Ranking the SEC’s tight ends for 2013

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Previous Rankings:

Now, it’s time to turn our attention to the tight ends. Remember, we’re ranking these prospects on the impact they’ll make in 2013, not just digesting last year’s raw stats in an effort to be redundant.

Tight end is the biggest position of weakness entering 2013, but these 10 should emerge as the best:

Playmaker

1. Rory Anderson, South Carolina

Steve Spurrier’s game plan involves a heavy dose of tight ends, and he has one of the very best in the country in Rory Anderson. The 6-5, 242-pound lean, mean, pass-catching machine will be a weapon for either Connor Shaw or Dylan Thompson, and he’s a mismatch waiting to happen. He caught 14 passes for 271 yards and five touchdowns, averaging a crooked 19.4 yards per reception. Anderson can play outside, inside or with his hand down. He’s so versatile.

Dynamic duo

2. Jay Rome, Georgia
3. Arthur Lynch, Georgia

Jay Rome could be the best tight end on this list come December. His 6-6, 254-pound frame oozes potential. But it’s been just that: potential. He caught just 11 passes for 152 yards last season, but I think he becomes one of Aaron Murray’s biggest targets in 2013…Look at Georgia showing out! Arthur Lynch returns as the SEC’s leading tight end pass catcher. He caught 24 passes for 431 yards and three touchdowns, and he will once again be in the game plan for Murray, Mark Richt and company. Double tight end sets could produce some numbers this season!

Need more touches

4. CJ Uzomah, Auburn
5. Malcolm Johnson, Mississippi State

One tight end who should jump on everyone’s radar is CJ Uzomah. A new offense with his mean 6-4, 255-pound frame could be dirty. He caught just seven passes in 2012, but he averaged 19.4 yards per reception. Better quarterback play means bigger numbers for Uzomah. Remember how crucial Phillip Lutzenkirchen was in Gus Malzahn’s offense? I think Uzomah becomes a big weapon…One of the few tight ends from the state of Alabama who escaped Nick Saban’s grasp is Malcolm Johnson. He missed five games last season due to injury, but he’s a fantastic looking athlete. He caught 10 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns, but I think he becomes a real go-to weapon and target for senior QB Tyler Russell.

All-around TE

6. Brian Vogler, Alabama

Brian Vogler will replace Michael Williams as Alabama’s every down tight end. He can block and pass catch with his 6-7, 260-pound frame, and he looks to finally grow into his own as a junior. Vogler caught just two passes last year, but expect those numbers to increase in 2013.

Receiving weapons

7. Jerrell Adams, South Carolina
8. Cam Clear, Texas A&M
9. OJ Howard, Alabama

Jerrell Adams is going to be a matchup nightmare much like his counterpart Rory Anderson. Adams caught four passes for 90 yards, but he showed this spring he’s going to be a factor in Spurrier’s game plan. Watch out for this 6-6, 225-pound freak…Cam Clear is a huge pickup for the Aggies. The former Tennessee tight end is a spectacular athlete at 6-6, 270 pounds. That’s built more like a guard than a tight end, but he’s too athletic to keep the ball out of his hands. He can block, run and catch passes for Kevin Sumlin…As the only freshman on the list, OJ Howard has a chance to have a big freshman season. The early enrollee got his feet wet this spring, and early enrollees have contributed for the Tide. He’s a 6-6, 240-pound tight end who can play receiver as well as H-back.

Solid contributor

10. Austin Tate, Arkansas

Austin Tate showed some flashes last season playing for the injured Chris Gragg. He’s a big kid, listed at 6-6, 266 pounds, and he’ll be a primary blocker for Bret Bielema and company. He caught 14 passes for 111 yards and no touchdowns last season. Tate will need to become a weapon for Brandon Allen and the offense.

Photo Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

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