2009 CFN All-Americans & Top Players - TEs
Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham
Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham
Posted Aug 11, 2009

CFN 2009 All-Americans and Top 25 Players - Tight Ends

Preview 2009 ... All-Americans

Tight Ends

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2009 1st Team All-American

Jermaine Gresham, Sr. Oklahoma
The 6-6, 258-pound senior would've gone in the first round in the 2008 NFL Draft and will almost certainly be the first tight end off the board next year with his phenomenal combination of size, speed, and hands. He caught 66 passes for 950 yards with a team-leading 14 touchdowns, highlighted by a nine-catch, 158-yard, two score day against Oklahoma State. Steadier than he was two years ago, he'll now be a sure-thing All-American and Bradford's No. 1 target. Blocking-wise, he's fine, but he's hardly special. His money will be made as a receiver. There was a slight incident revolving an arrest after an unpaid ticket for not wearing a safety belt, but that's cleared up.

25 Best Tight Ends
1. Jermaine Gresham, Sr. Oklahoma
2. Rob Gronkowski, Jr. Arizona
3. Dennis Pitta, Sr. BYU
4. Garrett Graham, Sr., Wisconsin
5. D.J. Williams, Jr., Arkansas
6. Aaron Hernandez, Jr., Florida
7. Cody Slate, Sr. Marshall
8. Michael Hoomanawanui, Sr. Illinois
9. Mike McNeill, Jr. Nebraska
10. Ed Dickson, Sr. Oregon
11. Jason Harmon, Sr. Florida Atlantic
12. Richard Dickson, Sr. LSU
13. Kyle Rudolph, Soph. Notre Dame
14. Nate Byham, Sr. Pitt
15. Ben Wooster, Sr., Wake Forest
16. Greg Boone, Sr., Virginia Tech
17. Josh LeDuc, Jr., Eastern Michigan
18. Dennis Morris, Sr. Louisiana Tech
19. Madaris Grant, Sr., Ball State
20. Jeffery Anderson, Jr., UAB
21. Mike Owen, Sr., Syracuse
22. Andrew George, Sr. BYU
23. LaDarius Green, Soph. UL Lafayette
24. Kyle Efaw, Soph. Boise State
25. Jeron Mastrud, Sr. Kansas State
2009 2nd Team

Rob Gronkowski, Jr. Arizona
Gronkowski is a 6-6, 265-pound force of nature, who'll have a difficult time saying no to the NFL at the end of this season. One of the most complete tight ends to hit the college ranks in years, he can block, stretch a defense, and catch anything remotely near his body. A reigning All-Pac-10 first teamer and Mackey Award candidate, he's already caught 75 passes for 924 yards and 16 touchdowns in just two years.

Honorable Mention

Ed Dickson, Sr. Oregon
Dickson begins his final year as one of the nation's premier tight ends, earning All-Pac-10 second team honors and catching 35 balls for 508 yards and three touchdowns. At 6-5 and 243 pounds, he has the long stride and the 4.6 speed to abuse most linebackers when he gets locked in man coverages.

Garrett Graham, Sr., Wisconsin
It was a bit of a shocker when Travis Beckum chose to return for his senior season, and while the top pro prospect (who was drafted by the New York Giants in the third round) was a disappointment because he was always hurt, his absence allowed Graham to shine through as a top tight end. Arguably a better pro prospect than Beckum, the 6-4, 258-pound Graham has soft hands, great route running ability, and unlike Beckum, he can block. Graham led the team with 40 catches for 540 yards and five touchdowns, but he was taken away by defenses late in the year when it became apparent that the receivers weren't going to do much on the outside.

Aaron Hernandez, Jr. Florida

The star of the Gator passing game should be Hernandez , a 6-3, 250-pound junior who's expected to play a bigger part of the offense after finishing third on the team with 34 catches for 381 yards and five scores turning into a key target down the stretch. Considered by almost everyone as the nation's top tight end recruit a few years ago, he hasn't disappointed with great hands and the speed to get past most linebackers. After a tremendous offseason, he should be the No. 1 target.

Michael Hoomanawanui, Sr. Illinois
Hoomanawanui is more than just a beefed up wide receiver, he's an NFL-caliber tight end with excellent hands, great route running ability, and good blocking skills. He finished third on the team with 25 catches for 312 yards and two touchdowns, but he has the speed and talent to do even more to make things happen deep. At 6-5 and 270 pounds, he's a huge cog in both the running and passing games.
Mike McNeill, Jr. Nebraska
The tight ends should be the strength of the Husker passing game led by McNeill, the team's leading returning receiver who caught 32 passes for 442 yards and six scores. the 6-4, 240-pounder has nice hands and has shown just enough toughness as a blocker to be more than just a beefed up wide receiver. After a strong finishing kick to last year, he should be the go-to target early on.

Dennis Pitta, Sr. BYU
Pitta followed up a 59-catch season by making 83 catches for 1,083 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 13 yards per grab. The 6-4, 248-pounder is trying to get over a torn MCL, but he should be 100% and more than fine by the start of the year. With great hands, tremendous route running ability, and the talent to be a go-to target, he should put up monster numbers as the team's top target. While he's steady, when he's on, he's unstoppable catching 21 passes for 351 yards and a score to start the season, and he made 12 grabs for 175 yards and two touchdowns against Colorado State. He'll be on the All-America short list and should be among the nation's leading receiving tight ends.

Cody Slate, Sr. Marshall

Slate has become a perennial fixture on the All-Conference USA squad. He caught 40 passes for 510 yards and eight touchdowns, an off-year by his standards, attributable to a leg injury and an inexperienced battery mate. At 6-4 and 220 pounds, he's a rare field-stretcher at the position, combining good speed with the agility of most wideouts. When he gets locked up with most linebackers, it's a mismatch that's going to favor the Herd.
D.J. Williams, Jr., Arkansas
While the Hog receiving corps should be better in the second year under head coach Bobby Petrino, the team's best receiver is Williams, a future NFL starter. A big-time talent with all the skills, the junior is a Mackey Award semifinalist who led the Hogs with 61 catches for 723 yards and three touchdowns. At 6-2 and 251 pounds, it would be nice if he was a bit taller and wasn't built like a fullback, but he's a fantastic route runner with deep speed and consistent hands. He'll be more than just a safety valve; he'll be a go-to target.