HS football position by position breakdown: Scouting the tight ends

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Monday, August 14, 2017 | 9:21 PM


As spread offense became a trend, the tight end position quickly changed.

A number of high school coaches no longer feature them strictly as a sixth lineman with their hand on the ground but instead start them in the slot or shift them out wide.

East Allegheny’s TJ Banks ranks among the nation’s top tight end prospects at 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, but his athleticism lets him make plays like a wide receiver. The senior added two more scholarship offers this month to raise his options to 17 schools. His offers list has grown to include Pitt, West Virginia, Illinois, Maryland, Purdue, Rutgers, Syracuse and others.

Banks ultimately could play defensive end in college, but his size and speed combination make him a mismatch for almost any high school linebacker or defensive back.

Like Banks, a year ago, two of the WPIAL’s top pass catchers were tight ends who doubled as wide receivers. Ringgold’s Max Maciejewski led WPIAL Class 4A with 59 catches. Latrobe senior Jason Armstrong, who will play quarterback this season, had 45 catches in Class 5A.

Armstrong earned all-conference honors last season, as did Hempfield tight end Brendan Brose, South Fayette’s Noah Plack, Burrell’s Alex Bellinotti and Rochester’s Elijah Goosby.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

1. TJ Banks

East Allegheny

Senior, 6-5, 230

Banks scored 10 times last season with 41- and 48-yard touchdown catches included. He also returned a punt for a touchdown. Rivals ranks the four-star recruit as the 14th-best tight end prospect in the country. He’s also a standout defensive end and earned first-team all-conference honors on defense in Class 2A.

2. Noah Plack

South Fayette

Senior, 6-2, 205

The Delaware recruit had 35 catches for 679 yards and nine touchdowns last season. Hislongest was a 63-yarder. He’s also a standout linebacker, a position he likely will play in college, and made 54 tackles a year ago with two sacks. He was first-team all-conference for offense and defense. He held more than 20 scholarship offers.

3. Braden Brose

Hempfield

Senior, 6-3, 235

An all-conference tight end in Class 6A, Brose made 21 catches for 304 yards and four touchdowns last year. As a linebacker, Brose led his team with 77 tackles and had 21⁄2 sacks. As a kicker, he handled kickoffs and some extra points. Brose lists college offers from Slippery Rock and Seton Hill. He was an all-section first baseman in baseball.

4. Max Maciejewski

Ringgold

Senior, 6-2, 190

Maciejewski led Class 4A receivers with 59 catches last season, finished with 962 yards and 14 touchdowns. He will often line up at wideout but also plays a traditional tight end role at times. Against West Mifflin, Maciejewski had eight catches for 152 yards and two touchdowns with a 70-yarder included.

5. Mateo Vandemia

West Allegheny

Junior, 6-2, 215

Vandemia was West Allegheny’s second-leading receiver with 36 catches for 585 yards. He scored five times, with his longest a 48-yarder against North Hills. He averaged 16.3 yards per catch. His best performance came in the WPIAL Class 5A final at Heinz Field when he had eight catches for 101 yards and a touchdown.

One to watch: Canyon Tuman

North Allegheny

Senior, 6-6, 220

Tuman, a multi-sport athlete, is a national-caliber volleyball recruit and the son of former Steelers tight end Jerame Tuman. He’s a returning starter for NA’s football team but was seldon-used in the passing game with four catches for 59 yards and one touchdown last season. His size and quickness could make him a larger part of the Tigers’ passing game this season.

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