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2024 Tight End Unit Rankings: Georgia loses Brock Bowers and still holds No. 1 spot among Top 10

On3 imageby:Jesse Simonton05/06/24


With spring practice in the books and the second transfer portal window closed, it’s time to kickstart our summer series evaluating 2024 positional unit rankings. 

I debuted the series with a look at the 10 best quarterback rooms, and then ranked Top 10 running back units in 2024

Today, I take a crack at the best 10 tight end units this fall. Again, these rankings are subjective and by no meaning definitive. Also, I don’t hate your team if they didn’t make today’s Top 10.

It’s difficult to keep track of all the roster upheavals with so many transfers, but I did my best. With apologies to the likes of Michigan State’s Jack Velling and TCU’s Drake Dabney, two of the most impact transfer tight ends this cycle, their teams just missed the cut because of the lack of known quantities behind them. Same for Alabama transfer Amari Niblack, now at Texas.

With that, the Top 10 tight end units in 2024:

Oscar Delp Georgia
Georgia Bulldogs tight end Oscar Delp (4) is tackled by Florida Gators safety Bryce Thornton (18) during the second half at Everbank Stadium in Jacksonville, FL on Saturday, October 28, 2023. [Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun]

1. Georgia 

The Bulldogs lost a generational talent in Brock Bowers, yet they still tout the top tight end room nationally in 2024. Junior Oscar Delp is primed for a now-it’s-my-turn-season, while UGA also brought in former Stanford standout Ben Yurosek, who’s been injured much of the past two seasons but was one of the best tight ends in the nation in 2021.

Waiting in the wings are sophomore Lawson Luckie, who figures to see snaps in Georgia’s heavy 12-personnel packages, and 5-star freshman Jaden Reddell.

2. Michigan 

Colston Loveland is in the mix for the No. 1 tight end in the country this fall, as the junior is the lone returning starter from Michigan’s 2023 national championship offense. Loveland ranked No. 2 on the Wolverines in yards (649), per catch average (14.4) and touchdowns (four) and is likely to see those numbers spike this fall. 

Behind Loveland, 6-6 sophomore Marlin Klein flashed in the spring game and should contribute, while senior Max Bredeson isn’t much of a pass-catching threat but is a valuable Y-TE blocker. The Wolverines also inked two four-star freshmen in the 2024 class, with Hogan Hansen making plays as an early enrollee this spring. 

3. North Carolina 

The Tar Heels return six of their top seven pass catchers in 2024, including one of the top tight ends in the ACC in Bryson Nesbit. As a junior, the versatile slot-tight end had 585 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 14.3 yards per catch. Nesbit finished No. 3 nationally among all tight ends with 32 of his 41 catches going for at least 15 yards.

UNC also bought in Texas A&M transfer tight end Jake Johnson, who followed with his brother Max Johnson to Chapel Hill. Johnson still has multiple seasons of eligibility remaining and hauled in 24 passes and four scores in 2023.

4. Syracuse 

The Orange have assembled one of the more uniquely talented tight end rooms in 2024. Oronde Gadsden II is back after getting bit by the injury bug last season (just two games played). In 2022, Gadsden — a 6-6, 220-pound hybrid slot-tight end — had 61 catches and six scores at 15.9 per reception. Syracuse also returns former Michigan transfer quarterback turned tight end Dan Villari, who did a little bit of everything for a beat-up Orange offense last year. 

‘Thunder Dan’ had 20 catches and three scores, but Villari also served as a pounding Wildcat quarterback late in the season (55 carries for 326 yards and two scores). He made some huge plays — as a runner and passer — to help Syracuse upset Pitt and Wake Forest. The Orange inked 4-star freshman Jamie Tremble in the 2024 class, and he will vie for the No. 3 spot this fall.

5. Utah 

Brent Kuithe is back after missing most of the last two seasons with a major knee injury, but when right, the sixth-year senior was among the most impact tight ends in the nation (multiple 600-yard, six touchdown seasons). Kuthie is reportedly close to 100% and has a well-documented chemistry with Utes quarterback Cam Rising, who also is returning to action after being out all last year. 

The Utes have some quality options aside from Kuthie, too, as Auburn transfer Landen King got extensive playing time in 2023 (14 catches and three touchdowns) and they also brought in UCLA transfer Carsen Ryan, who had 13 catches and three scores last year. 

6. Notre Dame

Mitchell Evans has battled injuries throughout his career at Notre Dame, but when healthy, the 6-5, 250-pound tight end is among the best at his position. In just eight games in 2023, Evans led the Irish with 29 receptions before tearing his ACL. He’s expected to be fully available come fall camp and should serve as a go-to target for transfer quarterback Riley Leonard

Waiting in the wings are Cooper Flanagan and Eli Raridon, as backup Holden Staes (15 catches, four touchdowns) transferred to Tennessee this offseason.

7. Texas Tech 

The Red Raiders have a solid 1-2 punch at tight end with Mason Tharp (if he can stay healthy) and Arizona State transfer Jalin Conyers. The pairing works stylistically, too, as Tharp is a 6-9, 270-pound red zone threat (five touchdowns) while Conyers is an every-down playmaker and a tackle-breaking machine (28 missed tackles the last two seasons, per PFF — No. 3 among all tight ends). 

Conyers had a down 2023 season (30 receptions, zero touchdowns), but should find renewed life in Zach Kittley’s offense. 

8. Ole Miss 

In the last two seasons, the Rebels whiffed on USC transfer Michael Trigg, but their portal addition of Caden Prieskorn from Memphis looks like a hit. Prieskorn battled a foot injury in 2023 that limited some of his production (449 yards, four scores), but he still averaged nearly 15.0 yards per catch and had a monster Peach Bowl performance against Penn State (10 catches for 136 yards) to end the season. Rather than head to the pros, Prieskorn chose to return to Oxford for one more year, giving the Rebels one of the top options nationally. 

Lane Kiffin also dipped into the portal for some insurance, adding Va. Tech tight end Dae’Quan Wright, who had 28 catches and 366 yards in 2023. The Rebels also have a developmental option in freshman Dillon Hipp, a 6-6, 240-pound Arizona native who chose Ole Miss over Arizona State.

9. Oregon

Terrance Ferguson earned All-Pac 12 honors in 2023 after finishing his junior season with six touchdowns on 42 receptions. Ferguson averaged less than 10.0 yards per catch, but he should be a nice security blanket for Dillon Gabriel next season. 

The Ducks also return senior Patrick Herbert, who caught three scores last season, and promising sophomore Kenyon Sadiq, who is quickly pushing for snaps as the team’s No. 2 tight end. 

10. Iowa

The Hawkeyes have been Tight End U for close to the last decade (George Kittle, TJ Hockenson, Noah Fant, Sam LaPorta), and senior Luke Lachey is next-in-line as a future NFL Draft pick. Last year was billed to be Lachey’s breakout season, but an ankle injury in Week 3 ended his season before it could ever get going. He’s back and good to go now, and should help Iowa jumpstart its listless attack. 

The Hawkeyes also return Addison Ostrenga, who is a nice No. 2 option after recording 31 catches (a team-high) and two touchdowns in 2023. Sophomores Zach Ortwerth and Johnny Pascuzzi are depth pieces, too. 

Best of the Rest: Penn State, Michigan State, TCU, Oklahoma, Texas