2012 College Football Player Ratings: Top 5 Tight Ends: In the age of high-powered spread offenses, the tight end position has changed and evolved as much as any in the game. No longer relegated to blocking duty, better and better athletes are choosing to become tight ends. The end result has been a nightmare for defenses that must now figure out how to stop massive individuals with the speed to get down field and the size to run over tacklers. There is no shortage of talented tight ends in the college ranks, and here is a look at some of the best for the upcoming football season.

Top 5 Tight Ends in 2012 College Football

1.      Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Simply put, there isn’t a better pass-catching tight end in the country than Eifert. Despite Amid the up and down quarterback play for the Irish last season, he was the model of consistency. Eifert led all tight ends in catches (63) and yards (803), and he should only be better with another year of experience and steadier QB play. He has excellent hands and above average speed for a tight end, and more importantly, he understand all the ins and outs of the position. Eifert is NFL ready.

2.      Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington Huskies

The two-sport athlete is part of the new breed of tight ends. Seferian-Jenkins had 41 catches for 531 yards as a freshman last year, and he is just scratching the surface of his potential. The Huskies are actually getting their act together on offense, and Seferian-Jenkins role is going to continue to grow and expand. From jump balls in the end zone to big plays down the middle of the field, his basketball skills make him a tough matchup for any defensive back.  No player currently at the position has more upside.

3.      Jacob Pedersen, Wisconsin Badgers

Even with running back Montee Ball gobbling up 39 touchdowns last year, Pedersen still established himself as a red zone threat. His eight touchdowns were the second most of any tight end and the most of any player returning this season. Pedersen got more and more snaps per game last year as his blocking improved, and he should have no problem setting career highs in catches and yards in 2012-13. Not to mention the fact that he should become a favorite target of new quarterback Danny O’Brien, especially in the red zone where he does his best work.

4.      Jake Stoneburner, Ohio State Buckeyes

Although he didn’t even eclipse 200 yards last year, Stoneburner’s talent was still on display. He had seven touchdowns in seven games, averaging almost 14 yards per catch. Having a true freshman starting at quarterback impacted the numbers for all the Ohio State receivers, but the addition of Urban Meyer’s offense should allow every member of the Buckeyes’ offense to blossom. Stoneburner has the speed and agility Meyer looks for in a tight end, and don’t be surprised if he takes on a role similar to the one Aaron Hernandez had in his days at Florida.

5.      Joseph Fauria, UCLA Bruins

He will only be a junior this season, and Fauria made huge strides as an impact player last season. He finished the year with 39 catches for 481 yards and six touchdowns. Fauria has the versatility to split out wide, and with his 6-8 frame, he can definitely create some mismatches. With another year of experience, Fauria should easily become the center of the Bruins’ passing attack. A monster season should be on tap, and double-digit touchdowns are a real possibility.

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