Greatness is defined in so many different ways. Statistical production, individual awards, team success, longevity, supporting cast, level of competition, raw talent and athletic ability all factor heavily in determining overall greatness. Sometimes, you simply know greatness when you see it.
So all factors were considered when trying to determine who the greatest tight ends of the BCS era have been. Here are the Top 30 tight ends since the BCS was implemented in 1998:
With Everett Golson gone, it's up to Tommy Rees to lead the Notre Dame offense.
After throwing for 2,405 yards and 12 touchdowns as a redshirt freshman last season, Everett Golson was poised to emerge as one of Notre Dame’s top players for 2013. The Fighting Irish expected their defense to rank among the best nationally once again, but the offense was supposed to shoulder more of the burden this fall.
HEAD COACH: Urban Meyer, 12-0 (1 year) |
OFF. COORDINATOR: Tom Herman, Ed Warinner |
DEF. COORDINATOR: Luke Fickell, Everett Withers
Urban Meyer took over a program coming off of a 6–7 record — its first losing season since 1988 — and saddled by NCAA sanctions. But he found a winning formula by allowing Braxton Miller to throw the ball downfield enough to keep defenses honest and then carry the day with his feet. Miller scooted for more than 1,200 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns, and OSU needed most of them with the defense struggling against spread teams.
This year, Miller should be able to cede more of the running onus to a deep and talented backfield led by senior Carlos Hyde, who has designs on becoming the first running back to reach the 1,000-yard plateau under Meyer. Hyde will get a lot of push from Rod Smith, Bri’onte Dunn, Warren Ball and even incoming freshman Ezekiel Elliott.
Senior Jordan Hall is back from injury to fulfill the hybrid duties as a back who can split out and hurt defenses as a receiver. Corey “Philly” Brown and Devin Smith will lead a corps of wideouts who are vastly improved in all areas. Jake Stoneburner is out of eligibility, but the tight end spot is just fine with the tandem of Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett in tow.
And perhaps most important, the offensive line is as sturdy as it’s been in years with four starters returning and hulking Taylor Decker poised to take over at right tackle.
Here’s where the “if” game begins for the Buckeyes.
Ryan Shazier is coming off of a 115-tackle season and is ready to hunt down ball-carriers once again. The two players expected to line up with him as starting linebackers, middle man Curtis Grant and strong-sider Joshua Perry, are physical specimens with playmaking ability.
The secondary is led by superstar corner Bradley Roby and a pair of returning starters at safety in seniors Christian Bryant and C.J. Barnett. The coaches also are enthused with the elevation of Corey “Pitt” Brown and redshirt freshman Tyvis Powell, either of whom can play nickel or safety. Doran Grant should be solid at the other corner spot.
However, Curtis Grant and Perry are far from proven, and the front line is comprised of a pool of youngsters who won’t have the likes of John Simon and Johnathan Hankins around anymore to show them the ropes. Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington are going to have to approach their vast potential quickly, and defensive breakdowns in the back seven have to cease if this team is to take down the Big Ten.
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Braxton Miller, QB – One of the most dangerous players in college football, Miller could rewrite the school record book.
Bradley Roby, CB – A big-play performer who scored via a blocked punt, fumble recovery and interception return last season.
Ryan Shazier, LB – Ohio State needs its star backer to stay healthy and hold together a developing front seven.
Drew Basil is back at placekicker after a somewhat uneventful 2012 season. With the coaches seeking big plays, he was called upon to attempt just 11 field goals. Still, he’ll stay busy as he also boots kickoffs and has been handed the added chore of punter. The Buckeyes added competition for Basil at punter in early June, as Cameron Johnston - an Australian Rules Football player - will join the team in time for 2013. Cover teams should be solid with so many able bodies, and the return game could be impactful with Smith, Hall and Philly Brown finding creases.
The Buckeyes suddenly have a potent offense with experience up front, a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback and weapons that can populate open areas of the field. The defense, however, requires some development up front and steadier tackling on the back end.
Fortunately for OSU, four of the first five games are at home, and the pieces should be in place by the time the team heads into a crucial November that includes road trips to three Big Ten schools.
Ohio State looks formidable on paper, and the hunger to return to a high-profile bowl is evident, but the coaches are concerned that too much leadership has walked out the door. Still, don’t be surprised if this team is playing for a national title.
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HEAD COACH: Nick Saban, 68-13 (6 years) |
OFF. COORDINATOR: Doug Nussmeier |
DEF. COORDINATOR: Kirby Smart
The AJ McCarron who quarterbacked Alabama to a second consecutive national championship in 2012 played with better restraint and an enhanced trust to do more in a Crimson Tide offense that aired it out with more frequency and less predictability. He heads an Alabama attack that is loaded with playmakers but features a bit of uncertainty on the offensive line.
At running back, it all starts with sophomore T.J. Yeldon, who has shown a veteran’s savvy when surveying the field and a natural ability to catch passes out of the backfield. Finding the No. 2 and 3 behind him could be an August project.
