Top 15 College Football Tight Ends of 2019

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Joe Broback

Joe is a writer covering the NFL, NBA, NHL and college football. He also currently writes for SB Nation’s Underdog Dynasty, covering the American Athletic Conference since 2016. Joe enjoys collecting shoes, playing sports, and anything fitness related.
Joe Broback
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Tight ends are always an interesting position. If they’re good at blocking, we tend to overlook them. If they’re good at catching passes, we love them. This position provides matchup problems for defenses in the passing game. Many of these players are too big for defensive backs to cover, and too fast for linebackers to catch. Some like Colby Parkinson from Stanford, have a basketball player frame and a vertical to win every jump ball. Finding a way to perfectly match up with tight ends continues to be one of the most difficult tasks for a defense to do.

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15. Mitchell Wilcox, USF

2018 Stats: Caught 43 passes for 540 yards (12.6 ypc) and two touchdowns.

One more year for the Bulls tight end, and a new offensive coordinator should help. Blake Barnett’s return at quarterback provides him with a familiar arm, and Wilcox moves up to the top in terms of Barnett’s go-to targets.

14. Brevin Jordan, Miami

2018 Stats: Caught 32 passes for 287 yards (9.0 ypc) and four touchdowns.

Jordan and the Canes have plenty to prove after receiving a ton of preseason hype. He’s a dangerous threat downfield, but Miami must find a new quarterback. Miami’s receivers have potential just like Jordan, but someone needs to step up.

13. Jacob Breeland, Oregon

2018 Stats: Caught 24 passes for 377 yards (15.7 ypc) and two touchdowns.

Justin Herbert has a great playmaker in Breeland as long as he’s healthy. At 6’5″ and 248 pounds, he’s tough to miss on the field. Defenses seem to have trouble covering him, though.

12. Joey Magnifico, Memphis

2018 Stats: Caught 21 passes for 363 yards (17.3 ypc) and five touchdowns.

Besides having a great name, Magnifico can make life awful for opposing defenders. Memphis’ receivers are deep, and Magnifico adds to that depth. His quarterback, Brady White, finally settled in with the offense, and the Tigers are poised to make even more noise this year.

11. Jared Rice, Fresno State

2018 Stats: Caught 55 passes for 664 yards (12.1 ypc) and three touchdowns.

Going with the theme thus far, Rice must work with a new quarterback. KeeSean Johnson also must be replaced, leaving Rice as the top returning target.

10. Pat Freiermuth, Penn State

2018 Stats: Caught 26 passes for 368 yards (14.2 ypc) and eight touchdowns.

No Trace McSorley, Tommy Stevens, or Juwan Johnson returning. Penn State finds themselves in need of a quarterback, and depth at receiver. Luckily, they have Freiermuth to ease that transition. Having KJ Hamler at receiver helps too, but the tight end gives the Nittany Lions a veteran.

9. Harrison Bryant, FAU

2018 Stats: Caught 45 passes for 662 yards (14.7 ypc) and four touchdowns.

While everyone focused on the greatness that was Devin Singletary, Bryant quietly produced a good season. He’s unique in that he wears number 40, but teams in Conference USA know that’s the number to look for when facing the Owls.

8. Matt Bushman, BYU

2018 Stats: Caught 29 passes for 511 yards (17.6 ypc) and two touchdowns.

More touchdowns would be nice, but Bushman’s done well with inconsistent quarterback play. He will work with yet another new(ish) quarterback again in 2019. It will be tough to miss his frame, and Zach Wilson just has to get it close.

7. Brycen Hopkins, Purdue

2018 Stats: Caught 34 passes for 583 yards (17.1 ypc) and two touchdowns.

Hopkins has big play potential, but needs to be more consistent. His production fell off at the end of the season, but that’s not a concerning trend going forward. With teams focusing on Rondale Moore, Hopkins should find plenty of space.

6. Jake Ferguson, Wisconsin

2018 Stats: Caught 36 passes for 456 yards (12.7 ypc) and four touchdowns.

Wisconsin’s produced some good college football tight ends, and Ferguson is their latest. With Alex Hornibrook transferring, the quarterback play becomes even more of a question. Ferguson and the Badgers receivers give the new starter plenty to work with, but they just need to know who that will be.

5. Hunter Bryant, Washington

2018 Stats: Caught 11 passes for 238 yards (21.6 ypc) and one touchdown.

There’s been plenty of hype surrounding Bryant the last two years, and the play above shows why. He’s an athletic tight end with elite ball catching skills. The problem continues to be his health. Bryant’s only played in 14 games in his career, so staying on the field remains his biggest concern.

4. Grant Calcaterra, Oklahoma

2018 Stats: Caught 26 passes for 396 yards (15.2 ypc) and six touchdowns.

Replacing Mark Andrews wasn’t going to be easy mostly because of how efficient he was with the Sooners. Calcaterra brings more athleticism to the offense, but battles with talented receivers for catches. He’ll also work with his third new quarterback in as many years in Jalen Hurts. Still, he gives the Sooners a big time threat in the passing game.

3. Colby Parkinson, Stanford

2018 Stats: Caught 29 passes for 485 yards (16.7 ypc) and seven touchdowns.

At 6’7″, it’s tough for any defender of any size to compete with Parkinson for a jump ball. Even if you can get a hand on the pass, he knows how to use his length and height to tip it to himself. This isn’t anything new for Stanford, as they’ve produced some incredible tight ends. Parkinson’s potential could make him the best one yet.

2. Jared Pinkney, Vanderbilt

2018 Stats: Caught 50 passes for 774 yards (15.5 ypc) and seven touchdowns.

Vanderbilt’s offense returns a Top 10 running back, a Top 25 wide receiver, and now a Top 2 tight end. Whoever wins the quarterback job doesn’t have to do much to keep this offense humming. Pinkney can make explosive plays, and he’s one of the toughest tight ends to tackle.

1. Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri

2018 Stats: Caught 43 passes for 466 yards (10.8 ypc) and six touchdowns.

Teams weren’t surprised by him last year, leading to a dip in his production. He’ll play an important role in helping Kelly Bryant get comfortable with his new teammates. Some are expecting a big year from the Tigers, and Okwuegunam will contribute to that in a big way if true.

Others to Watch

Josiah Deguara, Cincinnati: A big reason for the emergence of Desmond Ridder for the Bearcats, Deguara returns as Ridder’s top target.

Cheyenne O’Grady, Arkansas: Razorbacks tight end could be in store for a big year with potentially better quarterback play.

Sal Cannella, Auburn: Displayed his athleticism in the first game against Washington, but didn’t do much after that.

Dalton Keene, Virginia Tech: Hopefully the quarterback situation being settled means that Keene’s production increases this year.

Jack Stoll, Nebraska: Underrated with teams focusing on Adrian Martinez and JD Spielman, but Stoll is a solid all around tight end.

Kiel Pollard, South Carolina: An intense competitor who brings a great intensity to the offense.

Lucas Krull, Florida: Krull didn’t produce much last year, but his frame (6’6″, 255) makes him an intriguing player.

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