2015 Preseason All-American Projections: Tight Ends

By Charlie Campbell
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Heading into the 2015 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 the stars of next fall could be the headlining players next May in the 2016 NFL Draft.

First-Team Tight End: Hunter Henry, Arkansas

The Razorbacks feature perhaps the most well-rounded and complete tight end in the nation with Henry. He is a quality run-blocker and a weapon as a receiver. In 2014, Henry caught 37 passes for 513 yards and two scores. He also made an impact as a freshman with 28 catches for 409 yards and four scores. The 6-foot-6, 255-pound Henry will be valuable as a run-blocker, and with the Razorbacks not having an elite receiver, he should be relied on in the passing game as well. It wouldn’t be at all surprising if Henry is a First-Team All-American.

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

As a freshman, Howard flashed big-time potential. He hauled in 14 passes for 269 yards (19.2 average) with two touchdowns. However, offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin went over board with plays for Amari Cooper in 2014. Add in the running game, and Howard didn’t get a big opportunity to produce (17-260). Perhaps that will change this year with Cooper in the NFL, but Howard (6-6, 237) needs to become a better run-blocker and route-runner. Howard is fast, athletic and very dangerous as a receiving weapon. He presents a lot of mismatch problems. Howard was just scratching the surface of his potential last season, so 2015 could be the year that he breaks out.

Third-Team Tight End: Evan Engram, Ole Miss

The Rebels have gotten a lot of big plays out of Engram over the past two years. He is a dynamic receiver and mismatch weapon. Engram had 38 receptions for 662 yards and two touchdowns in 2014. Engram (6-3, 228) needs to get bigger and be a better blocker. That keeps him lower even though he is maybe the most natural receiver of these All-American tight ends.

Honorable Mentions: Penn State’s Kyle Carter, Arkansas State’s Darion Griswold, Ohio State’s Nick Vannett, Oregon’s Johnny Mundt, Duke’s Braxton Deaver, Baylor’s TreVon Armstead and San Jose State’s Billy Freeman.

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