HS football position-by-position breakdown: Scouting the tight ends
Tight ends aren’t limited to run-blocking and goal-line work.
Much like in the NFL, some high school coaches have found ways to create mismatches with their pass-catching linemen. A year ago, Hempfield’s Braden Brose (57 receptions), South Fayette’s Noah Plack-Tallerico (52) and East Allegheny’s T.J. Banks (48) ranked among the WPIAL leaders in catches.
Brose ranked sixth overall.
All three tight ends have since graduated and are playing Division I college football this fall. Brose and Plack-Tallerico are at Delaware. Banks is now a tight end at West Virginia. But WPIAL defenses still need to be wary.
Among the best at the position this year is West Allegheny’s Mateo Vandamia, who led the Indians in receptions last season with 30.
1. Mateo Vandamia
West Allegheny, sr., 6-1, 210
Vandamia had 30 receptions for 416 yards last season. Coaches used him in a variety of ways, including as a wildcat QB and defensive end. He scored six TDs and earned all-conference honors in Class 5A. His college offers include Robert Morris, Albany, Bucknell, Delaware, Fordham, Georgetown, Lehigh, Maine and Morgan State.
2. Joshua Rawlings
Woodland Hills, jr., 6-6, 235
Rawlings isn’t the first big-bodied tight end to wear a Woodland Hills jersey. Akron, Temple and Toledo have offered him FBS scholarships. He’s also a solid run blocker for an offense that isn’t afraid to use two-tight end formations.
3. Zuriah Fisher
Aliquippa, jr., 6-3, 220
Syracuse was first to offer Fisher an FBS scholarship this spring. His college future could be on defense where he plays outside linebacker. But the two-way standout is a pass-catching threat at tight end for the Quips, including a long catch-and-run at Heinz Field last fall.
4. Troy Kuhn
Kiski Area, sr., 6-5, 205
Kuhn had 19 catches for 303 yards and three TDs last season. As a linebacker he had 65 tackles, four sacks and returned an interception for a TD. His brother Shane played tight end at Youngstown State, and Chad is a defensive end at Slippery Rock.
5. Alex Bellinotti
Shady Side Academy, sr., 6-1, 235
Bellinotti had 15 catches for 283 yards and three touchdowns last season for Burrell, earning Class 3A all-conference honors at both tight end and linebacker (95 tackles). He transferred this summer to Shady Side. He lists an Ivy League offer from Cornell.
One to watch
Montour, jr., 6-4, 225
Eubanks, who also plays basketball for Montour, should provide a big, athletic target for sophomore Luke Persinger, who takes over as the Spartans quarterback. Eubanks should also make an impact at defensive end.
Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at email@example.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.