Fall is closing in fast, and it is time to start breaking down the Beehive State and the best prospects at each position. These rankings are solely based off of my evaluations from spring and last year's game tape. Evaluations are fluid and things will be reevaluated dozens of times between now and the end of the 2014 football season.
My categories are defined as the following: "Top Tier" which means the prospects in that group are D1 bound. The next group is "Next Level Guys" which means the prospects in that group are not definite D1 scholarship guys, but have a shot and certainly belong at some level of college football. And lastly, is the "Keep An Eye On" which are the guys that have potential to play in college and are on the radar at some level.
Top Tier Tight Ends
1) Noah Togiai- Togiai is currently committed to Utah for basketball. Togiai is a great basketball player, but he also has a tremendous upside on the football field. Togiai is just about unstoppable when it comes to 7 on 7 football. He was dominant at both the Pylon event in Las Vegas and the UteShoot. He has the size and athleticism and his basketball skills translate perfectly to the gridiron. The most amazing part about Togiai is he spends 90% of his time focusing on basketball and he is still a very good tight end. The Hunter HS product had 859 yards and 7 touchdowns as a junior. I could see 1,200 yards and 15 touchdowns this fall, and I may be low-balling him.
2) Loa Kaufusi- The East HS tight end should only be going into his sophomore year, but skipped a year and is now a 2016 prospect. Kaufusi has a lot of upside on both sides of the ball. He has the perfect frame to grow into a special tight end and has already picked up a few offers. He was the best prospect I saw at the Utah State camp. He is a great predecessor to Joe Tukuafu. There are a few people that have said they believe Loa Kaufusi could be the best Kaufusi, which is high praise for the 15 year old.
3) Nate Heaps- Heaps could end up the most productive tight end this fall. He has been a monster this offseason and has packed on some much needed muscle. At Mountain West Elite, Heaps caught everything thrown his way and he only built on that as the camp circuit went on. He was arguably the best tight end at the All Poly Camp and like his teammate Lopini Katoa, is under recruited. He does everything well. There isn't that one thing that jumps out at you, but after watching him a half dozen times during the spring, I feel confident Heaps is a D1 tight end. It is only a matter of time before the 6-4 235 pound tight end from American Fork has a flurry of offers come in.
Next Level Guys
4) Dalton Baker- Baker has put on some good size this offseason. Utah State loved him at their camp and ended up getting a commitment from the Payson tight end. He was on a football team that struggled last year and looked good on defense, but didn't do much on the offensive side of the ball. He is a good blocker and has the physical part of the game mastered. If he can take strides as a receiver, he could end up in the "Top Tier", but Baker is still a work in progress. I like his upside, he was impressive at Mountain West Elite & the USU camp.