Top Returning Pac-12 Tight Ends For 2017

The top returning Pac-12 tight ends for 2017 are, again, highlighted by a stud from Stanford, the gold-standard program for TEs in the conference.

No one curates complete tight ends from around the country better than Stanford, which has produced the likes of Coby Fleener, Zach Ertz, Levine Toilolo and Austin Hooper in recent years. Next in line on the Farm is Dalton Schultz, who just needs a little more support to elevate from honorable mention All-Pac-12 in 2016 to one of the country’s top tight ends in 2017. However, the Cardinal is hardly alone in its desire to utilize a well-sized pass-catcher in the slot. Most members employ a tight end, which is why the league has been such a fertile pipeline to the NFL.

Top Returning Pac-12 Tight Ends

3. Harrison Handley, Utah

Handley is the kind of playmaker the Utes will want to employ more frequently in 2017. He’s a former wide receiver who grew to 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, yet he has maintained the quickness and athleticism of a downfield threat in the passing game. Handley is also experienced, with nine career starts and 33 receptions, and will be asked to pick up more of the slack now that co-starter Evan Moeai has graduated.

2. Daniel Imatorbhebhe, USC

Trojan opponents who commit to stopping RB Ronald Jones and WR Deontay Burnett this season are going to get burned between the hashes by Imatorbhebhe. The Florida transfer is a dynamic all-around athlete at 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, and he’s already earned the trust of QB Sam Darnold, who also played last season as a redshirt freshman. Imatorbhebhe debuted with 17 receptions for 250 yards and four touchdowns, good enough to be named honorable mention All-Pac-12.

1. Dalton Schultz, Stanford

No one in the league does tight ends better than the Cardinal, who recruit and highlight the position as a central part of the offense. The NFL has drafted five Stanford tight ends this decade alone, and Schultz plans to make it six in 2018 or 2019. At 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds, he has the ideal size to frustrate opposing defenders over the top, and he’s continually working on improving as a blocker. Schultz’s ordinary output as a third-year sophomore, 23 catches for 222 yards and a touchdown, had more to do with inconsistent quarterback play than a lack of potential.

MORE: Best Returning Tight Ends In College Football For 2017