The tight end group out West is an interesting mix this year with several players capable of playing multiple positions in college. In fact, among the players ranked in our top 10, only three are even locks to stay on the offensive side of the ball.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins tops the list and is among the two or three best tight ends in the country. He’s a huge target who looks like a lineman running down the field but runs well enough to stay at tight end in college. He has very soft hands and is a load to bring down in the open field.
Junior Pomee is not far behind Seferian-Jenkins and is the best athlete on this list. He plays receiver in high school but has the frame to grow in to a tight end where he’ll cause severe match-up problems for linebackers and safeties at the next level. He was an early commit to UCLA, then backed off and nearly committed to Florida after visiting the campus in the summer. At this time, it appears the Bruins hold a slight edge.
Colby Jorgensen put on an absolute clinic at the NIKE Camp at BYU back in June. He has a long, lean frame, tremendous speed and body control and very good hands. At the NIKE Combine in Salt Lake City the day before the Camp, Jorgensen wowed onlookers running a 4.60-40 (electronic time), jumped 35 inches in the vertical and threw the power ball 45’ and his SPARQ Rating of 125.82 was among the top five in the nation.
Troy Niklas battled concussion issues as a junior but when healthy, he’s a tremendous prospect. He looks like a college player right now and is probably the most physical tight end in the region. He’s also a very talented defensive end and was moved to the offensive line this year and it would not surprise at all to see Niklas a future All-American left tackle down the road.
Dillon van der Wal was the top tight end at the NIKE Camps at USC and Stanford over the summer. He’s a big target with great leaping ability and will be a very tough red zone matchup in college. He’s also a standout defensive end and will likely double sport in college as he’s a talented hooper on the hardwood.
The Top 10:
1. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, 6-6, 260, Gig Harbor (Wash.) -- Washington
Mammoth target with the best hands of any pass catcher in the region.
2. Junior Pomee, 6-4, 215, Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde
Ultra athletic player who some feel could stay at receiver because of his speed.
3. Colby Jorgensen, 6-6, 220, Provo (Utah) Timpview -- Brigham Young
Best player, regardless of position, at the NIKE Camp at BYU.
4. Troy Niklas, 6-6, 245, Anaheim (Calif.) Servite
Tremendous upside at TE, DE or even offensive line.
5. Dillon van der Wal, 6-7, 230, Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian
Has excellent size and leaping ability, also a standout basketball player.
6. Raymond Nelson, 6-5, 230, Modesto (Calif.) Christian -- UCLA
Tough physical player, older brother Reeves play on Bruins hoop team.
7. Sam Boyd, 6-3, 230, Corona (Calif.) Roosevelt
Physical freak with a college body and tremendous speed.
8. Max Hersey, 6-3, 235, University Place (Wash.) Curtis -- Washington State
Great showing at the NIKE Camp at Oregon, strong kid with very soft hands.
9. Brock Haman, 6-3, 225, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro
Versatile player who could play a number of positions, good speed and hands.
10. Stehly Reden, 6-4, 235, Valley Center (Calif.) -- Brigham Young
Intriguing player who could stay at tight end or bulk up in to a left tackle in college.
The Next 10:
11. Mansel Simmons, 6-4, 215, Sacramento (Calif.) Sheldon
12. Wallace Gonzalez, 6-5, 225, La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat
13. Benton Bray, 6-3, 215, Kingsburg (Calif.)
14. R.J. Rickert, 6-2, 225, Gilbert (Ariz.) Mesquite
15. Robert Craighead, 6-4, 240, Lakeside (Calif.) El Capitan -- San Diego State
16. Joseph Farmer, 6-5, 220, Snoqualime (Wash.) Mount Si
17. Hayden Plinke, 6-4, 210, Hillsboro (Ore.) Glencoe
18. Earnest Pettway, 6-4, 235, Long Beach Poly (Calif.)
19. Demetrius Moore, 6-3, 225, Spanaway (Wash.) Spanaway Lake
20. Shairone Thompson, 6-4, 200, Kahuku (Hawaii)
Greg Biggins is an occasional contributor to the ESPNLosAngeles.com Preps Blog. For more recruiting news, check out his Insider blog on West Coast recruiting.