Hurricane Elite: TE

In most offenses the tight end is usually an afterthought. The last option when everyone else is covered. They usually do a lot of blocking and catch a few balls underneath. But Miami has been blessed with tight ends that can not only do the dirty work associated with the position but are also downfield threats in the passing game. Guys that not only have to be accounted for, but also game planned against.

10 - Alfredo Roberts (84-87): Roberts was a stout tight end at 6'3", 240 pounds, who was more of a sixth offensive lineman than a receiver. Along with Charles Henry, he formed one of the nation's most effective tight end duos in the country.

Roberts was an effective blocker who could be counted on to provide consistent play week after week.

9 - Randy Bethel (87-90): After coming over from the defensive side of the football, Bethel quickly became a solid tight end, excelling in both Gary Stevens' pro style offense and Dennis Erickson's spread.

Bethel was a strong and burly player who had a knack for finding the end zone. In '88 he would tally three TD's, in '89 he would find the end zone five times - including a 12-yard touchdown against Alabama in the 1990 Sugar Bowl, a 33-25 win that wrapped up Miami's third national championship.

For his career he had 44 catches for 541 yards and 10 touchdowns.

8 - Mondriel Fulcher (96-99): Fulcher was a part of Butch Davis' first recruiting class at UM, and in my opinion was one of the most underutilized players in recent memory.

Fulcher, who played a host of positions in high school, settled in as a tight end in college. Fulcher was a good athlete who could get downfield and had a pair of soft mitts. While being overshadowed by the gifted Bubba Franks - and then selflessly sacrificing his senior year by moving to fullback - Fulcher would still nab 47 catches and 656 yards for four touchdowns during his career at Miami.

At many other programs Fulcher would have been a featured performer. At Miami, he was a luxury item who was used occasionally.

7 - Rob Chudzinski (87-90): The best way to describe 'Chud' was clutch. This guy simply had a knack for making his catches count in big games.

Take for instance the 1988 season, where he would tally 30 catches for 388 yards and five scores. 23 of the scores and 295 yards, along with two touchdowns, came against the quartet of FSU, Michigan, Notre Dame and Arkansas. All highly-ranked teams that Miami battled that year on their way to a 11-1 mark and a number two ranking.

For his work in '88, Chudzinski was named A.P. All-South Independent. The next season he was a key component on a team that would win the national title. In the 1990 Sugar Bowl, he would snag a touchdown from Craig Erickson.

'Chud' was an intelligent player with sticky hands who grabbed 71 passes for 901 yards and seven touchdowns in his tenure at Miami.

6 - Coleman Bell (90-92): Bell patiently bided his time behind guys like Chudzinski and Bethel, but once they graduated after the 1990 season, Bell became a standout performer.

He would start to really come on in the second half of the 1991 season, snaring 28 passes for 386 yards, aiding in Miami's run to its fourth national championship. But he really broke out his senior year as the secondary option to the vaunted 'Ruthless Posse.' Bell provided a reliable option to Heisman Trophy winner Gino Toretta with 43 catches for 634 yards.

Bell made his catches count. In one of the more overlooked plays in Miami history it was Bell who leaped high into the air and wrestled the ball away from Florida State cornerback Errol McCorvey on 2nd and 14, for a first down. It gave the Hurricanes offense new life and eventually UM would drive down the field for the game-winning touchdown.

Without that effort, Miami most likely has to punt, and there is no 'Wide Right I.'

5 - Willie Smith (84-85): Perhaps it was the way he left this program, but for some reason, Smith is often overlooked and forgotten about when talk turns to Miami's tradition of standout tight ends. But you simply can't leave this guy out of the discussion.

Yeah, he wasn't going to do much blocking and in all reality he was a tight end masquerading as a wideout, but Smith was a favored target of Bernie Kosar and Vinny Testaverde.

