With many senior athletes throughout the country coming to decisions or at least narrowing things down this time of year, I think it is important to break down a number of factors in the decision process. There will be a variety of things that I cover here and in the future so it is something to keep an eye on if you want to learn more about some important aspects in the college decision.
The tight end position is very unique in the recruiting process. This is a position that college coaches bring you in at and most schools will leave you there the next four or five years of your career. The position is different than many others because most recruits don’t get brought in at wide receiver and then moved to tight end. It is pretty obvious if you can play there or not.
The biggest thing coaches will look for when recruiting this position is blocking, hands, and size. The majority of schools across the country use the tight end spot to block more than to throw to. While there are some obvious exceptions, it is important to be able to open holds and help the offense succeed while doing the dirty work. And if you are not getting the ball through the air, this really is a tough job.
When a school will use you offensively in the passing game, they want a tight end with the ability to catch. Some tight ends are better suited for blocking but being able to catch and having soft hands is an important facet in the college game. You have to make the most of your limited opportunities as is so holding onto the ball when it is thrown at you is vital.
Size is crucial because like many other positions, Division I college football coaches know what type of size they want out of the tight end position. When looking at the top 45 tight ends in the nation as rated by Rivals.com, only five are 6-foot-3 but fifteen are 6-foot-6. The majority of these players go to the college level weighing around 240 to 250 pounds. What these college coaches are looking for in a recruit at this position is the eventual prototypical 6-foot-6, 260 pound tight end with soft hands.
When coaches visit you, they will once again be sizing you up against other potential recruits they are looking at. While being able to add weight to your frame is something that will come over time, the lightest tight end on that list of the top 45 is 210 pounds. These coaches will be giving you an eyeball test to see your height and weight every time they come to the school or you visit the campus of their program.
While speed is the name of the game for just about every position in football, tight ends need to be fast but not blazing. A few of the top tight ends in the country are listed at having 40-yard dash times in the 4.6 and 4.7 area. That time depends a lot on who tests it but coaches will be looking for speed more at other positions. Running a 5.0 or above at this position will make it tougher but there are always slower tight ends.
During the highlight video process, you will want to include your best catches. The more athleticism that they see, the better they will feel about your ability. College coaches want to see those soft hands and the ability to run after catches as well. If you can show them tape of you powering through a defensive back after a catch, make sure to include it.
Because I already mentioned how important blocking is in the recruiting for a tight end, make sure to include your top blocks from the year. Minor things like these could pay off in that quest for an eventual scholarship. As with offensive linemen, make sure it is obvious on the tape where you are being pointing yourself out in the video. You do not want the coaches second guessing where you are and trying to pick out your number. They really do not have time for that.
The tight end position is one where if a school recruits you, there may be a chance that they move you to the offensive line. While others have been moved to fullback and defensive line, recruited tight ends may just fill out and make the move. Being able to run a 5.0 40-yard dash may be slow but as an offensive lineman, that is fast. Some of the top offensive linemen are the ones that have the athleticism in high school but gain weight early in their college career.
Make sure to speak to the college coaches about if they plan on moving you and how much they throw the ball to the tight end. Look at their statistics online and see how many catches a tight end usually gets. Some schools may use a multiple tight end system so speak with the coaching staff about that as well.
Previous recruiting specific articles to look at:
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