Texas Tech University Red Raiders
San Antonio, Texas
Douglas MacArthur High School
During the 2013 season, the Big 12 Conference starting cornerbacks' average height was 5:10.14 and the average weight was 184 pounds. Picture those cornerbacks lining up for the first play of the game, only to see a 6:05, 265 receiver lined wide and your coverage assignment for the next 60 minutes – a long afternoon is indeed on that schedule.
Luckily for those that "survived" and will be returning to their respective schools for the 2014 season, they will no longer have to deal with that issue – Jace Amaro "has left the building" and is heading to the National Football League. The junior might have been listed on the depth chart as a tight end, but was usually aligned wide or in motion, rarely coming off the line of scrimmage line the classic tight end.
That ability to create mismatches vs. the smaller man coverage defenders, along with 34-inch arms, 81 1/2-inch wingspan and a 33-inch vertical on a 6:05 frame posed lots of problems for his opponents in 2013. On the way to becoming the first tight end in Big 12 Conference history to catch one hundred passes (106) in a season, Amaro came up with at least eight grabs in nine consecutive games last season, including a stretch of at least nine receptions in five-straight contests.
Amaro was highly productive with those receptions, recording 69 first downs, converting 27 third-down tosses while reaching the end zone seven times. He had crucial catches on 19 other touchdown drives and on four other possessions that ended with field goals. He gained at least 10 yards on 61 of those snatches, including 16 for twenty yards or longer, pulling in 15 of those tosses inside the red zone, including a trio on goal-line stands.
Amaro would end his junior campaign in record-breaking fashion vs. Arizona State in the in the Holiday Bowl, recording his sixth 100-yard receiving performance for the 2013 campaign. That would give him 1,352 yards for the year, breaking the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision season-record for tight ends that was previously held by James Casey of Rice (1,329 in 2008). He fell short of breaking Casey's NCAA annual mark for receptions by a tight end (Casey had 111 in 2008).
One of the highest rated prospects to ever enroll at Texas Tech, Amaro starred at Douglas MacArthur High School, Scout.com accorded him four-star status and rated him the fifth-best tight end in the country.
Even as a 240-pound receiver, Amaro showed great run-after-the-catch ability. He was limited to 429 yards and two touchdowns during an injury-shortened junior year, but as a senior, he hauled in 56 passes for 887 yards (15.84 ypc) and 11 touchdowns in 2010. He earned USA Today, Super Prep and Prep Star first-team All-American honors and was a member of Dave Campbell's Top 300. He added Super Prep Texas 120, All-State, All-Area and All-District 26-5A first-team accolades during his final prep season. Before enrolling at Texas Tech, he helped the basketball team to a state quarterfinals appearance. Amaro's final decision on what college to attend came down to Texas Tech, Baylor,
Duke, Rice and Texas A&M, but on January 21st, 2011, he signed his national letter-of-intent to join the Red Raiders program. He was one of six freshmen to catch a pass while playing in 12 games as a reserve tight end in 2011, but managed just seven grabs for 57 yards, turning two of those receptions into touchdowns.
In 2012, Amaro was having a fine campaign, starting five of Tech's first seven contests. He delivered 409 yards with four touchdowns on 25 receptions at midseason. In the sixth game, vs. West Virginia, he gained 156 yards with a touchdown on five catches, but after the game, he was rushed to the hospital. Tests revealed that he had suffered a grade-three lacerated spleen and internal bleeding that required six-and-a-half units of blood He would miss the final six games of the regular season, as a result. He returned to play in the Meineke Car Care Bowl vs. Minnesota, but was ejected after throwing a punch at a defender.
Fully recovered, Amaro went on to have a sensational junior season in 2013. In addition to etching his name into the NCAA record book, he set four school season records and two Big 12 Conference records for tight ends. He was named College Football Performance Awards National Tight End of the Year and was a finalist for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award (given annually to the "top offensive player in Division I football who also exhibits the enduring characteristics that define Earl Campbell: integrity, performance, teamwork, sportsmanship, drive, community and tenacity).
Additionally, Amaro received a very rare honor, as he became the first player to ever be named a semi-finalist for both the John Mackey Award (nation's top tight end) and Fred Biletnikoff Award (nation's top receiver). Right after the Holiday Bowl, Amaro announced that he was leaving school and applied for early entry to the 2014 NFL Draft.
Amaro started 15 games at Texas Tech, appearing in 32 contests…Caught 138 passes for 1,818 yards (13.17 ypc) and 13 touchdowns, adding four solo tackles.