South Carolina Football: Justice Cunningham Is Mr. Underrated at Tight End

Alex RobertsCorrespondent IMay 17, 2012

COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 08:  Justice Cunningham #87 of the South Carolina Gamecocks celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Kentucky Wildcats during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on October 8, 2011 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

There is a reliable, hard-working offensive player who has great size and soft hands.  He can catch the football, block like a demon and outwork defenders.  He's made clutch catches and fancy catches, and he is available in a pinch.

His name is Justice Cunningham. 

While he isn't statistically dangerous, anyone who has watched the Gamecocks play knows that he is an underrated and valuable member of the Gamecock offense.

He's the definition of a traditional tight end.  His blocking is on par with a tackle.  He has excellent technique and the ability to knock anyone back.  He's intelligent and capable of picking up blitzes and stunts.

He's also under-valued with his pass-catching.  The offense doesn't use him often, so he doesn't put up mind-blowing stats, but his soft hands and big body make him a reliable third-down weapon. 

For a player like Cunningham, statistics do not show off his true value.  Ironically, he may even see less statistical production with the explosive "Buster" Anderson carving out the role of field-stretching tight end in 2011.  But that doesn't make him a poor player.  In fact, I would go as far as to say that Justice Cunningham has NFL-caliber talent. 

Cunningham would be a capable member of a running team.  If he was targeted more, he could put up big numbers, as he skills as a receiver aren't lacking.

Overall, I hope Justice Cunningham is remembered for the important player he's been, not for the raw statistical data that people will look at in 20 years. 

He's been a great Gamecock and, hopefully, a memorable one.