But it was in 1984 that Smith really shone. His 66 catches for 852 yards is the most prolific season ever for a tight end at Miami. His 12 catches against Maryland remains a single-game record for the program. His 114 catches is second all-time for a tight end and tied for fifth overall with Wesley Carroll.

In both '84 and '85, Smith would be named to various All-American teams.

4 - Glenn Dennison (81-83): If you had to point to a guy that began the strong run at this spot, it would have to be Dennison. Dennison was a strong and rugged player who was physical enough to work inside the hash marks but also athletic enough to turn the ball upfield.

In Miami's magical season of 1983, while the dynamic duo of Eddie Brown and Stanley Shakespeare got most of the plaudits, it was Dennison that provided a reliable security blanket for Bernie Kosar with a team-leading 54 catches for 594 yards. At the time, his 54 grabs was a school mark. For his career, he would catch 108 passes.

Dennison would end his Miami career with a flourish, catching two touchdown grabs against Nebraska in the 1984 Orange Bowl. His two scores would help Miami build an early 17-0 lead. Eventually the Canes would hold on for a 31-30 win and a dynasty was born.

3 - Jeremy Shockey (00-01): Seriously, who knew this late JC transfer - who arrived in Miami in the summer of 2000 - would play such a big role for the Canes in his only two seasons at 'the U?' This big Okie came out of nowhere, it seemed. In fact, he's not even listed in the 2000 media guide.

But he quickly made an impact that season. It was his 13-yard hookup with Ken Dorsey that provided the winning points in Miami's thrilling 27-24 win over the 'Noles - breaking a five game losing skid versus FSU.

Although he was technically backing up Ivan Mercer, in all reality he was the starter and he quickly became one of Ken Dorsey's favorite receivers. He capped off his first year at Miami with a touchdown grab against the Gators in the 2001 Sugar Bowl.

The exuberant and fiery Shockey would flourish the next season with 45 catches and a final touchdown in the 2002 Rose Bowl against Nebraska, a 37-14 win that capped off Miami's fifth championship.

Shockey had the size of a tight end, but the moves and route-running ability of a wideout. And once the ball hit his hands, it was caught.

2 - Bubba Franks (97-99): It was Daniel 'Bubba' Franks' emergence in the late 90's that signaled to the rest of the country that the Canes and Butch Davis were beginning to reload in Coral Gables.

There may have been better receiving tight ends that came through this program and there might have been guys that could block as well as Franks, but make no mistake about it, there was no better combination of the two skills than this big fella out of Big Springs, Texas.

Built like a power forward at 6'6", 245 pounds, Franks could seal the corner effectively in the running game, and he possessed soft hands and a big frame that allowed him to catch 77 passes for 1,038 yards with 12 touchdowns throughout his three seasons at UM.

In '99, he would break out with 45 catches, for 565 yards and five touchdowns. He was universally accepted as the nation's best tight end and was named All-American by The Football News and The Sporting News.

1 - Kellen Winslow (01-03): Yeah, this 'soldier' may have been a polarizing and controversial figure during his run at Miami, but there's no denying this guy's talent. He's so good, he may in fact be the best tight end we've seen in the orange-and-green, and also in his own family.

Winslow was the recipient of the 2003 Mackey Award as the nation's premiere tight end, but he was actually more productive in his first season as a starter as a true soph in 2002 with 57 catches for 726 yards and eight scores. Where he really shone was in his valiant performance in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl, where he jump-started Miami's offense with 11 catches for 122 yards and a touchdown.

'The Chosen One' is the prototype at his position, he has the size (6'5", 250 pounds), speed and temperament that coaches look for. His 4th-and-18 clutch grab against West Virginia basically salvaged the '03 campaign for Miami. The next week his seven grabs for 106 yards against FSU spearheaded the Canes' fourth straight win over the 'Noles. It was all part of a run of 22 games where he caught at least two balls each.

By the time he declared for the NFL he was the all-time leader in receptions by a tight end at Miami and a consensus first team All-American.

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