as a quarterback and a tight end during his first two seasons in Gainesville. He caught 28 passes for 307 yards and two touchdowns a year ago. A healthy offense will help Reed, but the presence of do-everything player Trey Burton might limit his production.
3. Michael Williams, Alabama
Williams and Brad Smelley shared the tight end spotlight in Tuscaloosa last season. With Smelley gone, that spotlight will shine on the 6'6", 269-pound Williams. Tight ends became a big part of the Alabama offense against Auburn and in the title game against LSU, so expect big things from Williams in 2012.
2. Chris Gragg, Arkansas
Chris Gragg is the one Arkansas weapon that you don't know. With little fanfare, the 6'3", 236-pounder caught 41 passes for 518 yards and two touchdowns last season. Arkansas loses Joe Adams, Jarius Wright and Greg Childs, so expect Gragg to be more of the offense in 2012.
1. Philip Lutzenkirchen, Auburn
Lutzenkirchen may not have the yards that Gragg does, but he's a touchdown machine. He has 14 career touchdown catches, including seven last season. He was relegated to more of an H-Back role last season after fullback Eric Smith was dismissed prior to the season, but with transfer fullback Jay Prosch likely eligible for 2012, he will be an offensive force in 2012.