Notre Dame signed what many think was the nation's best tight end in the 2006 recruiting class in Konrad Reuland. I'm also a very big Konrad Reuland fan because he blocks just as well as he catches the football, but tight end Mike Ragone could possibly be an even better prospect than Reuland, if that is possible.
Again, I was lucky enough to watch many clips of Ragone. I got to see plenty of clips of him both as a defensive end and as a tight end. He's definitely a high DI prospect at either position.
Tight end is likely the position Ragone will play in college. Don't get me wrong, he's a good defensive end prospect as well, but you don't find many tight ends as athletic as Ragone.
Ragone's all of 6-4 and has a thick lower body, which means he'll likely add quite a bit more weight when all is said and done to his 230-pound frame.
But it's his athleticism that jumps off the film from the very first clips. He's almost always one of the bigger players on the field, and you just don't see big guys run like this.
He's very light on his feet, yet he's very physical and fights for the extra yards. He returns kicks if that gives you any indication as to how athletic he is.
Camden Catholic coaches use him all over the field. He'll line up wide. He line up at tight end. He'll line up in the slot. You'll also see him in an H-back formation often as well.
What's funny is you see him run the inside screen all the time—a play usually used with quick and explosive wide receivers. In one play in particular he took an inside screen pass about 70 yards and just out-ran everyone on the field.
Camden coaches use him on fly patterns often and you seem him running by defensive backs. There is no question that he'll be able to stretch the middle of the field and make some linebackers, safeties and defensive coordinators very nervous.
They also throw to Ragone in the flat and try to isolate him on a linebacker or safety, and he almost always makes the first guy miss. The important thing is he's got very soft hands and seems to always be in position to catch the football. Also, he adjusts his body well to the throw and can turn his body in the air—not something you see often with tight ends.
Obviously any tight end who can catch 30 passes and somehow amass 800 yards and eight touchdowns is someone who can do a lot with the football in his hands. I'm not sure he'll be as good as Jeremy Shockey, but he reminds me a lot of him on film.
I didn't see a lot of clips of Ragone blocking, but he certainly has the "want-to" that Weis would love. He keeps his feet moving and drives his man. He's also a very good down field blocker as well. If anything, he might need to stay lower when blocking off the line of scrimmage, but that's something easily fixable. But he certainly has the drive to be a great blocker.
The Cherry Hill, N.J. native is also a very good defensive end prospect. Some might even be tempted to try him on that side of the ball because he's relentless in his pursuit of the quarterback and ball carrier.
Many times teams tried to double and triple team Ragone on film, yet he still found his way to the quarterback. He's the type of defensive end you have to account for on every play, at least in high school, and is a disruptive force.
I did get to see some clips of him against the run and he showed good quickness off the ball. He also showed nice instincts to find the ball carrier in a crowd. The film quality wasn't the best so I sometimes found myself lost in recognizing which player he was on some running plays, however.
I haven't seen all or even many of the nation's top tight ends in the country this year on film, but I'm going to guess Ragone is at least No. 1A on everyone's list when the final rankings come out. You just don't see guys this big run as well as he does. I'll bet he ends up being a five-star player on Scout.com, and I'd also guess he's one of the top 50 players in the country this season—yes, he's that good.