1st-Team All-ACC Tight Ends: Marshon Ford, Louisville
No tight end will be featured more in their respective offense than Marshon Ford. Despite his relatively atypical body type for the position, Ford has been exceptionally productive for Louisville over the last several years. He serves as an H-back type player, frequently aligning off the line of scrimmage and frequently moving around or across the formation.
In 2021, Ford led all ACC tight ends in receptions and finished second in targets and yards behind Virginia’s Jelani Woods. He did not drop any passes last year but his scoring production fell off a cliff. Ford will be the focal point of the Cardinals’ passing offense this season, so look for him to catch more touchdowns, in what should be his final collegiate season.
2nd-Team All-ACC Tight Ends: Gavin Bartholomew, Pittsburgh
Whereas Ford is an ACC veteran, Gavin Bartholomew is a young rising star for the Pitt Panthers. Behind veteran transfer Lucas Krull, Bartholomew carved out a very valuable niche in Pitt’s wide-open offense last year. Like Ford, he frequently moved around the formation, aligning in the slot and even out wide. He also was frequently used on tight end screens, where he displayed rare run-after-catch skills.
This year, with the Panthers bringing in a new quarterback and new offense, Bartholomew should be able to build on his stellar debut season. He finished with the highest catch percentage (96.6%, 0 drops) among ACC tight ends with more than two targets. Bartholomew should provide Pitt’s quarterback(s) with a valuable safety blanket.
3rd-Team All-ACC Tight Ends: Will Mallory, Miami (FL)
Will Mallory returns for his fifth season with the Hurricanes, looking to finish his college career on a high note before heading off to the NFL. Unfortunately, Mallory struggled in nearly every facet of the game early in the 2021 season. He eventually settled in and looked closer to his 2020 form late in the season.
Mallory mostly aligns as a big slot receiver for Miami and with Josh Gattis coming over from Michigan, expect him to be a featured weapon in the passing game. He may not be the most consistent blocker, but with Miami lacking a consistent, experienced receiving threat, he should be a high-volume target over the middle for quarterback Tyler Van Dyke.