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2022 Early Signing Day Evaluation: Tight End

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The Wildcats picked up two pass-catching tight ends from Nebraska, but what does that mean?

NCAA Football: Oklahoma State at Kansas State Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

I’m back with more extremely important college football recruiting opinions. Seriously guys, you can trust me, unlike those other recruiting people who only want your hard earned coin. I’m happy to give up precious knowledge of all things K-State recruiting for the low, low price of zero dollars and zero cents a month. I can assure you that you’ll get exactly what you pay for, and who can ask for anything else?

Now, onto an insightful discussion on tight ends.

Tight End

The Kansas State Signing Day! (early edition) haul at tight end consists of Brayden Loftin (3*(85) 6’5”, 210) from Council Bluffs, Iowa and Garrett Oakley (3*(83) 6’5”, 210) out of Columbus, Nebraska. I have never seen both in the same room, but I’m assured by recruiting experts that they aren’t the same player.

Loftin was a Messingham/Ray recruiting collaboration, and I’m glad the Wildcats managed to hold onto him. He showed up at the K-State Elite camp, and then showed out and secured a scholarship offer. The Wildcats are getting a pass catching tight end who is physical enough to get the job done in the run game. It’s clear Coach Klieman wants to feature the tight end more in his offensive, and Loftin should help in that capacity. He’s a smooth athlete, and wouldn’t look out of place in the wide receiver room. He’s a willing blocker, but that’s not why he’s coming to K-State. He’s coming to Manhattan to catch touchdown passes (or at least short to intermediate hook routes where he settles into a hole in the underneath zone and picks up an easy first downs).

If one pass catching tight end is good, two pass catching tights ends are better (but three is a surplus). You’ll never accuse Oakley of not putting out for EMAW. He came to the Elite Camp as a Northern Illinois commit, and left with an offer contingent on gaining 10 pounds (he should have contacted me for a few helpful hints). He sat down at the dinner table in June, and pushed back from the table in September with 17 extra pounds and uncomfortably tight pants. He secured his offer, and graciously informed Northern Illinois that he would not be attending their fine university, and instead would be matriculating to Manhattan, Kansas to continue his educational journey. Much like Loftin, he’s a catch first block in case of emergency tight end, but based on his dedication to eating (and lifting weights...probably lots of weights involved as well) that will change over the course of his time with the Wildcats. He’s very much a developmental type recruit.

Biggest Hit

Getting on Loftin early because his stock has gone up over the course of his senior season.

Biggest Miss

K-State managed to get giant tight end Gabe Burkle (6’7”, 230) on campus, but couldn’t seal the deal.

Overall

C+

It’s hard to grade K-State recruits. The coaching staff has an amazing eye for talent, and will make you look silly. I like both of these guys find, but they’re a bit redundant in terms of skill set. I’m interested to see how they are worked into the game plan while their blocking comes around. If you’re going to recruit 6’5” pass catching tight ends, you can’t sit around and wait from them to become blocking tight ends. The new OC/Tight Ends Coach (whomever that might be) will play a huge role in the development of these two recruits.