Nichols/Martin: Connecticut prep tight end shines in spotlight

Matt Buron was not a name the VR2 on SI staff knew coming into this weekend’s Rocky Top 7-v-7 Classic in Gatlinburg. But through six hours on Saturday, the Aces Elite tight end showed skills that made his name unforgettable.

If you’re a football fan and could construct a perfect tight end, what characteristics would come to mind?

Tall? Well-built? Soft hands? Great blocking? Large reach?

All of that fits in a description of Aces Elite’s Matt Buron. 

Through six hours of the Rocky Top 7-v-7 Classic on Saturday, Buron transformed from just another roster listing to a serious name to watch.

Against a foggy, mountainous Tennessee backdrop, the Massachusetts native showcased athleticism and size that will pay dividends for his senior year at Choate Rosemary Hall — a private school in Wallingford, Connecticut. 

Buron’s Aces Elite Midwest team is comprised primarily of players from Minnesota. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that a kid with New England roots has, according to his mother, earned the nickname “East Coast.”

Fittingly so, too. At 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, Buron measures just an inch shy of former Patriots and current Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski. Add the muscle that comes with any Power Five weightlifting program, and Buron could transform into a devastating presence for any offense in the nation.

Currently, the 2022 prospect holds just one offer, from FCS-level Georgetown. Below, Brandon Martin and I reveal why he could — and should — get several more high-profile looks before his high school days are done.

Jake: I said most of my piece in the previous paragraphs, but Buron is truly a diamond in the rough. His skill set is one I literally noticed right after the first whistle. During Saturday’s opening game between Aces Elite and Knoxville’s own East Tennessee Elite, Buron hauled in a couple touchdown passes and used an athletic frame and nice hands to make difficult plays look easy for a team that had hardly practiced together before arriving. Throughout the afternoon, he showed athleticism that is truly rare for someone his size. He also displayed solid character, shrugging off a devastating loss with, “It happens.”

Overall, Buron’s presence was so noticeable that, as mentioned in the description, I walked up to interview him after that first matchup without even knowing his name.

Brandon: Buron has an ideal frame for a Power Five tight end at 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds. He has the frame, weight, and physicality to work as an in-line tight end effectively as a blocker for the run and the pass. Buron also has the athletic ability to be a dangerous receiver coming out of a three-point stance or flexing out wide. He showed that he is capable of running good routes to get open against good competition this weekend, where his size as he worked deep downfield was a consistent problem for defenses. Buron has a long wingspan and shows the ability to high point the ball over smaller defensive backs. This allows him to have a huge catch radius, which rarely allows a ball to hit the ground, thanks to his outstanding hands. Buron was a consistent playmaker that jumped out watching games and on film. He has all the tools to be an impactful, complete tight end at the next level. 

Buron’s name could be one to remember, and it should be one to keep in mind for Tennessee offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Alex Golesh. The Vols’ new OC has already mentioned how he might like to use a versatile tight end in his scheme, and Buron’s talent fits the mold for such a high-powered approach.

You can see Buron’s initial interview in the video at the top, and you can find his weekend highlights in the tweet below.