In 2013, there were many solid tight ends, but none that really could be considered elite. No tight end for an SEC school even crossed over the 500 yard mark for the season. Only one player was in the top 30 in receptions from a year ago and is returning, and that player is Hunter Henry of the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Henry turned in a solid season a year ago, catching only 28 passes but tallying 409 yards and four touchdowns. The impressive stat is his 14.6 yards per reception average, which ranked him in the top 20 of all pass catchers in 2013. What’s even more impressive is that last season he was only a freshman. He’s only going to get better.
Henry has all the makings of an elite tight end. He’s a huge target at 6-foot-6 and is listed at 245 pounds. That’s the kind of size combination you want in a tight end. He also has speed and athleticism, clocked at 4.8 seconds in the 40-yard dash during his recruiting. That kind of size and speed combination is dangerous up the seam. He will create tough mismatches for SEC defenses all season long.
Not to mention, he turned in a solid season during a transition year at Arkansas with head coach Bret Bielema taking over in his first season and a first-year starter at quarterback. The arrow is certainly pointing up for Henry in 2014.
If the Razorback offense can progress in its second year and the quarterback play can improve, Henry certainly has the ability to be cream of the SEC tight end crop. Henry’s combination of production and potential make him a no-brainer choice for me on my preseason All-SEC team.