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Week 9 college football TV schedule: Breaking down the top tight ends in action

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Today we provide a list of college football games being played throughout the day. In addition, we highlight and profile the top 5 tight ends for the 2018 NFL Draft.

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Purdue Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday we will officially reach the halfway point of the 2017 NFL Season. Currently the San Francisco 49ers are 0-7, with a cross country trip and a date with the hottest team in the league (Philadelphia Eagles). Earning win number one could prove to be difficult for the red and gold this weekend. The only race the 49ers seem to have any chance at winning at this point is the race for the number one pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. With holes remaining all over the roster the 49ers can go a number of ways with their likely high first round pick. Quarterback, wide receiver, running back, cornerback, safety, offensive tackle, guard, linebacker…or perhaps trading down and acquiring more draft capital. Whatever the 49ers decide to do, they better get it right if they hope to speed up what is becoming a lengthy rebuilding process…brick by brick.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Today, our focus turns towards the Tight End position. Last spring, the 49ers selected George Kittle out of Iowa. He reunited with fellow Hawkeye and current starter C.J. Beathard. I liked the pick and am intrigued to see how Kittle develops, especially with the chemistry he already has with Beathard. However, it doesn’t hurt to see if the team can find more talent at what is becoming challenging position to evaluate. With a full docket of games on the schedule, let us take a closer look at five tight ends that you should keep in mind later on this spring.

* Indicates Junior Status

Hayden Hurst* - TE - South Carolina. (Vanderbilt @ South Carolina - 4pm - SEC Network)

6’5” - 250 lbs. Round Projection: Late 1st Round

NCAA Football: Arkansas at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Hayden Hurst does two things very well that you want to see out of tight end prospects. He is a scoring threat and can block. These two qualities make him an early favorite to go in the first round. Hurst is a physical presence on the field and is an effective blocker in running and passing schemes, especially those passes in to the short and intermediate routes. So far this season, Hurst has 17 receptions for 221 yards and one touchdown, plus a rushing touchdown. His reliable hands and large target offer his quarterback an opportunity to make plays downfield. My big concern is the offense he currently plays in. I wish he had more opportunities in South Carolina to showcase his talent and abilities. Another factor is his age. Hurst will be 25 when next season rolls around and I would expect he will forgo his senior season to enter the draft. The talent is there though, even if the tape on him is limited. A strong combine and Pro Day will keep his stock in the late first round.

Troy Fumagalli - TE - Wisconsin (#5 Wisconsin @ Illinois - Noon - ESPN)

6’6” - 248 lbs. Round Projection: 2nd Round

NCAA Football: Maryland at Wisconsin Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY Sports

Unlike Hayden Hurst we have more highlights and tape on Troy Fumagalli who is featured more in the Wisconsin Offense. So far this season he has 16 receptions for 305 yards and two touchdowns. Another tight end prospect who makes his physical presence known on the field as a blocker and also a threat in the passing game. Thanks to his height and frame, he is a serious red-zone and touchdown threat. He fights off linebackers and corners for jump balls thrown his direction. For a tight end his size, Fumagalli possess efficient straight-line speed and can get down the field quickly. He is most dangerous though on the short and intermediate routes, especially inside the red-zone. His arrow is pointing up, and I can see him surpassing Hurst as the TE1 in this upcoming draft class.

Mark Andrews* - TE - Oklahoma (Texas Tech @ #10 Oklahoma - 8pm - ABC/ESPN2)

6’5” - 250 lbs. Round Projection: 2nd Round

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Texas Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

While I wouldn’t consider Andrews as physically gifted as the prospects above him, his positive production, especially in the passing game has proven effective. So far this season Andrews has 16 receptions for 305 yards and two touchdowns. Like with Fumagalli, Andrews is a major threat inside the red-zone thanks to his size and presence. Andrews creates larger windows for the quarterback to complete a pass. His blocking leaves a little to be desired, and will need fine-tuning, especially at the next level.

Mike Gesicki - TE - Penn State (#2 Penn State @ #6 Ohio State - 3:30pm - FOX)

6’6” - 252 lbs. Round Projection: 3rd Round

NCAA Football: Indiana at Penn State Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Believe it or not, Barkley isn’t the only offensive weapon Penn State has at it’s disposal. They also have a Top 5 Tight End named Mike Gesicki. So far this season he has totaled 20 receptions for 167 yards and 4 touchdowns. He is a dual-threat tight-end who serves the offense well as both a receiver and a blocker. Throughout his time at Penn State his role has steadily increased. While Gesicki’s hands are reliable, I do question his speed and the ability to create separation. His 40 time at the combine can potentially have an effect on his draft stock.

