Beau Reliford (Senior)
Ja'Baris Little (Senior)
Will Tye (RS Freshman)
Nick O'Leary (Freshman)
Florida State was left with four scholarship tight ends when injuries derailed Tank Sessions' promising career. Reliford and Little were the primary players a year ago, and both have been heavily involved the first two weeks of the season.
Reliford has NFL potential due to his size and rare athleticism. It was unfortunate that he missed time in the spring. He has to play a little catch-up early in the year. Little has been used mainly as a blocker in his career.
Both Tye and O'Leary are athletic players that can be used in the passing game. Despite being a year older than O'Leary, Tye's game is not as refined due to being a basketball player most of his high school days. O'Leary was the most dominant tight end to come out of Florida. He simply could not be covered at the high school level. Early in the season, he has shown that he is going to be a big part of the future.
It was clear that tight end was a priority for the 2012 class, and Florida State grabbed Kourtzidis relatively early in the process. The 6-4 Californian is seen as a dominant blocker with enough athletic tools to be a threat in the passing game. Kourtzidis showed a lot of potential at FSU's summer camp. He is seen as a very solid verbal.
Two other tight ends are being actively recruited: Kent Taylor and Kurt Freitag. Taylor is a similar receiver to O'Leary in that he is a a potential game changer with his athletic tools. He was once very high on the Seminoles but seems to be taking his time with the process. FSU is in Freitag's final three, but they are on the outside looking in with UF holding a slight edge at this time.
The "Future" Future
Florida State will lose two tight ends to graduation. As it stands today, Kourtzidis will join O'Leary and Tye in 2012, giving the team three tight ends. The question is if that is enough. Is four the number they WANT, or is it the number they NEED? We think it is clear that the 'Noles would love to land a second tight end in this class. The two being recruited would fit like a glove. What happens if neither chooses FSU? Do they pursue a player not currently on the radar, or do they wait till the 2013 class?
The Bottom Line
This is a classic example of what makes recruiting the lifeblood of college football. Can you enter a season with just three tight ends on the roster? Do you reach if you cannot fit that need? Do you show patience and hope that no injuries will strike the position?
One thing with the tight end spot is that more than a few players on the current roster can move there in a pinch. Teams can go big with essentially a sixth offensive linemen. Teams can add another slot reeiver to the formation.
The good news is that the three in the mix for the future are highly-touted, athletic players -- kinds that can make a difference.
All we can do is sit back and watch it play out.