College Football Recruiting 2013: The Top 7 Tight End Prospects
You wouldn't believe what having a great tight end can do for an offense. Just ask teams like the New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons. Having a great tight end opens up a lot of things that can lead to offensive success in both the passing game and in the running game as well.
For this 2013 recruiting class, there are several seam players that I really believe have a good chance to make some noise. I'm going to use this platform and give you the top seven TE prospects in the country this year.
These are seven players who will certainly present unique matchup problems for opposing college offenses.
7. (WR) Derrick Griffin
I list Griffin at No. 7 only because he's a wide receiver recruit right now. At 6'6", 228 pounds, the Texas native figures to be moved to tight end at Texas A&M.
Griffin has excellent size, length, build-up speed and a large strike zone. He's a basketball player in the offseason, and that athleticism shows up on tape.
He won't wow you with great speed and explosiveness, but Griffin has too much length, athleticism and great ball skills to not be a huge weapon in College Station.
6. (WR) Ricky Seals-Jones
Seals-Jones, like Griffin, is listed mainly as a wide receiver prospect on various lists but could become a tight end in college. It's widely known that he's down to LSU and Texas A&M on the recruiting front.
At 6'5" and 230 pounds, Seals-Jones combines excellent athletic ability, solid hands, good speed, leaping ability and strength to make himself the best pass-catching prospect in the country.
He could very well stay at wide receiver, but I also have him listed on my tight end board, too, for good measure. Getting Seals-Jones matched up on linebackers and safeties could present some problems for SEC defenses.
5. Marcus Baugh
Baugh hails from Southern California and stands at 6'4", 230 pounds. He shows solid release quickness and some ability to be used both in-line and flexed out.
He flashes a large radius and at times can snatch the football anywhere around his frame. I also notice Baugh has a good knack for finding voids in zone coverage and sitting in holes.
He isn't the strongest guy in the world and needs to improve his strength to hold up as an in-line blocker. Baugh is committed to Ohio State.
4. Hunter Henry
From and committed to Arkansas, Henry goes 6'6", 240 pounds on the hoof. This guy has a chance to develop into a true complete tight end in college.
With his large frame, Henry can get out of his stance quickly for a tight end and bully into his routes. He flashes subtle quickness to detach from underneath coverage and his hands are very soft.
Henry catches the football cleanly and can be tough to bring down in the post-catch phase of the play. His strength is pretty good and I truly think that as he grows more and develops college strength, he will become a great blocker.
3. Josh McNeil
McNeil went back and forth with making his decision, but he finally settled on Alabama. The North Carolina native is a 6'5" tight end prospect that weighs close to 230 pounds.
McNeil is basically a wide receiver trapped in a tight end's body, as he can tear it up in the passing game. He can release clean as an in-line guy, use speed to blast upfield, has quickness and athleticism to separate and displays great ball skills.
McNeil possesses a big strike zone and could stretch the field from the tight end position in Tuscaloosa.
2. O.J. Howard
Howard is the clear-cut best pure athlete on this list, and it's not that close. The 6'5", 225-pound Alabama native and commit is flat out blessed athletically.
With a great-looking frame, terrific play speed, agility, quickness, length and leaping ability, Howard can perform an array of things. I see him as a joker-move type of tight end where he can play in-line, flex, split wide, H-Back and even align as a fullback to exploit matchups.
He's a dynamic weapon in the passing game and has the willingness to help out as a blocker in the running game.
1. Adam Breneman
Even though he has a torn ACL, Breneman remains the top pure tight end prospect on my board. He's 6'5", weighs 230 pounds and can ball in the seams when healthy.
Breneman has solid speed, has some quickness in his route running and his strike zone should have its own zip code. He catches well in crowds and can break some tackles as a runner.
Breneman is a willing blocker in the running game and can generate solid push at the line of scrimmage. He's like a cross between Kent Taylor and Nick O'Leary.
Edwin Weathersby has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects and writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (now ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.