Cam Serigne - TE - Wake Forest (Louisville @ Wake Forest - 12:20pm - ACC Network)

6’3” - 250 lbs. Round Projection: 4th Round

NCAA Football: Utah State at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Cam Serigne continues to serve as a productive offensive weapon in the Demon Deacon’s offense. This season he has nine receptions for 164 yards and four touchdowns. Serigne is utilized most effectively in the red-zone, as well as in small and intermediate routes. Serigne isn’t going to take the top off of a defense, however he has the big-target appeal and ability to move the chains on crucial third downs. He is improving as a blocker, but at times he can be overmatched. This is something to monitor over time. Watching his tape, at this time, Serigne looks more to be a receiving tight-end instead of that true dual-ability blocking tight end who can catch the football. However, the potential to evolve is still there for the senior as he prepares for the next level.

NCAA Football: Indiana at Virginia Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday Schedule (EST. kickoff times)

Buffalo @ Akron - 11:30am - CBSSN
#5 Wisconsin @ Illinois - Noon - ESPN
#8 Miami @ North Carolina - Noon- ESPN2
#11 Oklahoma State @ #22 West Virginia - Noon - ABC
Rutgers @ Michigan - Noon - Big Ten Network
Arkansas @ Ole Miss - Noon - SEC Network
Texas @ Baylor - Noon- ESPNU
Louisville @ Wake Forest - 12:20pm - ACC Network
Virginia @ Pittsburgh - 12:30pm - ACC Network
California @ Colorado - 2pm - PAC 12 Network
Florida International @ Marshall - 2:30pm - N/A
Kansas State @ Kansas - 3pm - FS1
Air Force @ Colorado State - 3pm - CBSSN
San Jose State @ BYU - 3pm - ESPN3
#2 Penn State @ #6 Ohio State - 3:30pm - FOX
#3 Georgia @ Florida - 3:30pm - CBS
#4 TCU @ Iowa State - 3:30pm - ABC/ESPN2
#14 NC State @ #9 Notre Dame - 3:30pm - NBC
UCLA @ #12 Washington - 3:30pm - ABC/ESPN2
#16 Michigan State @ Northwestern - 3:30pm - ESPN
Georgia Southern @ Troy - 3:30pm- ESPN3
Appalachian State @ UMASS - 3:30pm - N/A
Louisiana Tech @ Rice - 3:30pm - N/A
Indiana @ Maryland - 3:30pm - Big Ten Network
Houston @ #17 South Florida - 3:45pm - ESPNU
Vanderbilt @ South Carolina - 4pm - SEC Network
Florida Atlantic @ Western Kentucky - 4:30pm - N/A
Austin Peay @ #18 UCF - 5pm - ESPN3
Louisiana Monroe @ Idaho - 5pm ESPN3
Utah @ Oregon - 5:45pm - PAC12 Network
Texas State @ Coastal Carolina - 6pm - ESPN3
Missouri @ UCONN - 6:30pm - CBSSN
Old Dominion @ North Texas - 6:30pm - ESPN3
Minnesota @ Iowa - 6:30pm - FS1
UAB @ Southern Mississippi - 7pm - N/A
Mississippi State @ Texas A&M - 7:15pm - ESPN
Duke @ #13 Virginia Tech - 7:20pm - ACC Network
New Mexico @ Wyoming - 7:30pm - ESPNU
Tennessee @ Kentucky - 7:30pm - SEC Network
Nebraska @ Purdue - 7:30pm - Big Ten Network
Georgia Tech @ #7 Clemson - 8pm - ABC Network
Texas Tech @ #10 Oklahoma - 8pm - ABC/ESPN2
UT San Antonio @ UTEP - 8pm - N/A
Arkansas State @ New Mexico State - 8pm - ESPN3
#15 Washington State @ Arizona - 9:30pm - PAC12 Network
UNLV @ Fresno State - 10pm - N/A
Boise State @ Utah State - 10pm - CBSSN
#21 USC @ Arizona State - 10:45pm - ESPN
San Diego State @ Hawaii - 11:15pm - ESPN2

Who are YOU excited to see in action on this busy Saturday in College Football? Please share in the comments below!