The tight end position is still one of the toughest positions to recruit, which makes Nate Byham a high priority for a number of schools all over the country.
Byham has been a starter since his freshman season, but last season was his first as a tight end. The two years before that, Byham started at linebacker.
"I love playing tight end and I am going to be a tight end in college," said Byham. "I feel that I am a natural tight end and I think I am a better tight end that a linebacker. It just feels more natural for me to play tight end."
Last season Byham caught 45 passes for 883 yards and nine touchdowns. On defense, Byham still started at linebacker and finished last season with 91 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, nine sacks, three interceptions and four fumble recoveries.
"We run a balanced offense, but we hurry it up," said Byham. "We go on the quick on every snap so we got a lot of plays in a game, which gives me more opportunities in the passing game."
Byham has enjoyed the recruiting process thus far and he is staying wide open at this point.
"I have been offered by 15 schools, I think," said Byham. "I am trying to keep things wide open at this point. I am trying to gather as much information as I can on each school.
"USC, Miami, Iowa, Pitt, Tennessee and Oklahoma are probably my top six right now. Like I said, I am still pretty wide open."
Byham has qualified.
This summer, Byham will most likely visit several teams unofficially.
"I want to go visit Miami and Iowa," he said. "I might swing by Ohio State on the way back. I will visit USC in September for an official visit."
What factors will contribute in a decision for college?
"The biggest factors will be the campus and education," he said. "All the schools that I'm considering are great football teams. Good coaching will also be a factor."
As a junior, the Pennsylvania tight end caught an impressive 45 passes for 883 yards and nine touchdowns.
"People compare me to Jeremy Shockey," he said. "I have quickness and I consider my self to have football smarts."
Byham is an excellent student who carries a B+ average.
Scouting Report: Byham's speed and athleticism causes match-up problems for opponents, he plays physical like a tight end, but has the speed and agility of a big wide receiver. Possesses outstanding ball skills, and uses his body well, to shield defenders away from him when making a catch. Has outstanding vertical ability to climb the ladder and get up for high passes. He's very tough and physical blocker at the point of attack.
Byham is Iowa's top tight end target, something we told you about several weeks ago. The Hawkeyes are definitely in the market for another tight end in this recruiting class, even though they landed the nation's top player at that position in the most recent recruiting class (Tony Moeaki). As you know, Iowa likes to use two tight end sets, as well as featuring athletic pass catchers at the position. It's hard to argue with Byham's wanting to visit Iowa and Miami, two schools that have produced three of the best professional tight end prospects in recent years in Jeremy Shockey, Dallas Clark and Kellen Winslow, Jr.