2014 TE Recruits Who Will Be Used More Like a Wide Receiver

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst INovember 19, 2013

2014 TE Recruits Who Will Be Used More Like a Wide Receiver

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    Offensive football is changing, and one of the main positions being impacted is tight end. Teams used to love having a player who can block in the trenches, plus catch passes.

    However, offenses now want tight ends who are basically big receivers. The 2014 class has several players who fit this profile.

    A recruit in California has great speed in the seams, while a pair of prospects in Arizona will fit nicely in spread offenses. Plus, an undersized 'tweener is also on this list.

    Player evaluations are based on review of tape at Scout.comRivals247Sports and ESPNU.

Matt Bushman

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    At 6'5" and 200 pounds, Matt Bushman is a long athlete with deceptive speed. He's a tight end who should not have issues with linebackers and safeties jamming him at the line due to his quickness.

    Bushman, who is an Arizona native, has a good surge to get up the hashes. However, he is at his best when he is flexed outside to work on the perimeter. Bushman is an athletic receiver who does a solid job of adjusting to various throws.

    The 3-star BYU commitment will do more receiving than blocking in Provo. 

Sammie Epps

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    Sammie Epps is a 3-star prospect who is probably never going to be a great blocker.

    Yet, his contribution to an offense will be as a receiver who makes plays in the seams.

    At 6'3" and 210 pounds, Epps may even stay at wide receiver at Ole Miss. He shows good speed to beat safeties downfield, plus he has soft hands. Epps' lack of great height for the tight end position makes him a 'tweener, which is why he will be used more like a receiver in Oxford. 

Mike Gesicki

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    A 4-star prospect, Mike Gesicki has the size and skills to really make some noise in Penn State's offense. Head coach Bill O'Brien knows how to get tight ends the football due to his days with the New England Patriots.

    Gesicki, who is from New Jersey, is essentially a big receiver at 6'5" and 236 pounds. He is not the fastest player in the country, but he does a good job of building into his routes. Gesicki has good hands, plus he can be used on fades in the red zone.

Jacory Washington

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    Jacory Washington is a 4-star prospect who has average speed as a receiver, but good speed as a tight end.

    He does a good job of tracking balls with his eyes, evidenced by him using his mitts to snatch passes all around his frame.

    Washington, who is 6'5" and 220 pounds, towers over safeties and linebackers. He can adequately skate away from defenders at junctions, plus he can catch in crowds. Washington is tough enough to hold his own as a blocker, but his value at LSU will come from what he does in the passing game.

Mark Andrews

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    Mark Andrews plays receiver right now, but he's on pace to grow into a tight end at the next level.

    The Arizona native is already 6'6" and 230 pounds, plus he lacks impressive speed.

    However, Andrews displays terrific hands and ball skills. He catches everything thrown his way with his big mitts, plus he has a knack for adjusting his body to balls at the end of his routes. A long-strider in space, look for Oklahoma to flex Andrews out to the perimeter often during his tenure in Norman. 

Ian Bunting

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    At 6'6" and 210 pounds, Ian Bunting is a receiver who is going to be stuck in a tight end's body soon. He will physically blossom at Michigan, where he will add a considerable amount of bulk.

    Yet, Bunting's hands and solid speed will make him a great target in the passing game. He works better when aligned in the slot or perimeter, plus he displays impressive quickness in his releases. Bunting does a good job of separating from defenders before using his soft hands to haul in passes.

    His position in Ann Arbor will say tight end, but the 4-star prospect will be considered a receiver by observers.

Bryce Dixon

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    With his great speed and hands, Bryce Dixon doesn't really belong as an in-line tight end. He's simply too valuable as a receiver to spend much of his time banging defensive ends and linebackers in the trenches.

    At 6'4" and 220 pounds, the California native shoots upfield quickly out of his stance. He is an adequate route-runner, as he has the ability to detach from coverage at junctions with ease. Dixon, who is a 4-star prospect, shows natural receiving ability when the ball is in the air.

    He also has the skills to make big plays after the catch.

    USC, Oregon and UCLA are among his top schools, according to 247Sports.

2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map

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    Use the 2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map to locate many elite tight end prospects from across the nation!

    Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.