Summer Scouting: Top 5 Tight Ends

The college football season is just around the corner. With that in mind Rory Daniels’ brings you his top 5 draft eligible prospects at each position ahead of kickoff. We also include an FCS prospect to watch courtesy of resident small school expert Rebecca Rennie.

1. Jalen Wydermyer

Texas A&M have a bevvy of offensive talent going into 2021. Along with chess piece Ainias Smith and running back Isaiah Spiller, they have arguably the top tight end in the country. Wydermyer is a do-it-all player, his 6’5, 265lbs frame means he can play inline or split out as a receiving option. He excels on seam routes and crossers, with an innate ability to find dead spots in zone coverage. Once Jimbo Fisher decides between Zach Calzada and Haynes King at QB, Wydermyer will likely be a key target for either.

Best Trait: Identifying coverage soft spots

2. Jahleel Billingsley

If Jahleel Billingsley was playing outside of the SEC we may be talking about him as a big wide receiver. However at Alabama, his athleticism and speed in a 6’4, 230lb package makes him an intriguing draft prospect at the tight end position. The dynamism he offers is ideal for the modern NFL where tight ends are becoming game breakers as opposed to blockers who can catch. Billingsley is a matchup nightmare even for the better defensive backs in the conference. With several high profile receivers departing Bama, expect his production to rise accordingly.

Best Trait: Athleticism

3. Isaiah Likely

Coastal Carolina was one of the fun storylines that a pandemic-struck college football season brought us in 2020. Quarterback Grayson McCall threw his name into the spotlight but a big part of his success was in the form of tight end Isaiah Likely. His 6’4 frame is plenty big enough but is aided by his consistency in high-pointing the ball. While he lacks breakaway speed his ball-tracking is elite. That trait allows him to catch the ball without decelerating, meaning he can still outrun coverage.

Best Trait: Ball tracking

4. Jeremy Ruckert

Don’t expect Ohio State’s Jeremy Ruckert to break any receiving records in 2021. The competition for targets will be intense for the Buckeyes. Both he and Luke Farrell played a large, yet relatively unheralded part in the successful campaign last year. What you do get from Ruckert is a physical blocker. That immediately gives him a leg up in the NFL where rookies often find blocking the biggest hurdle to getting starting reps. In the receiving game he is a sound route runner who finds late separation to give himself space to make a grab.

Best Trait: Late route adjustment

5. Austin Stogner

The NFL is used to ‘alpha-dog’ Tight Ends grabbing the headlines. If you are looking for a draft prospect with the energy that the likes of Travis Kelce and George Kittle bring to the table then turn on the Oklahoma tape. Austin Stogner attacks blocks with violence from the H-Back role, provides a huge catch radius given his 6’7 height and paves the way for the Sooners’ star running backs. A fearless target in the middle of the park, make him an easy checkdown target who could breakout as Spencer Rattler develops.

Best Trait: Physicality

FCS Prospect to Watch: Noah Gindorff

Photo credit:
Rebecca Rennie: The Bison continue to feature NFL draft prospects to watch, such as Christian Watson in yesterday’s wide receiver preview. After Zaire Mitchell transferred from Notre Dame College (Ohio) to Florida Atlantic and Jacksonville State’s Trae Barry headed to Boston College, the FCS tight end group lacks a clear top prospect. Gindorff is not the most eye-catching of prospects but has traits to stick in the pros. A late-round selection is not beyond him.
Gindorff features a broad build that aids him tremendously as a blocker. He excels from inline and at H-back as a lead blocker. The NDSU prospect has core strength to go with his ideal frame and squares up well at the point of attack. As a receiver he only has 21 receptions entering 2021. Nine of those catches have been for touchdowns, however. He feels under-utilized as a pass catcher, given some positive movement traits. Gindorff shows good quickness and change of direction, despite his size. He could have untapped potential as a receiving target with more opportunity.
Best Trait: Blocking prowess
Mock Draft

Rory-Joe Daniels

Cfb contributor

formerly writing for the inside zone, rory will be breaking down college tape and keeping you up-to-date with all things CFB for the touchdown. an avid bengals fan, you can also find some of rory’s work at