South Carolina's tight ends aren't talked about enough. These guys have a chance to be legitimately good and extremely versatile.
The Gamecocks have pass-catchers, blockers, players who can do both, and players who could easily be split wide. They can and will be used as fullbacks at times as well.
This is an underrated and extremely talented part of the Gamecock offense. Last year, I called this group weak. Oh, how much can change in a year.
Weight: 264 pounds.
Pros: Blocking, strength, hands, route running
Cons: Speed, agility, big-play potential
Justice Cunningham had a nice year for South Carolina in 2011. He isn't a big-time pass-catching threat, but he's a traditional tight end who blocks like a lineman and provides a nice, large target with good hands for short to moderate gains.
He has NFL-type talent, even if he isn't going to be a flashy type of tight end.
He's hard-nosed and worthy of praise.
Weight: 218 pounds.
Pros: Speed, hands, route running, ability to get open, big-play ability
Cons: Blocking, size
Buster Anderson is an exciting player and could be the team's next Jared Cook. As a true freshman, he exploded onto the scene with three touchdown catches.
He's going to have a larger role in this year's offense. He will be a matchup nightmare for defenses.
Weight: 224 pounds.
Pros: Speed, agility, size, strength, hands, route running, jumping ability
Cons: Knowledge of the playbook, blocking
Jerrell Adams is another extremely exciting tight end who could become an immediate pass-catching threat. He's fast, aggressive and plays like a wide receiver with the ball in the air.
He's not the worst blocking tight end, but he still needs to improve on that area of his game.
Weight: 238 pounds
Year: Redshirt Freshman
Pros: Blocking ability, hands, agility
Cons: Injury concerns, route running
After winning the most improved tight end award during the spring, Owens was hurt during the spring game. He has all the potential you could ask for in a tight end. He's more traditional than Adams or Anderson. He's comparable to Justice Cunningham with more pass-catching ability.
If he can get healthy, there will be a role on the team for Owens.
Weight: 219 pounds.
Pros: Hands, speed, power
Cons: Blocking ability, route running, knowledge of the playbook
Kelvin Rainey is an exciting true freshman tight end. He's extremely talented with the ball in his hands. He was a pass-catcher and running back in high school. He'd make an excellent fullback/tight end/wide receiver hybrid player.
He's one to watch for in 2012.
Stock Pattern: Rising
This is a deep and talented group of tight ends. There are three high quality pass-catchers to go along with two traditional blocking tight ends. Given the questionable state of the wide receiver corps, these gentlemen will get their fair share of looks.
They have big-play potential and are a unit to watch in 2012.