SI All-American: Ranking the Top 10 H-Tight Ends in the Class of 2021
Edwin Weathersby II
After compiling several months worth of data in addition to cycling back for a closer look at the 2019 football season, SI All-American has put pen to paper at each position group.
As we work towards the preseason SI99, ranking the top 99 college football prospects regardless of position, establishing a top 10 ahead of the 2020 season for each position group plays paramount. Two tight end groups, beginning with Tight End - H, are next up.
The development of this position group over recent years has been critical to track on both Saturdays and Sundays, with an increased value at the tight end position for the H group. These versatile, move, flex types -- also known as Jokers -- are expanding within offensive schemes. Two-tight end personnel has blossomed into much more of a passing threat than ever before so SI All-American will rank two sets of tight ends in the class of 2021. The other group, Tight End - Y, is designated for the more traditional or conventional tight end prospect (rankings will be out Friday, August 7).
Here are the best of the best within the Tight End - H projections ahead of the 2020 football season.
1. Brock Bowers, Napa (Calif.) High School
6-foot-3, 225 pounds
Schools of interest: Georgia, Oregon, Oregon State, Cal, Penn State, Notre Dame, UCLA, Washington
Bowers checks in as our top H-Tight End prospect, as he grades out high in many positional factors. He can be successful attached as in-line seam-player, flexed to the slot, as a wing player, fullback and perimeter receiver. In fact, Bowers has even played running back and looked more than comfortable using change of direction ability, balance and quickness as a big runner. He shows good hands to pluck in the passing game, with good route-running traits and has speed to threaten in the RAC-phase. The California native also is a dynamic blocker from wing alignments, displaying strength to win early at the point and leg-churn to finish. Bowers’ versatility will allow him to offer a college offense formation flexibility as an ultimate H-back type with the ability to contribute to an offense as a receiver, blocker and runner. He can also do this...
2. Miles Campbell, Douglasville (Ga.) South Paulding
6-foot-3, 234 pounds
Committed to Tennessee
Hailing from Georgia, yet committed to Tennessee, Campbell has ideal H-Tight End traits. He possesses some twitch and urgency in his releases both in-line and flexed out, and has plus long speed. Campbell can run deep overs, corners, inside verticals and also align on the perimeter to execute curls and comebacks, among other routes. He can even factor heavily in an offense’s screen package as well. As a blocker, the future Vol is more than willing to attack with solid punch accuracy and generates solid leg-churn post-contact to sustain. When studying Campbell on tape, it becomes easy to see how Tennessee offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and tight ends coach Joe Osovet would be excited to use him as a chess piece to scheme up attacks each week in Knoxville.
3. Michael Trigg, Seffner (Fla.) Seffner Christian
6-foot-4, 225 pounds
Schools of Interest: Florida State, Georgia, Auburn, Kentucky, LSU and South Carolina, among others.
Trigg works mostly as a big receiver right now, yet we see outstanding H-Tight End traits on tape to be productive at the college level. He has pride as a blocker and works to sustain to compliment the run game. However, it’s what the Florida native does in the pass game that makes him so dynamic. Trigg has wonderful hands and one of the biggest strike zones among tight end prospects in this class. He can reach, extend and pluck naturally with soft mitts and his concentration through catch points and in crowds is ideal. There’s twitch in his athleticism, as he shows a subtle burst in his secondary releases and has open-field vision and elusive RAC traits. Wherever he ends up, look for Trigg to develop into a key contributor in its offensive passing attack in the seams.
4. Jake Briningstool, Brentwood (Tenn.) Ravenwood
6-foot-6, 215 pounds
Committed to Clemson
Possessing excellent length, Briningstool is a physical tight end prospect who can easily play H or Y. He currently spends a solid amount of snaps flexed out, where he shows above-average route running traits via getting his head and shoulders out of his frame at breakpoints and sinkage to motor down before using quickness to detach from coverage. Briningstool has good hands and athleticism to adjust, as the big man shows good body control and eye tracking. The Clemson commit also is among the most physical blockers on this list, relishing contact and possessing pride to finish. With his length, solid speed and physicality, Briningstool should develop well to contribute to the Tigers’ offense after a period of physical development.
