Sorry, NFL defensive backs and linebackers. Jace Amaro is coming to the league.
Shortly after Texas Tech's win over Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl on Monday night, the freakishly gifted tight end announced he would forego his senior season and enter the 2014 draft in May.
Mike Graham of The Dallas Morning News has the news:
Jace Amaro will turn pro.— Mike Graham (@MGraham17) December 31, 2013
Amaro talked about his decision via Don Williams of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal:
Jace Amaro on declaring for the draft: "It was a hard decision, because I love these guys and they mean the world to me and of course ...— Don Williams (@AJ_DonWilliams) December 31, 2013
Operating primarily as the slot option in the Red Raiders' Air Raid spread offense, Amaro put up some silly production in 2013. In 12 regular season contests, he pulled in 98 passes for 1,240 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.
After tallying over 100 yards in the first half against the Sun Devils, he set the record for receiving yards in a season by a tight end, per Texas Tech Associate Director of Communications Scott Lacefield:
#TexasTech TE Jace Amaro now has 1,334 receiving yards this season - breaks NCAA record by a TE (Rice's James Casey (1,329 in 2008)— Scott Lacefield (@ScottLacefield) December 31, 2013
James Casey's lack of consistent NFL success proves that collegiate production doesn't necessarily translate, but Amaro is a special prospect.
FOX Sports Southwest's David Ubben notes the high praise that Amaro receives from coaches throughout the Big 12, calling him the "real deal":
Have never heard coaches around the Big 12 talk about a player with more reverence than they do Jace Amaro. He's the real deal.— David Ubben (@davidubben) December 31, 2013
Standing at 6'5" and weighing 260 pounds, Amaro shouldn't be as talented of a receiver as he is. Nevertheless, despite his frame, he is a polished route runner and has tremendous hands.
He still needs improvement in the run-blocking game. But a player his size with the versatility to line up all over the field along with the agility and speed to make plays consistently like a wide receiver is rare—and increasingly valued in the NFL.
In fact, according to Bleacher Report's Michael Felder, it's even comical watching players attempt to defend him:
Hahahahahaha. Watching people try and guard Jace Amaro is hilarious. He's the type of dude a DB wants no parts of.— Michael Felder (@InTheBleachers) December 31, 2013
Who is the best tight end in the class of 2014?
CBS Sports, ESPN Scout Inc and Rotoworld's Josh Norris all rank North Carolina's Eric Ebron as the top tight end ahead of Amaro, but at this point, it's nothing more than splitting hairs when it comes down to separating the two.
Both players look like future stars, and we know now both players will be a part of the 2014 draft.