In "The Breakdown," veteran talent scout Randy Rodgers is analyzing film of a select group of the nation's top prospects for Rivals.com. Rodgers has more than 35 years of experience in the college recruiting arena. He was the recruiting coordinator at the University of Illinois (1988-91) and the University of Texas (1992-97) and is one of the leading authorities on high school football talent analysis in the country. In this edition, Rodgers takes a look at tight ends.
Kind of a long strider, but has good speed. Actually looked bigger on tape than listed size. Showed excellent concentration on balls when in traffic. Has really good hands and can make the tough catch. I really liked his pad level when he ran. Excellent player who should be able to contribute early in college. Verbally committed to USC.
Very impressive on tape. Long limbed, can really create space when he blocks. Has the frame to really fill out. Runs really well. His highlights have a heavy dose of "hitch screens", where you can really see him run after the catch. Has the potential for big "YAC yardage" (yards after catch). Big, soft hands. Is the type of player where you want him to get the ball early and often, because he can create big plays. Verbally committed to the University of Michigan.
I thought he was the most explosive player in the top group of TE's. Very athletic. Shows his quickness and athletic ability on defense as well. Can jump and bat balls. Shows really good concentration. Is an excellent pad level player on both sides of the ball. Runs really well. Because of his playmaking ability, I would consider him as a defensive end first, because I think he can affect the game more on that side of the ball.
This kid is really athletic. By far, the fastest looking TE in the group. Has excellent hands. Was the best at running after the catch. Shows good vision when he runs. For a TE, he really sees the cutback in the open field. Appears to have really good lower body strength, because he was tough to tackle in the open field. Best combination of speed to get deep and athletic ability to turn short catch into big yardage. Little or no footage to assess blocking ability. Verbally committed to Ohio State.
Can dominate in what appears to be small school competition. Big and powerful, really effective between the hashes. Showed nice timing on screen passes, nice releases on downfield patterns. Has good feet and long arms and is a very effective blocker. Plays really hard. Probably the best "true" tight end in the group. Will fit very well into a run-oriented program, where TE's are used mostly in play action routes. Verbally committed to LSU.
I thought he was the best blocker of the group. Really seemed to work at it and had a bigger percentage of his highlights devoted to run blocks. Quick off the snap, used hands, and showed good pad level on his blocks. Long legged with good speed. Runs pretty good routes, seems to understand how to find holes in coverage. Looks like he has pretty wide shoulders and should grow more in college. Another guy who should be able to play early. Verbally committed to University of Georgia.
Gotta like this size. He really looks tall on tape. Like all young, tall kids, he needs to learn how to bend his knees more consistently. Needs strength. Is more of a "position" blocker at this stage of his career. Needs to be more consistent catching with hands and not let balls into body. Has all the tools and should be able to get stronger and faster as he matures. May have as much "down the road" potential as any. Verbally committed to Notre Dame.
Smallest of the group, but maybe the most tenacious. Plays really hard, very active in the run game. Uses his hands well as a blocker. Would like to see more lower body strength. Catches with hands. Also has potential to become an "H" back as a college player.