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May 9, 2013

Rivals Camp Series: Top tight ends

MORE: Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour

The regional portion of the Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour is over, wrapping up in Chicago and totaling 15 events around the country. Rivals.com breaks down the best of the best at each position with a look at the tight ends today. Led by Milan Richard, who came out to put on a show at the Atlanta RCS, here are the standouts in order.

(Note: The following list does not necessarily reflect future changes in prospect rankings; it is based only on performances at regional Rivals Camp Series events. Many other factors and events will be taken into account before updated rankings are revealed the week of May 20. This list is for the class of 2014 only. Underclassmen will be listed separately.)

1. TE Milan Richard, Savannah (Ga.) Calvary Christian
Richard has the skill set of a wide receiver in the body of a tight end and he handled all comers during one-on-ones at the RCS Atlanta stop. He's strong enough that he's tough to deal with at the line but also has above-average speed for a tight end, making him a deep threat down the seam. On Wednesday night, he committed to Clemson.

2. TE Daniel Helm, Chatham (Ill.) Glenwood
Helm has put together a string of impressive performances, going back to the spring of his sophomore year, and his stop at the St. Louis RCS was among his best. The 6-foot-4, 216-pound prospect has the speed and agility of a wide receiver, and is a sure-handed pass catcher. He committed to the Tennessee Volunteers within days of his appearance at the St. Louis RCS.

3. TE Xavier Burke, Lawrenceville (Va.) Brunswick
At the RCS in Richmond, Burke came out to show that he has been working hard to improve and he certainly caught everybody's eye. The biggest differences in Burke's game were his speed and route-running. It looked the Virginia Tech commit had slimmed down, which allowed him to make more athletic plays. It was pretty impressive the way Burke was able to create separation downfield and come up with some big catches.

4. TE Deandre Goolsby, Derby (Kan.)
Goolsby, a track star, was arguably the most athletic tight end on the RCS tour. His size does not hinder his coordination whatsoever. In many ways, he plays the game like an oversized wide receiver. At the Phoenix RCS, he moved fluidly and caught everything, including a few balls that were off target. His father played at Kansas State, but Ohio State and Florida have recently offered. Those offers create some serious doubt about the Wildcats' ability to land the legacy.

5. TE Chase Blakley, Coeur D'Ilene (Idaho)
Blakley was at two camp stops. He didn't have his best day in Phoenix, but showed up with his A-game the very next day at the Los Angeles RCS. The Idaho-based tight end has been outstanding at other events as well, leading us to believe the real Blakley was the one who manhandled defenders at the line of scrimmage and showed great hands in California. Washington leads his recruitment for now but serious interest from Oklahoma and Florida could change that.

6. TE Mavin Saunders, Houston (Tex.) Kinkaid
Entering the Houston RCS, Saunders was a relative unknown with offers from Mississippi State and Florida State and he showed exactly what caught the attention of those coaches. He was a natural receiver with plus athleticism, and his big frame immediately drew attention upon his arrival. Since the camp he has added Oklahoma, Arkansas and Ole Miss to his offer list which already included Mississippi State and Florida State and is drawing interest from Texas, Auburn, Oregon and Texas A&M.

7. TE Lucas Bezerra, Troy (Mich.)
There were several more highly rated tight ends in a deep position group at the Cincinnati RCS, but it was the 6-foot-4, 232-pound Bezerra who finished as the top tight end performer because of his ability to consistently get separation and catch everything thrown his way. Bezerra made an early commitment to Western Michigan, but could see more interest come his way this summer and fall.

8. TE Anthony Jones, New Orleans (La.) Edna Karr
At the Houston RCS, Jones was a smooth route-runner who showed the ability to use his deceptive speed and size advantage to gain separation and create mismatches for opposing defenses. Jones entered the camp with offers from Tulane, Louisiana-Lafayette, ULM, and Louisville and strong interest from Texas, and has since added offers from LSU, Florida State, Auburn, Baylor and Mississippi State. At this point LSU, Louisville and Florida State sit atop his leader board.

9. TE Brandon Walton, Carrollton (Ga.)
Walton impressed at the Atlanta RCS with his height and soft hands combined with his ability to get open. He could still use to put on some muscle so he can be a more rounded prospect at the position, but he could develop into a solid tight end at the next level. Walton has early offers from Akron and Middle Tennessee, but will likely see more interest as higher-ranked tight ends continue to come off the board.

10. TE Chance Sorrell, Middletown (Ohio)
It certainly appears that the future for the 6-foot-6, 250-pound Sorrell will be at offensive tackle. He has decent athleticism for a tight end, but would be ultra-athletic at the tackle spot and has the frame to grow into that position. Sorrell is not giving up on tight end, however, and he worked out there exclusively during the Cincinnati RCS.

11. TE Ethan Wolf, Minster (Ohio)
The 6-foot-5, 243-pound Wolf is a combo tight end who will be an asset to Tennessee -- the school he committed to in April -- in the running and passing game. Wolf's appearance at the Cincinnati RCS gave us a closer look at his receiving skills. He is not going to run past a lot of defenders, but he is very efficient in his route-running and understands how to settle down in a position for his quarterback to get him the football.

12. TE Garrett Dickerson, Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic
Dickerson wasn't as fast as some of the other tight ends at the New Jersey RCS but his natural physical gifts are pretty impressive. The Rivals250 tight end has bulked up and he used his bigger frame to box out defenders to make some pretty tough catches in traffic. Dickerson showed that he did have good hands but he isn't a great downfield threat because he had some trouble gaining separation.

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