No mention of Jerell Adams at South Carolina makes this ranking a joke. He is the most athletic freshman tight end in the SEC at 6-6 220. Take a look at his dominant performance in the Shrine Bowl as a HS senior. Then tell me that the players listed a better than him. Carolina has the deepest and most talented TE group in the SEC and they will shine this season. Look for a ton of double TE plays. UT's Meredith would be sixth string for the Gamecocks behind Justice Cunningham, Buster Anderson, Jerell Adams, Drew Owens and another stud freshman TE in Kelvin Rainey.
But they’re important. Look at the impact made by Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski at the game’s highest level last season.
Tight end is a position that will likely see more attention in the future. They’ll receive plenty here.
Here are the top five freshman tight ends in the SEC.
1. Kent Taylor – Florida
Taylor has the athleticism to be a star in the SEC. He will have a chance to help Florida’s offense this season with the departure of tight end A.C. Leonard. Taylor (6-5, 220) will need to need add some weight to be more productive at the college level, but he has enough size to walk in and help Florida’s passing game right away. Taylor has all the makings of an NFL tight end.
2. Ricky Parks – Auburn
Parks has already stood out to veterans during the opening of Auburn’s fall camp. He showed up looking like an SEC player. How athletic is Parks? He played quarterback in high school but has the size (6-4, 230) to play tight end right away. Parks’ experience at quarterback should help him grasp the game mentally. If he pays attention to veteran Philip Lutzenkirchen, Parks will catch on quickly.
3. Kurt Freitag – Alabama
He arrived at fall camp looking like he has enough physical ability to help Alabama right away. He won’t have to carry the load at tight end – that job belongs to Michael Williams. Freitag (6-4, 240) will still need to add weight to be a starter at Alabama in the future, but that shouldn’t be a problem. Freitag might not be a star in the SEC, but he should be a perfect fit playing for coach Nick Saban.
4. Justin Meredith – Tennessee
It’s a good thing Meredith enrolled at Tennessee in January. The Vols need help right away at tight end because of the summer dismissal of Cameron Clear. Meredith (6-5, 223) still needs to add weight, and he won’t play if he isn’t healthy (he continues to battle a hamstring injury). But Meredith has good height and is athletic enough to help make plays. Tennessee will be happy it convinced Meredith to switch his commitment from North Carolina.
5. Colin Thompson – Florida
Thompson and Taylor should have Florida fans excited about the Gators’ future at tight end. Thompson (6-4, 255) has the size that Taylor is looking for. Thompson has been battling a foot injury, which could slow the start of his career at Florida. But when he gets going, expect Thompson to help as a blocker and provide the the Gators’ quarterback another option to move the chains. Thompson won’t be a prolific receiver like Taylor, but the two should combine to do big things in Gainesville.
Be sure to keep up with recruiting from across the SEC on MrSEC.com’s Recruiting Page.