2014 Preseason All-American Projections: Tight Ends

By Charlie Campbell
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Heading into the 2014 college football season, WalterFootball.com will debut our projections for the nation’s leaders during the fall. The All-American teams always have some surprises, and this coming fall’s stars could be the headline players next May for the 2015 NFL Draft.

First-Team Tight End: Nick O’Leary, Florida State

The Seminoles have made good use of O’Leary the past few seasons. He’s a mismatch receiver who also can play some h-Back. In 2013, O’Leary had 33 receptions for 557 yards and seven touchdowns. Florida State spread the ball around, but the junior had the capacity to produce more.

O’Leary would flash on occasion for the Seminoles in 2012. He totaled 21 receptions for 252 yards and three touchdowns for the season, but he played better than the numbers indicate.

This season should see O’Leary get more opportunities. Florida State lost wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin to the NFL and will need more receivers to step up. O’Leary works well with Jameis Winston, and as the defending National Champs, the Seminoles will be in the spotlight all year.

Second-Team Tight End: O.J. Howard, Alabama

Howard flashed big-time potential in 2013. The freshman hauled in 14 passes for 269 yards (19.2 average) with two touchdowns. He is fast and has the frame to add size. Howard already is a dangerous receiving weapon who presents a lot of mismatch problems. He was just scratching the surface of his potential last year.

The 6-foot-6, 237-pound Howard should take on a bigger role in the Alabama offense going forward. He could be a reliable receiver for the Crimson Tide’s new quarterback. Howard should have big 2014 and 2015 seasons if he stays healthy. Howard should take on a bigger role as a sophomore and junior.

Third-Team Tight End: Johnny Mundt, Oregon

Colt Lyerla quit the Ducks program during the 2013 season, but Oregon moved along without missing a beat because Mundt was an impact freshman. Mundt has good speed and athleticism to exploit the middle of the field. He caught 16 passes for 281 yards (17.6 average) with three touchdowns. With the Ducks’ ground attack to go with star quarterback Marcus Mariota, Mundt should have a big 2014 season. The 6-foot-4, 252-pounder has a ton of upside and will only get better with more experience.

Honorable Mentions: South Carolina’s Rory Anderson, Miami’s Clive Walford, Rutgers’ Tyler Kroft, Iowa State’s E.J. Bibbs, Duke’s Braxton Deaver, USC’s Randall Telfer, Penn State’s Kyle Carter, Notre Dame’s Ben Koyack and Ole Miss’ Evan Engram.

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