Jerell Adams, South Carolina (6-5, 244): Adams caught 66 passes for 977 yards (14.8 average) and three touchdowns during his career, including 28 grabs for 421 yards (15.0 average) and three touchdowns as a senior. At Scott’s Branch High School in Summerton, S.C., Adams played quarterback, tight end, defensive end and punter. He also averaged 19 points and 13 rebounds as a junior. “I always wanted to play basketball,” Adams said. “Football was just something I did. I wanted to be an NBA All-Star.”
Stephen Anderson, Cal (6-3, 220): Anderson, who started his career as a walk-on, finished with 101 receptions for 1,260 yards (12.5 average), with his best season coming as a junior in 2014, when he set career highs in catches (46), yards (661) and touchdowns (five). He added 41 receptions for 474 yards (11.6 average) as a senior. At just about every game over the past 13 years, he’s heard from his mom, Charlene. "It's a little bit of bird calling and yodeling and me yelling at the top of my lungs,” she said. He’s an intern at Children’s Hospital in Oakland.
Ben Braunecker, Harvard (6-3, 242): Braunecker led Harvard with 48 receptions for 850 yards (17.7 average). and eight touchdowns during a breakout senior season in which he was named a first-team All-American at the FCS level. Most of that production came late in the year, with at least six receptions in five of his final six games. His nickname is “Bronk” — which rhymes with “Gronk,” aka Rob Gronkowski. “It was given to me here when I started to make some plays on the scout team freshmen year because we look alike,” he said. “Athletically, it would be nice if we were alike. Off the field, I'm glad we aren't alike.”
Thomas Duarte, UCLA (6-2, 225): Underclassman. Duarte started four times as a true freshman and seven times as a sophomore before getting the opening call in 11 of 13 games in 2015. In his final season, he finished second on the team with 53 receptions for 872 yards to earn second-team all-conference honors. His 16.5 yards per catch ranked fourth in the conference and his 10 touchdowns were good for fourth in school history. He was explosive in 2014, as well, with 28 catches for 540 yards and four touchdowns, with his 19.3 average leading the conference. He is the son of a Mexican-American father and a Japanese-American mother. Having good hands came out of necessity — whether it was the football, remote or piece of fruit. "I always remember catching balls. My dad and uncles would always play catch with me. There was something about running and catching balls that fascinated me."
David Grinnage, North Carolina State (6-5, 265). Underclassman. Grinnage ranked third on the team with 25 receptions for 290 yards (11.6 average) and scored three touchdowns. In three seasons, he caught 67 passes for 798 yards (11.9 average) and nine scores. It took Grinnage time to adapt after being a wideout or slot receiver in Newark, Del. “Last year he was a receiver, really, playing tight end and struggled in the run game," coach Dave Doeren said of Grinnage late in the 2014 season. "He's worked really hard to get better there. He still has a lot of work to do. But I think he's become a more complete player.''
Temarrick Hemingway, South Carolina State (6-5, 245): Hemingway caught 38 passes for 418 yards and one touchdown as a senior to earn first-team all-conference and to the SBN Black College All-America team. Before the season, he was given the Walter Payton Achievement Award, which recognizes exemplary student-athletes, shining a light on character and embodiment of team spirit. The award was presented by Walter Payton's son, Jarrett Payton. This past summer, the native of Loris, S.C., was chosen to intern at Charleston International Airport.
Hunter Henry, Arkansas (6-5, 253): Underclassman. Henry enters the draft as the most accomplished tight end on the board. He was a consensus first-team All-American and the winner of the John Mackey Award, which goes to the nation’s top tight end. He caught 51 passes for 739 yards and three touchdowns. Easily the most memorable of those catches was this one that helped beat Ole Miss in November. His big season came on the heels of 37 receptions for 513 yards in 2014 and 28 receptions for 409 yards and four touchdowns in 2013. Henry is one of 13 tight ends in SEC history with 100-plus catches. His path to becoming an NFL tight end started when he was a freshman in high school. During the fall, he played offensive tackle. His movement on the basketball court, however, caught his coach’s attention. He was moved to receiver before finding a home at tight end. His father, Mark Henry, played on the offensive line for Arkansas. He had a chance to play in the NFL but decided to become a minister, instead.
Tyler Higbee, Western Kentucky (6-5, 233): Despite missing five games due to a knee injury, Higbee caught 38 passes for 563 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior for the pass-happy Hilltoppers. Before the injury, he led all FBS tight ends in receptions, yards and touchdowns. He opened his career behind the Packers’ Mitchell Henry, catching a total of 28 passes with five touchdowns in 2013 and 2014. He’s the latest in a decent line of tight ends produced by the school.
ALSO IN THIS SERIES
Offensive tackles, Part 1
Offensive tackles, Part 2
Offensive guards, Part 1 (FREE)
Offensive guards, Part 2 (FREE)
Tight ends, Part 1 (FREE)
Tight ends, Part 2 (FREE)
Wide receivers, Part 1 (FREE)
Wide receivers, Part 2
Wide receivers, Part 3
Wide receivers, Part 4 (FREE)
Running backs, Part 1 (FREE)
Running backs, Part 2
Running backs, Part 3
Quarterbacks, Part 1 (FREE)
Quarterbacks, Part 2 (FREE)
Quarterbacks, Part 3 (FREE)
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.