The Crimson Tide need to replace three starters on the offensive line. Sophomore Ryan Kelly will likely take command at center, but the competition at left guard and right tackle is far from over. Junior Arie Kouandjio, the older brother of starting left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio, is among the frontrunners at left guard. Junior Austin Shepherd shares a similar distinction in the battle to replace D.J. Fluker and line up next to returning right guard Anthony Steen.
Amari Cooper, who broke most of Julio Jones’ freshman records last season, leads a receiving corps that returns every significant player from 2012 to go along with three players — Kenny Bell, DeAndrew White and Chris Black — returning from significant injuries.
The losses of nose guard Jesse Williams and defensive ends Damion Square and Quinton Dial might seem like a big-time blow, but there shouldn’t be much of a drop-off if players such as Jeoffrey Pagan, Brandon Ivory and LaMichael Fanning do what their predecessors did and step up their game now that their time has arrived. Senior Ed Stinson is the “old man” of a group that will hope to establish a more consistent pass rush in 2013.
C.J. Mosley passed on the NFL and returns to lead a linebacking corps that loses just one significant contributor (Nico Johnson) from 2012. Replacing Johnson might just mean more snaps for Mosley, who earned team MVP honors in 2012 despite starting just 10 games. Junior Adrian Hubbard is the biggest threat to bring down the quarterback.
Alabama’s secondary will be a mix of reliable veterans and promising youngsters. Cornerback Deion Belue and safeties Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Vinnie Sunseri provide the veteran experience, while sophomores Geno Smith and Landon Collins look to fill the roles vacated by cornerback Dee Milliner and safety Robert Lester.
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AJ McCarron, QB – Incredibly efficient, he didn’t throw his first interception of 2012 until the 10th game of the season; threw for 2,933 yards and 30 TDs.
C.J. Mosley, LB – A finalist for the Butkus Award in 2012, he led Alabama with 107 tackles — 48 more than anyone else on the team.
T.J. Yeldon, RB – Split carries almost evenly with Eddie Lacy as a freshman en route to 1,239 yards of offense and a combined 13 touchdowns.
Cyrus Kouandjio, LT – Already drawing the interest of NFL scouts, he started all 14 games as a sophomore and is poised to do the same on a rebuilt offensive line.
Adrian Hubbard, LB – Gave the NFL some serious thought after leading the Crimson Tide with 11 tackles for a loss and seven sacks.
It remains to be seen whether Alabama will continue to go with a two-man kicking tandem now that Jeremy Shelley is gone. Cade Foster has handled kickoffs and long field goal attempts for the past few years, and he showed great improvement in both during his junior season. Redshirt freshman Adam Griffith came to Alabama in 2012 as one of the nation’s top-rated kickers, but he’s yet to attempt a meaningful kick. Punter Cody Mandell proved to be one of the SEC’s most reliable legs in 2012.
As historic and rare as it would be, the Crimson Tide will certainly be among the favorites to win it all in 2013 and deliver its fourth BCS National Championship in five years. Though questions remain on the offensive line, Alabama should have enough firepower at the skill positions to expect a more prolific attack in 2013. The defense, which features a few new faces sprinkled throughout the unit, should still be one of the best in the nation. Ultimately, if the Crimson Tide can get past Texas A&M on Sept. 14, the schedule sets up to be smooth sailing all the way to the SEC Championship Game and, just maybe, the BCS title game.
Is the schedule Alabama's biggest obstacle to a national title in 2013?
With college football’s postseason set to change after the 2013 season, Alabama could finish the BCS era as the only team to win three consecutive national titles. The Crimson Tide has claimed back-to-back championships thanks to dominating wins over LSU and Notre Dame.
Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson each score two touchdowns, and Alabama fends off a late Texas rally to win the BCS national title with a 37-21 triumph. The Tide knocked Longhorns QB Colt McCoy out of the game in the first quarter and stifled the high-powered UT attack from there.
Van Tiffin nails a 52-yard field goal as time expires to give Alabama a 25-23 win over Auburn in the Iron Bowl. Tiffin had missed a 52-yarder earlier in the game but capped a wild drive that included a huge fourth-down conversion.
Dixie Howell runs for 111 yards and throws for 160 (9-of-13 passing) and two touchdowns to legendary receiver Don Hutson, giving Alabama a 29-13 win over Stanford and a national crown. Coach Frank Thomas brought his Dixie Aerial Circus to Pasadena and proved to the nation how good Southern football could be.
George Teague scores on a 31-yard interception return, and ‘Bama rushes for 267 yards to smack heavily-favored Miami, 34-13, in the Sugar Bowl to win the national championship. Prior to the game, Miami receiver Lamar Thomas had trash-talked about how SEC football was overrated.
Barry Krauss stuffs Penn State’s Mike Guman on fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line to preserve Alabama’s 14-7 lead in the Sugar Bowl. Krauss’ play capped a dramatic goal-line stand. The Tide holds its advantage and wins the national title.