The rankings give fans an idea of what teams they should keep an eye on. But let’s put a player-focus spin on Top 25 szn. In this summer series, we’ll rank the Top 25 returning players at every position.
Next up are the tight ends.
Best Returning TEs
25. Tanner Taula, Illinois State
24. Justin Malone, Weber State
23. Clayton Cheatham, James Madison
22. Kyle Fourtenbary, Northern Iowa
21. Jeremy Brown, Alcorn State
20. Steven Stilianos, Lafayette
19. Kendric Johnson, Alabama A&M
18. Ethan Howard, Southern
17. Nate Adkins, ETSU
16. Derek Kline, San Diego
15. Logan Kendall, Idaho
14. John Fitzgerald, Richmond
13. Josh Babicz, North Dakota State
12. Bryce De Maille, Delaware
11. Shawn McFarland, Norfolk State
10. Brett Samson, South Dakota
9. Rodney Williams II, UT Martin
8. Zach Heins, South Dakota State
7. Todd Summers, Villanova
6. LJ Wesneski, UAlbany
RELATED: Position Rankings Home Page
The Top 5
5. Ryan Miller, Furman
After a solid 2019 season when he caught 11 passes for 237 yards and three touchdowns, Miller developed into a top FCS tight end in the spring. A First Team All-American by the AP and Second Team selection by Stats Perform, the 6-foot-2, 221-pounder hauled in 15 catches for 254 yards and six TDs in seven games. Miller enters the 2021 fall season with one All-American nod already (Athlon Sports).
4. Chris James, Chattanooga
James transferred to UTC in 2018 as a junior college quarterback before converting to tight end. In 2019, he earned First Team All-SoCon honors when he had 23 catches for 257 yards and seven TDs. The 6-foot-2, 228-pounder was a 2020 HERO Sports Preseason All-American. James played in UTC’s lone fall game, catching three passes for 33 yards against FBS Western Kentucky. He did not play in any games during the spring and plans to be back this fall for his seventh season of college football.
3. Marshel Martin, Sacramento State
Martin had a breakout year in Sac State’s historical 2019 season. The HERO Sports Freshman All-American was a part of a dynamic offense, where he caught 39 passes for 550 yards and seven TDs. Martin, who is 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, was named to the All-Big Sky Second Team. Sac State did not play any games in 2020-21 due to COVID.
2. Noah Gindorff, North Dakota State
Gindorff is Draft Scout’s top pro prospect for senior FCS tight ends. He was a touchdown-catching machine in 2019 when his first five career catches were all TDs. Gindorff finished 2019 with 10 receptions for 170 yards and six scores. In 2020-21, the 6-foot-6 and 266-pounder caught 11 passes for 85 yards and three TDs in 10 games while being a key blocker in NDSU’s rushing attack. Gindorff was named to the All-MVFC Second Team.
1. McCallan Castles, UC Davis
Castles was a huge recruiting prospect out of South Lake Tahoe, California. Rated the 14th-best tight end in the country in the 2018 recruiting class and a four-star recruit by 247, Castles had offers from California, Arizona State, Colorado, Duke, Nevada, Oregon State, San Diego State, Utah, and Washington State. He committed to and signed with Cal, where Castles appeared in four combined games in 2018 and 2019. Castles decided to transfer and chose UC Davis. In his debut season during the spring, the 6-foot-5 and 240-pounder caught 12 passes for 194 yards and three touchdowns in five games. He was named to the All-Big Sky First Team and earned HERO Sports Sophomore All-American honors.