The TE position is really difficult for me to put together. Similar to the OL, you have a lot of non-stats working against you when you're judging players against various schemes. In general, I think we seem to give more credence to stats that we can actually measure - like yards and TDs - but that doesn't always show the worth of a great blocking TE. However, I think with the advent of the TE playing much like a bigger, meaner, slot receiver - and even just as a receiver in many schemes - we're at the point where that's just what's going to happen.
Oh, and just for the record, this one was hard because Devin Funchess is now a WR, Ted Bolser, Jacob Pedersen, and CJ Fiedorowicz graduated, and it looks like Maryland didn't have a TE - unconfirmed. So if you have a valid argument as to why someone isn't on here, please feel free to say something. It's hard enough to follow one team. Try following 14. On to the lists!
In no particular order...
1) Maxx Williams - Minnesota
As a Freshman last year, Williams looked pretty comfortable at his job. He snagged 5 TDs and had 417 yards. While these aren't the numbers that TEOY Funchess put up, they are definitely respectable, and more importantly, Williams seemed to do his job for Minnesota in the run game, and another year in the system - along with more strength and conditioning - can only help.
2) Tyler Kroft - Rutgers
We have a Scarlet Knight sighting! B1G THINGS ARE HAPPENING IN NEW JERSEY!!!
But seriously people, this guy is pretty good. He led Rutgers in both YPG and RPG and snagged four TDs. He was first team All-whatever-conference-it-was-that-Rutgers-is-leaving. He snagged at least one reception every game - again as a TE, that's pretty good. And honestly, he's probably the most legitimate offensive weapon Rutgers has.
3) Jeff Heurman - Ohio State
He was All-B1G honorable mention last year, and he's probably setting up to be first team next year. He's a pass-catching threat, a good blocker, a good safety valve, and he can only build on a solid Junior season. He gained 466 yards receiving and snagged four TDs. I think he has potential to take home TEOY with Funchess as a WR fulltime now.
4) Justin Sinz - Purdue
Oh, hello Purdue. Sinz finished 2013 with the most receptions on the team for Purdue and he also grabbed the most touchdowns... with four. While his numbers don't look quite as good as some of his friends above, he might be even more impressive considering what he was working with. We may not know how good anybody at Purdue really is yet, but if the system that Coach Hazell is installing works, Sinz could find himself with a lot more praise this season.
5) Jesse James - Penn State
I debated on making this a 'Penn State TE' conglomerate, but with a new coaching staff and even more incoming talent, I decided to highlight the best TE from the Nittany Lion contingent last year. While Kyle Carter and Adam Brenemen certainly put up some good receiving numbers, James still seemed to be the go-to TE last year. With 333 yards and 3 TDs, he will look to cement the good graces - and hopefully good game planning - of Coach Franklin. At minimum, he'll be pushed to do so. Otherwise, there is plenty of talent waiting for their chance.
BONUS: Brandon Scherff - Iowa
Because I don't want to hear from the Iowa contingent that we left Scherff of our lists.