The deep end
TE may be the strongest position in the Class of 2008
Posted: Friday May 18, 2007 6:24PM; Updated: Friday May 18, 2007 6:24PM
Anyone who follows college football recruiting knows that it's a cyclical business.
For example, big-time programs loaded up on top quarterbacks last season during what I considered to be the best year for depth at QB in at least a decade.
This year? The pickings at quarterback are slim at best.
So which position is the strongest and deepest for the Class of 2008? It could be tight end.
The requirements for a tight end have obviously changed over the years. With the emergence of athletes like Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, Kellen Winslow Jr. and Vernon Davis, the new breed of tight end needs to be able to run, jump and stretch the field. With guys like Jason Witten, Jeremy Shockey and Chris Cooley, what you lack in athleticism you need to make up for in toughness.
This year, there's a nice mix of tight ends from which colleges can choose. Arguably, the most coveted is Jonathan Baldwin. The Aliquippa, Pa., standout prefers to be called a wide receiver, but at 6-foot-6, 225 pounds, he projects at tight end. He has offers from everyone from USC to Pitt and hasn't come close to narrowing his choices.
In the same stratosphere as Baldwin is Orange (Calif.) Orange Lutheran standout Blake Ayles. At 6-4, 235 pounds, Ayles projects as a well-rounded tight end who could do some of the dirty work and also become a stats stuffer. Ayles is a top target of USC, and the Trojans won't let him get away without a fight.
Cincinnati (Ohio) Elder tight end Kyle Rudolph, who is committed to Notre Dame, is athletic and long at 6-foot-7, 225 pounds. In-state neighbor Brandon Moore from Trotwood (Ohio) Madison is a future giant. He is already 6-6 and weights 243 pounds. Moore is expected to continue the tremendous tight end tradition at Georgia.
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