South Carolina Football: Evaluating the Gamecocks' Tight Ends

Alex RobertsCorrespondent IAugust 13, 2012

South Carolina Football: Evaluating the Gamecocks' Tight Ends

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    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. 

    This is Part 3 of my multi-part team overview.  To check out the quarterbacks, click here.  For the running backs, click here. 

Justice Cunningham

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    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 264 pounds.

    Year: Senior

    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. 

Rory 'Buster' Anderson

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    Height: 6'5"

    Weight: 218 pounds.

    Year: Sophomore

    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. 

Jerrell Adams

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    Height: 6'6"

    Weight: 224 pounds.

    Year: Freshman

    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.

Drew Owens

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    Height: 6'6"

    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.

Kelvin Rainey

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    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 219 pounds.

    Year: Freshman

    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. 

Overall: B+

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    Stock Pattern: Rising

    2010: C

    2011: D

    2012: B+

    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.