5. Ethan Downs, Weatherford (Okla.) Weatherford
6-foot-4, 240 pounds
Committed to Oklahoma
There’s a good chance Downs plays defensive end in Norman, as he is a solid edge-defender who could very easily become a productive player for Oklahoma defensive coordinator Alex Grinch. However, we like Downs as an H-Tight End prospect due to his toughness and athleticism in both the run and pass game. The future Sooner uses his size and strength to bully edges in the run game, often latching with a strong punch and sustaining to punish and finish as a blocker. Downs has adjust ability to expand his strike zone in the pass game and can be schemed into verticals up the seams to stretch the back end. We’re sure Coach Grinch will do all he can to have Downs on defense, but we feel his best upside is an H-tight end, as head coach Lincoln Riley is indeed offensive-minded.
6. Cedric Seabrough, Swainsboro (Ga.) Swainsboro
6-foot-4, 220 pounds
Committed to NC State
Seabrough has a high-cut frame and tremendous length. Right now, he’s more of a big, perimeter wide out with smooth athleticism and movement skills. The Peach State native uses his length to win at catch points and can pluck with his mitts in a natural fashion. Seabrough also flashes impressive adjust ability to complement his ball skills. He projects well as a move/flex tight end who can work detached from the formation and schemed into the mid-range passing game. His size, length and ball skills also will allow him to be effective in the red zone. Recently committed to NC State, we like the future combination of Seabrough and Wolfpack QB commit Aaron McLaughlin.
7. Landen King, Humble (Texas) Atascocita
6-foot-5, 210 pounds
Committed to Auburn
Already playing an H-tight end role for his current offense, King has good traits for the position. While he will need to continue adding mass and strength to his long, high-cut frame, he can win as a willing blocker with length and proper angles to targets to take advantage of leverage. King can be seen on tape aligning in-line, flexed and as a wing player as well. The Auburn commit separates from coverage with length and has high-point ability in the passing game from the seams. He’s a good athlete with plus movement skills and possesses a long stride in the open field. With his skill set and alignment flexibility, King projects well as a productive joker tight end prospect who will allow Gus Malzahn to scheme him into the pass game well and win his isolation matchups while on The Plains.
8. Elijah Arroyo, Frisco (Texas) Independence
6-foot-4, 210 pounds
Committed to Miami
Arroyo also competes as a high-jumper in track and field, and it shows up on tape. He’s assertive to catch in crowds, showing proper trajectory judgement, leap timing and hands to pluck with a big strike zone. The Texas native can make plays in traffic with body control and projects well as a weapon in red zone packages. Arroyo has just enough strength to use a slam release and get to flat, and he has solid RAC traits. He can also be schemed into deep overs and other in-breaking routes in the mid-range pass game. He will need to add mass and strength to continue growing as a blocker to factor in the run game for Miami, yet his contribution will be made mainly in the passing attack for Manny Diaz.
9. Landon Morris, La Grange Park (Ill.) Nazareth Academy
6-foot-5, 210 pounds
Committed to Syracuse
In watching Morris on tape, we feel strongly that Syracuse may very well indeed be getting a steal. He has plus route running traits as a big receiver, let alone as an H-Tight End prospect. The 6-foot-5 ‘Cuse pledge can use subtle head fakes and alter his shoulders outside his hips and frame to spin coverage at breakpoints before separating. Morris also works with plenty of urgency in his movements, illustrated by his solid release quickness. He shows the ability to work as the backside, isolated 1 in 3x1 sets and as a classic X in 2x2 sets, be it on the boundary or to the field. Toss in his ability to be a seam-stretcher while flexed to the slot, and it starts to become easy to see why an offensive mind like Orange head coach Dino Babers is excited to get Morris on campus in central New York.
10. Jordan Dingle, Bowling Green (Ky.) Bowling Green
6-foot-4, 225 pounds
Schools of interest: Ohio State, Kentucky, Northwestern and Virginia Tech, among others
Dingle makes his hay from the slot, where he runs mostly corner routes, and stop/sit routes. He possesses soft hands and is comfortable catching in crowds with good eye-tracking and body control to adjust to throws. The Kentucky native has the ability to run through arm-tackles in the RAC-phase and can take advantage of leaky-yardage tacklers to move the chains. Dingle also shows reach-block ability when working attached to the formation in zone schemes in the run game, as well as when aligned as a wing player. We feel he can be schemed well into slot fades and over routes due to his hands and ball skills, while eventually possessing enough strength to hold his own versus Nickel-sub defenders as a blocker in the run game.
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