Pat Freiermuth put together one of the most impressive seasons the Nittany Lions have ever seen out of a freshman tight end, but he wasn't even the highest-rated tight end Penn State signed to its 2018 class. That honor belongs to 6'7 red zone nightmare Zack Kuntz.
Hailing from nearby Camp Hill, Kuntz seemed destined to be a Nittany Lion from the start of his recruitment. He committed while in town for the 2016 Michigan State game, where the Nittany Lions clinched the Big Ten East for the first time in school history. He honored that commitment for over a year, signing the following December and enrolling in January 2018.
The Kuntz File
- Class: RS Freshman
- Size: 6'7/236
- Pos: TE
- Hometown: Camp Hill, PA
- Composite Rating: ★★★★
- Composite Rank: No. 150 overall, No. 4 TE
Arriving on campus at 6'7/221, Kuntz was always destined for redshirt so he could put on some weight to round out his gargantuan frame. With Pat Freiermuth and Nick Bowers emerging as the clear top two at the position, the staff didn't have to rush him out onto the field as he continued to bulk up.
The first thing you notice about Kuntz is that he is a matchup nightmare for just about anyone he tries to cover him. When he lines up in the slot, he's too big and strong for your average corner. While linebackers may be able to overpower him, Kuntz's speed and size often give him an advantage when it comes to stretching the field.
Kuntz is in a bit of a unique situation. While Freiermuth and Bowers are again expected to be the top performers at the position, there's not much after them. It's hard to see there being enough reps to go around for three tight ends, the biggest opportunity for Kuntz to find success in 2019 could be in an entirely new package. At 6'7/236, he is an absolute red zone nightmare.
The Nittany Lions found a lot of success with their last 50-50 ball hawking tight end, Kuntz fitting into that role could add an entirely new dimension to the playbook and give Sean Clifford a reliable security blanket. He's still at least a year away from becoming a regular contributor, but Kuntz could find himself in the position to take this offense to the next level much sooner than that.