FNL Preview: Tight Ends

It is clear to see that Urban Meyer and company have put a great emphasis on the bigger, faster, athletic tight ends and that is exactly what Florida has with Cornelius Ingram and next year with Aaron Hernandez. With limited scholarships in 2008, the Gators will likely sign only one tight end, and here's who should be at Friday Night Lights.

One of the best is 6-4, 243-pound Brandon Moore. Moore was offered the first week of April from the Gators and had 25 catches for 350 yards and five touchdowns last season. The Trotwood (Ohio) Madison High School star has given his commitment to the Michigan Wolverines.

Nathan Nord from Boca Raton (Fla.) West Boca Raton High School is one of the most athletic tight end prospects you will find in the southeast. Nord, who is 6-6, 220-pounds runs great routes and catches everything thrown his way. He was set to be a Gator, but the staff wanted to wait until they saw him in game action next season before offering. Nord decided he would end up a Louisville Cardinal instead.

The staff as of now will have two tight end prospects in for Friday Night Lights, Tyler Edwards and Nick Plato. Edwards is from Monroe (La.) Ouachita Parish High School and is 6-4, 238-pounds. The staff and Gainesville blew him away back in mid-June. The Gators have made his top-four along with LSU, Alabama and Auburn. Edwards finished his junior season with more than 20 catches and close to 400 yards with four touchdowns.I think it comes down to LSU and Florida in the end.

Nick Plato is from Edwardsville (Ill.) and is a little bit bigger than Edwards coming in at 6-5 and 235-pounds. He has great physical skills. Edwardsville High School is a running type of an offense that highlighted Minnesota-signee E.J. Jones. Plato did average more than 25 yards per catch. In addition to Florida, he is looking at Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Kansas State, Notre Dame and Oklahoma State.

I believe the staff has Blake Ayles rated as the No. 1 tight end in the nation but lists a top-five of Wisconsin, Arizona State, Southern Cal, Ohio State and Cal. If he was to name a top six, it looks like the Miami Hurricanes might sneak in as well. Ayles is from Orange (Ca.) Lutheran High School and has more than 20 offers. He is 6-4 and 235-pounds.

The only other real possibility at the tight end position might have been Chase Clement. The Thibodaux (La.) E.D. White Catholic High School star is a 6-5, 240-pound tight end/defensive end. He has great athleticism, size and strength. At this point, it looks like Clement will end up on the defensive side of the ball. Alabama, Florida, Louisiana Tech, Louisville, LSU, Mississippi and Tulane are all in the mix.

My Take: At this point, I would not be surprised if the Gators did not sign a tight end in the class of 2008. Many are thinking that Tyler Edwards is LSU bound and pulling a kid all the way from Illinois will be a tough sell. Signing the No. 1 tight end in the country last year certainly is not helping the situation either. It is a real possibility that the Gators walk away from this year's class without a tight end, quarterback and only two linebackers. More on the linebackers later.


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