Top Five Penn State Tight Ends of the 2010s

By Matthew Filipovits on January 9, 2020 at 8:00 am
Mike Gesicki leads the way among the Penn State tight ends of the past decade. Pat Freiermuth, Jesse James, Kyle Carter, and Adam Breneman followed No. 88 on the list.
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With the 2010s in the rearview mirror, we're ranking the top-five players at each position of the decade, as voted on by the Roar Lions Roar staff. All of this will lead up to the RLR Team of the Decade. We will only be taking into account seasons from 2010-2019, so players like Evan Royster and Devon Still have solely been judged on their seasons during that time frame.

Let's round out our offensive skill player rankings with the top-five Penn State tight ends of the decade, shall we?

Honorable Mention - Nick bowers

  • 2015-2019
  • Receiving stats: 17 catches, 279 yards, 5 touchdowns

Injuries hampered Bowers for most of his career, but he came on strong on Penn State's No. 2 tight end as a junior and senior. A fantastic athlete and solid blocker, there's no telling what kind of player he could have been had he stayed healthy.

No. 5 - Adam Breneman

  • 2013-2015
  • Receiving stats: 15 catches, 186 yards, 3 touchdowns

Another tight end whose career was plagued by injuries, Breneman made an instant impact for Bill O'Brien in 2013. His most memorable moment came on a rumbling 68-yard touchdown in Penn State's upset win over Wisconsin when they were (extremely BOB voice) 24-point underdogs. Injuries kept him sidelined for the majority of his Penn State career after that season, but he did see a good amount of success at UMass a few years later.

No. 4 - Kyle Carter

  • 2011-2015
  • Receiving stats: 84 catches, 963 receiving yards, 4 touchdowns

A freshman All-American in 2012, Kyle Carter can be credited with starting this latest wave of great Penn State tight ends. Carter could go up and high point footballs while also being strong enough to run through guys. A decent blocker, he remained a key contributor for four seasons, ultimately scoring the game-tying touchdown in the memorable 2014 Pinstripe Bowl.

No. 3 - Jesse James

  • 2012-2014
  • Receiving stats: 78 catches, 1,005 yards, 11 touchdowns

At 6'7, Jesse James made an impact from the moment he walked on campus. He was a favorite target of both Matt McGloin and Christian Hackenberg in the red zone, often able to outreach smaller defensive backs with ease. There was really no way to cover a guy his size, leading to him becoming a fifth-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2015 NFL Draft. He signed a contract with the Detroit Lions this past offseason.

No. 2 - Pat Freiermuth

  • 2018-Present
  • Receiving stats: 69 catches, 875 yards, 15 touchdowns

Pat "Baby Gronk" Freiermuth is the definition of a complete tight end. He has fantastic ball skills and has an uncanny ability to catch tough passes in traffic. He has the strength to muscle through just about any initial hit and has proven to be an excellent blocker, especially down the field. A likely pre-season All-American candidate, Freiermuth has only gotten better over time and could be the best tight end in America in 2020.

No. 1 - Mike GEsicki

  • 2014-2018
  • Receiving stats: 129 catches, 1,481 yards, 15 touchdowns

The best receiving tight in program history, Gesicki overcame drop-plagued freshman and sophomore campaigns to become one of Penn State's biggest and most dominant offensive weapons. Whether it was 50 yards downfield or six yards away in the end zone, there wasn't a jump ball Mike Gesicki couldn't come down with. His blocking abilities were not as refined, but he more than made up for by giving the 2016 and 2017 offenses an unguardable weapon.

Be sure to check out the rest of the series:

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