RECRUITING: Pennslyvania TE favors six early

Did the Sooners make the first cut on Franklin, Pa. tight end Nate Byham's early list?


The tight end position is still one of the toughest positions to recruit, making Nate Byham a high priority for a number of colleges from 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 can bench 220 pounds and squats 340. He has never been tested in the vertical jump, but he can dunk from a standing start in basketball. Byham starts in hoops and averages 15 points and seven rebounds a game, which is good enough for second team all-state honors.

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."

What are Byham's thoughts on OU?

"I don't know much about them because I have never been out there," said Byham. "I definitely like their coaches and how they go about their business. They have a great record and I like the fact that they are putting so many players into the draft."

Byham has qualified.

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