I-A College Football
 
 
                 === On Campus: A quarterback's best friend ===
 
 By Scott Haynes, Senior College Football Editor
 
 Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The tight end position has evolved into a
 highly sought-after commodity at the NFL level.
 
 A lot of that has to do with the type of athletes who are suiting up and
 honing their craft in college. The really talented ones are an integral part
 of any offensive scheme and bolster a quarterback's confidence when dropping
 back in the pocket.
 
 Here is a list of the top tight ends at the FBS level in 2013:
 
 AUSTIN SEFERIAN-JENKINS (Washington): While position rankings can be
 subjective, that isn't the case at tight end. The 6-foot-6, 265-pound
 Seferian-Jenkins is a nightmare for opposing defenses to handle and is without
 a doubt the top player at his position in the country. He was named to the
 All-Pac-12 second team and was a finalist for the Mackey Award in 2012,
 hauling in 69 balls for 850 yards and seven touchdowns. He doesn't have the
 straight-line speed to blow by defenders, but he uses his size to his
 advantage and adjusts for the ball in flight. The only thing that could derail
 an All-America campaign this season outside of injury is Seferian-Jenkins
 himself. An off-season arrest for DUI has left the talented playmaker
 suspended from team activities, and until the case plays itself out in the
 court system, Seferian-Jenkins is in football limbo.
 
 COLT LYERLA (Oregon): He may not have put up eye-popping numbers in Oregon's
 prolific offensive attack, but there is no mistaking Lyerla's enormous talent.
 This 6-5, 246-pounder can do it all on the field. Chip Kelly made sure to
 showcase that last year, as Lyerla finished with 25 catches for 392 yards and
 six touchdowns. He also added a seventh score on 13 carries. A prep standout
 at running back and linebacker, Lyerla is perhaps the most athletic tight end
 in the country, something the NFL is looking for at the position. Kelly is no
 longer calling the plays in Eugene, but the script won't change that much for
 Oregon going forward. The playmakers on offense will continue to shine, and
 Lyerla has as bright a future as any Duck on the roster.
 
 ERIC EBRON (North Carolina): Another supreme athlete at the position, the 6-4,
 245-pound Ebron is evolving into a complete player in Chapel Hill. The junior
 is extremely fast, explosive after the catch and doesn't mind blocking. A
 second-team All-ACC selection as a sophomore in 2012, Ebron finished with 40
 receptions for 625 yards and four touchdowns. UNC's workhorse tailback
 Giovani Bernard has moved on to the NFL and North Carolina could get more
 vertical in its offensive play-calling as a result. That could mean big
 numbers for Ebron, who will undoubtedly be one of Bryn Renner's top targets in
 2013.
 
 C.J. FIEDOROWICZ (Iowa): This Iowa Hawkeye isn't the greatest athlete at the
 position, but he is as reliable as they come. A huge target at 6-7, 265
 pounds, Fiedorowicz knows how to take advantage of smaller defenders. He
 earned All-Big Ten honorable mention a year ago, finishing with 45 receptions,
 for 433 yards and one touchdown. He also may be the best blocking tight end on
 this list, a skill set that will help bolster his NFL stock when draft time
 comes around.
 
 XAVIER GRIMBLE (USC): On a team that featured two All-Americans in Marqise Lee
 and Robert Woods on the outside, it wasn't easy for this Trojan to earn
 recognition as a viable receiving threat. However, that was a common mistake
 for USC's opponents, as the 6-5, 250-pound Grimble made plays when on the
 field (nine starts last year), finishing 2012 with 29 catches for 316 yards
 and five touchdowns. The Trojans are stock-piling at the position with Randall
 Telfer and Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick fighting to earn playing time, but it is
 Grimble who has been the most productive. Another big target with above-
 average athleticism for the position, Grimble will continue to produce in
 USC's offensive attack.
 
 JACOB PEDERSEN (Wisconsin): The 6-4, 240-pound Pedersen gets better with each
 year in Madison. After earning second-team All-Big Ten honors as a sophomore
 in 2011, he was an All-Big Ten first-team member as a junior in 2012. He
 finished last season with 27 receptions for 355 yards and four touchdowns, but
 his modest numbers were more a product of a heavy emphasis on the run (Montee
 Ball) and subpar quarterback play than anything else. While new head coach
 Gary Anderson has a defensive pedigree, he will maximize his offensive talent
 in his debut season with the Badgers and that is likely to include Pedersen.
 
 NICK O'LEARY (Florida State): The 6-3, 238-pound Seminole is a bit undersized
 at this time, but he has shown flashes of brilliant play over the last two
 seasons and has some real potential. A receiving threat who can line up
 outside and make plays down the field, O'Leary finished last season with 21
 receptions for 242 yards and three touchdowns. It marked the most TD catches
 by a tight end at FSU since 1994. With some added bulk and dedication to
 blocking, O'Leary has the chance to really make a name for himself in 2013.
 
 ARTHUR LYNCH (Georgia): Relegated to backup duty until last year, the 6-5,
 260-pound Lynch showed enough in 14 games (13 starts) to land on this list,
 finishing with 26 catches for 448 yards and three touchdowns. He has great
 size and is probably a better blocker than most on this list. The Bulldogs
 have supreme talent at the skill positions this year and Lynch certainly could
 take advantage with a seasoned quarterback, Aaron Murray, who wants to go out
 with a bang.
 
 CHRIS COYLE (Arizona State): A special teams ace his first two seasons in
 Tempe, Coyle burst on the scene as a legitimate vertical threat in Arizona
 State's passing game last year, finishing with a team-high 57 receptions
 (a school record for a tight end) for 696 yards and five touchdowns. He falls
 into the "tweener" category, with marginal size (6-3, 238) for the tight end
 position, but that didn't stop Coyle from becoming a key target in 2012.
 
 KANEAKUA FRIEL (BYU): The 6-5, 250-pound Friel took time off from football to
 do mission work in Africa, but got right back into the swing of things in
 2012, finishing with 30 receptions for 308 yards and five touchdowns as a
 junior. He provided glimpses of strong play last year and is a competent
 blocker, but will need to be a more consistent offensive threat in 2013 to
 bolster his draft stock.
 
 HONORABLE MENTION: Asa Watson (North Carolina State), Jordan Najvar (Baylor),
 Jace Amaro (Texas Tech), Ted Bosler (Indiana) and Ben Koyack (Notre Dame).
 
 
 
 
 06/06 11:26:49 ET

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