Preview 2010 - MAC Tight End Rankings
Eastern Michigan TE Ben Thayer
Eastern Michigan TE Ben Thayer
Posted May 23, 2010

Preview 2010 - Ranking the Top MAC Tight Ends of 2010

Preview 2010 - MAC

Top Tight Ends

- MAC Skill Position Rankings
Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Receivers | Tight Ends | Kickers  

1. Madaris Grant, Sr. Ball State
(Note: This is assuming he's granted a sixth year of eligibility.) He was expected to step into the big shoes of Darius Hill and become one of the MAC's top tight ends after catching 26 passes for 285 yards in 2008 as the No. 2 option, but he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the opener. The 6-5, 235-pounder is more like a big wide receiver than a bruising tight end, and if he's right, he'll be a dangerous midrange option.

2. Ben Thayer, Sr. Eastern Michigan

The team's best receiving option will likely be Thayer, a 6-4, 240-pound senior who was expected to be used just as a blocker going into last season but ended up finishing second on the team with 29 catches for 261 yards and two touchdowns. Very smart with nice hands and good route-running ability, he'll be the safety valve early on until more of a rapport is developed with the starting quarterback and the wideouts.

3. Danny Noble, Jr. Toledo
Toledo has always done a good job of involving the tight end, and now it has to hope that Noble can do more. A good runner who's more like a big wide receiver than a true tight end, the 6-5, 233-pounder finished third on the team with 26 catches for 257 yards and a touchdown. Originally recruited to play tight end, he was going to be moved over to wide receiver and ended up serving as a tight end in name only. He's not a great blocker, but he has great hands.

4. David Blackburn, Jr. Central Michigan
The veteran Blackburn will finally get some passes thrown his way. The 6-3, 233-pound junior caught 12 passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns after working mostly on special teams and seeing time as a blocker, and now he could explode. A great recruit for the program, he got offers from Penn State, Michigan, and Michigan State, and he should be one of the team's biggest beneficiaries from the coaching change.

5. Kendrick Bruton, Jr. Miami Univ.
Rarely used over the first two seasons, Bruton should be a breakout player as the tight end plays a more prominent role. At 6-4 and 264 pounds he's more of a blocker, and he only caught two passes 12 yards over the last two seasons, but he can catch and he can be utilized more on short range plays.

6. Jonathan Simpson, Sr. Kent State
The 6-5, 237-pound Simpson grew into the starting tight end job finishing with seven catches for 66 yards and two touchdowns. He has decent size, nice receiving skills, and he's a decent blocker. He'll be a part of a rotation and he could grow into a field stretcher.

7. Alex Bayer, Soph. Bowling Green
An afterthought last year, Bayer appears to be ready to become the team's top receiving tight end. A thin 6-4 and 228 pounds, he's a good athlete who'll function more like a big wide receiver than a blocker. Just good enough this offseason to prove he could be a dangerous part of the offense.

8. Jordan Thompson, Soph. Ohio
The Bobcats will use a steady rotation of tight ends with no one likely to be the absolute No. 1 guy, but Thompson might be the best of the lot. At 6-4 and 245 pounds he has nice size and excellent athleticism to go along with decent deep speed. He only caught seven passes last season for 109 yards, but he became a bigger factor as the season went on and he should be a dangerous weapon down the middle.

9. Blake Hammond, Soph. Western Michigan
Hammond saw a little bit of starting time and made the most of his short range chances catching 13 passes for 80 yards and two scores. While not big at 6-4 and 239 pounds, he's a great weight lifter and his is strong for his size. The former high school quarterback is a smart, quick target with tremendous upside with a bigger role.

10. Matt Balasavage, Jr. Temple
Balasavage is a good blocker with decent experience. He started in five games, but he only caught one pass for one yard. The 6-4, 256 pounder has good athleticism and has the skills to end up finding a role in the passing game. However, he's used more for the ground game and he needs the coaching staff to carve out a role for him.