SEC stuffed with tight-end expertise, led by Bell, Bowers, Trigg


GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — It’s tough to actually gauge the Southeastern Conference’s tight-end expertise by means of two weeks of the season.

There’s little likelihood the identical can be stated after two months.

The powerhouse league has arguably its deepest and most expert tight-end group in years. The assortment contains big-time playmakers and is bound to supply NFL first-round draft picks corresponding to Kyle Pitts (Florida), Hayden Hurst (South Carolina), Evan Engram (Ole Miss) and O.J. Howard (Alabama).

South Carolina’s Jaheim Bell, Georgia’s Brock Bowers and Mississippi’s Michael Trigg high the checklist. They’re massive. They’re quick. They’re versatile. And they’re hardly alone.

Here’s a take a look at the perfect of the SEC’s present crop, 5 of whom will share a subject when South Carolina (1-1) hosts top-ranked and defending nationwide champion Georgia (2-0) on Saturday:


Bell is likely to be probably the most multifaceted tight finish within the SEC, probably within the nation. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound junior from Lake City, Florida, strains up all around the subject. He has 4 catches for 18 yards to go along with 11 carries for 44 extra. He additionally owns the highest two receiving video games by a good finish at school historical past: 136 yards in opposition to Vanderbilt and 159 in opposition to North Carolina.

“He’s a freak athlete,” teammate and fellow tight finish Austin Stogner stated. “You can really put him anywhere.”


Anyone who watched the eventual champs play final season ought to bear in mind Bowers. The 6-4, 230-pound native of Napa, California, burst onto the scene as a freshman, ending with 56 receptions for 882 yards and 13 touchdowns. He has 5 catches for 95 yards this 12 months, getting loads of day off throughout Georgia’s back-to-back blowouts.


Arik Gilbert seems to be the odd man out in Georgia’s ultra-deep place group. The former LSU starter and the No. 1 tight finish prospect within the 2020 recruiting class doesn’t have a reception whereas enjoying behind Bowers and Darnell Washington. He caught 35 passes for 368 yards and two TDs as a freshman with the Tigers earlier than coming into the switch portal.

He was briefly dedicated to Florida however ended up in Athens, about 80 miles from his house in Marietta, Georgia. Coach Kirby Smart stated Gilbert’s lack of enjoying time has extra to do along with his apply habits than the depth chart.

“It’s really based on Arik’s performance,” Smart stated. “It’s not really based on those guys … That’s all based on how he practices and how he carries over to game day.”


The Oklahoma switch landed at South Carolina together with quarterback Spencer Rattler. They have already got chemistry, though Stogner has simply six catches for 75 yards by means of two video games. The 6-6, 251-pound senior from Plano, Texas, had 47 receptions for 654 yards and eight scores with the Sooners. And he enjoys blocking as a lot as the rest he does.

“It’s amazing; it’s an extra O-lineman on the field,” Gamecocks operating again Marshawn Lloyd stated.


First-year LSU coach Brian Kelly known as the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Jason Taylor “the No. 1 surprise of camp.” Mason Taylor has 5 catches for 47 yards, together with a 17-yarder that arrange a late landing in opposition to Florida State.

“He’s been outstanding,” Kelly stated, including that Taylor has added 20 kilos. “I’ve been blessed. I’ve had some great tight ends. I’ve got seven of them right now who are active in the NFL. And Mason Taylor is as good as any freshman tight end that I’ve had.”


The Southern Cal switch had three TD receptions in final week’s 59-3 romp over Central Arkansas, all from contained in the 10-yard line. The 6-3, 240-pound sophomore from Tampa, Florida, has 9 receptions for 61 yards. He caught seven balls for 109 yards and a rating in six video games with the Trojans in 2021. He landed in Oxford as a part of the package deal take care of quarterback Jaxson Dart.

Rebels coach Lane Kiffin likes what he’s seen from Trigg however desires extra.

“There’s some inconsistency there because he’s a young player,” Kiffin stated. “He needs to play more consistent because you can see the big-play potential.”


No one his dimension is meant to maneuver like that. But Washington has uncommon traits. The 6-7, 260-pound junior is a blocking beast in addition to a risk to run by linebackers and submit up –- or leap over — defensive backs. He has 4 catches for 66 yards, effectively on his solution to surpass his two-year totals of 17 receptions for 320 yards and a rating.

He already created a profession spotlight when he hurdled Oregon cornerback Bryan Addison within the group’s opener.

“Darnell Washington is in the best shape he’s been in,” Smart stated lately, including the large man can play “harder for longer.”

The SEC seems poised for expertise on the place for years to return, too.

Texas A&M signed three of the highest six tight-end prospects in its ballyhooed 2022 class: Jake Johnson, Donovan Green and Theo Melin Öhrström. Georgia landed the No. 2 man on the checklist, Oscar Delp.

Tennessee and Georgia have commitments from the second- and third-rated tight-end recruits for 2023. The Vols ave a pledge from Ethan Davis of Suwanee, whereas the Dawgs are in line to land Pearce Spurlin of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.


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