National Signing Day: 2017 Freshmen Tight Ends

With National Signing Day earlier this week, the Devy team here at DFF thought it was important to highlight several of the 2017 freshmen to give you an idea of the players you’ll be watching on Saturdays as well as stashing on your taxi squads. We combed Hudl for film on these players just so that you don’t have to. Today, we’ll wrap up our offensive positional overviews by looking at five of my favorite tight ends.

5. Grant Calcaterra | 6’4″ 225 | Signed with Oklahoma

Calcaterra is a matchup nightmare. He showcased his great hands during 7on7 at The Opening. He runs routes like a wide receiver but he has the build of a tight end. Much like current Sooners’ tight end Mark Andrews, Calcaterra is a flex receiver and he is better coming out of high school than Andrews was. He’s a smooth route runner and fluid in the open field. He might not do much behind Andrews in 2017, but it’s not crazy to think that the Sooners could get a positional upgrade once Andrews is out of eligibility.

4. Cole Kmet | 6’6” 240 | Committed to Notre Dame

If Brock Wright is Notre Dame’s new in-line tight end, then Kmet will be their new H-back or Y-TE. Kmet already has great size but can afford to get stronger. He’s not as good of a blocker as Wright but he finishes his blocks with tenacity. As a receiver, he has a favorable catch radius and tracks the ball well.

3. Hunter Bryant | 6’3” 238 | Committed to Washington

Bryant is what I call a move-tight end (H-back or Y-TE). He’s surprisingly good in the open field. He returned kickoffs in high school. He already has a college body and that’s a huge advantage in the red zone as well as when he’s lined up against a smaller DB. He has reliable hands and shows confidence at the catch point.

2. Brock Wright | 6’5” 240 | Signed with Notre Dame

Wright is a well-rounded tight end. He’s an exceptional blocker. He’s aggressive and blocks through the whistle. As a receiver, he’s slow coming off the line and he’s not going to win many foot races, but he runs well in the open field. He’s sure-handed and will make the most of the targets he receives. He should be one of Notre Dame’s top red zone weapons.

1. Colby Parkinson | 6’7” 225 | Committed to Stanford

Parkinson is another one of these hybrid tight ends. When he’s flexed out, you can’t tell the difference between him and a wide receiver. When he’s in-line, he’s not a liability because he’s advanced as a blocker. He already stands 6’7” and 225 pounds and he hasn’t finished growing yet. As he bulks up, he should become more physical, as well as an even better blocker. As a route runner, he’s right where he should be, he’s capable of finding holes in a zone and showing his numbers to the quarterback. He’s a walking match-up nightmare. He’s not fazed by contact, too big for cornerbacks and too fast for linebackers. Stanford was an easy choice for Parkinson because they have produced four NFL tight ends since 2010.

If you haven’t been with us all week, here’s what you missed:

LJ discussed his top wide receivers
Cody highlighted his top running backs
Jason organized a mock draft that included only true freshmen
I covered my favorite quarterbacks

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Senior Director of College Player Evaluation, Systems Administrator, Senior Editor & Writer

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