The college football season is approaching. There is always debate over ranking the best players in the sport. Here are the top 25 college football tight ends heading into the 2022 season.
Note: While projection of what a player can be is taken into account, most rankings are from what has been seen on the field so far. These are not NFL Draft rankings, but rather focus on the best players in college football.
25. Brevyn Spann-Ford, Minnesota Golden Gophers
Spann-Ford is one of the biggest tight ends in college football at 6-foot-7 and 270 pounds. He had his first year of solid production in 2021 with 23 receptions for 296 yards and one touchdown. After helping the Golden Gophers win nine games last season, he will try to do the same this season.
24. Christian Trahan, Houston Cougars
While he doesn’t have the prototypical height for a tight end, Trahan has three years of decent stats under his belt. In 2021, he hauled in 37 passes for 398 yards and two touchdowns. He will pair back up with quarterback Clayton Tune to try to take the Cougars to a New Year’s Six Bowl.
23. Ryan Jones, East Carolina Pirates
Jones started his career at Oklahoma and then transferred to East Carolina before the 2021 season. For the Pirates, he had 37 receptions for 442 yards and five touchdowns. East Carolina won seven games last season and if they continue to utilize Jones well, could make some noise in the ACC.
22. Gavin Bartholomew, Pittsburgh Panthers
He was just a freshman in 2021, but Bartholomew was able to catch 28 passes for 326 yards and four touchdowns. Kenny Pickett is now in the NFL, so Bartholomew will be one of new quarterback Kedon Slovis‘s favorite targets.
21. Joshua Simon, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
In his first two seasons with Western Kentucky, Simon had 800 receiving yards. He had a season-ending knee injury in 2021, but had 73 yards and a touchdown catch in his only game played. While he may be forgotten about by some due to the injury, his total college body of work earns him a spot on this list.
20. Michael Trigg, Ole Miss Rebels
Trigg had a solid freshman season for USC, albeit in four games played. He had seven catches for 109 yards and one touchdown. Now that he is with Lane Kiffin, Trigg is expected to put up bigger numbers, so expect to see him rise up this list once he gets some work.
19. Josh Whyle, Cincinnati Bearcats
While many of the players on Cincinnati’s roster decided to head to the pros from last season, Whyle returned. He has two straight seasons of over 300 receiving yards and it could be argued that he is not utilized as much as he should be. He is one of the few offensive weapons returning, so he will have to help a new quarterback get comfortable in 2022.
18. Kemore Gamble, UCF Knights
Gamble spent the first part of his college career at Florida, but has now transferred to UCF. For the Gators in 2021, Gamble had 31 receptions for 414 yards and four touchdowns. UCF has the chance to be competitive in the AAC and the addition of Gamble could help their offense improve from a ranking of 37 in 2021.
17. Will Mallory, Miami Hurricanes
Mallory has had two straight seasons with at least 300 receiving yards and four touchdowns for the Hurricanes. He is expected to do even more in 2022, especially with quarterback Tyler Van Dyke slinging the ball around the field after a nice freshman season.
16. Zack Kuntz, Old Dominion Monarchs
After not playing a lot at Penn State, Kuntz transferred to Old Dominion. In his first season with the team, he had 73 catches for 692 yards and five touchdowns. As the Monarchs transition to the Sun Belt, Kuntz can prove to be one of the best players in the conference.
15. Erick All, Michigan Wolverines
All made some big plays for Michigan in order for them to make the College Football Playoff following the 2021 season. He returns after catching 38 passes for 437 yards and two touchdowns. Having a tight end like All, who can be clutch, really helps Michigan’s chances in 2022.
14. Jahleel Billingsley, Texas Longhorns
Billingsley had 200 receiving yards in two straight seasons with three touchdowns in each for Alabama. He lost playing time and then decided to transfer to Texas, following Steve Sarkisian. Knowing the offense gives him a leg up for 2022 and he could have a big year.
13. Austin Stogner, South Carolina Gamecocks
After having a big year in 2020 for Oklahoma, Stogner didn’t do as well in 2021, as the quarterback play was inconsistent. He rejoins Spencer Rattler in South Carolina after having 654 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in his career.
12. Marshon Ford, Louisville Cardinals
Ford has consistently improved over his Louisville career and is now a star. He caught 49 passes for 550 yards and two touchdowns in 2021. Louisville will have some players to watch this season with Ford and his quarterback Malik Cunningham.
11. Darnell Washington, Georgia Bulldogs
At 6-foot-7 and 265 pounds, Washington is a matchup problem. He has 320 yards and one touchdown in his three seasons. Washington is one of three tight ends on Georgia’s roster, making them the best tight end room in college football.
10. Payne Durham, Purdue Boilermakers
Durham had a good 2021 season with 45 receptions for 467 yards and six touchdowns. As Aidan O’Connell emerged at quarterback for the Boilermakers last season, Durham provided a good, reliable target. Another year with the combination should lead to success.
9. Dalton Kincaid, Utah Utes
Kincaid is one of two Utah tight ends who produce a lot. In 2021, he had 36 receptions for 510 yards and eight touchdowns. Although he may not be the lead tight end for the Utes, he would start for plenty of teams across the country.
8. Benjamin Yurosek, Stanford Cardinal
Yurosek started for the first time in his career during the 2021 season and impressed. He had 43 receptions for 658 yards and three touchdowns. If he and quarterback Tanner McKee can mesh well again in 2022, Stanford can improve on their 3-9 record.
7. Arik Gilbert, Georgia Bulldogs
Gilbert did not play in 2021 due to personal reasons, but was actually moving to wide receiver for Georgia. For all intents and purposes, he is a tight end. During his freshman season at LSU, he had 35 receptions for 368 yards and two touchdowns. While he may not start or play a traditional tight end position, Gilbert has a ton of talent.
6. Jaheim Bell, South Carolina Gamecocks
South Carolina’s top tight end is Bell, after already listing Stogner. Bell was one of the best players on the Gamecocks last season with 30 receptions for 497 yards and five touchdowns. South Carolina has some nice new pieces coming in and with Bell could improve from last season.
5. Cameron Latu, Alabama Crimson Tide
Latu was able to take the job from Jahleel Billingsley last season. He had 26 receptions for 410 yards and eight touchdowns in 2021. The amount of improvement Latu has shown after starting his career as a tight end is incredible.
4. Brant Kuithe, Utah Utes
Kuithe is the lead tight end for the Utes. In 2021, he had 50 receptions for 611 yards and six touchdowns. He not only is a good tight end that can help Utah compete for a Pac-12 Championship, he is also coveted as an NFL tight end.
3. Sam LaPorta, Iowa Hawkeyes
Iowa has become something of a tight end factory the last several years and LaPorta is the next man up. He had 53 catches for 670 yards and three touchdowns last season. Iowa will be relying on LaPorta to block and be a reliable receiver again in 2022.
2. Brock Bowers, Georgia Bulldogs
Bowers had an incredible freshman season for Georgia that ended with a National Championship win. He finished the year with 56 receptions for 882 yards and 13 touchdowns. His speed was on full display and he is poised for a big season in 2022.
1. Michael Mayer, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame was at their best when they targeted Mayer in 2021. He had 71 receptions for 840 yards and seven touchdowns in 2021. Not only does he provide a good pass-catcher, he also blocks well. Mayer is a frontrunner to be the first tight end off the board in the 2023 NFL Draft.
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