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Best of the Best: Top TE classes in 2020 cycle

The 2020 recruiting cycle has come to a close, for the most part, and we can now take a look back and break down the top classes position by position. The tight end position was strong, especially at the top, and we spotlight five teams that signed the elite at this position.

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MORE TOP CLASSES: Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

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1. LSU

Arik Gilbert
Arik Gilbert (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Kole Taylor is a top tight end from Colorado, and he could do well at LSU, but the clear No. 1 tight end in this class is Arik Gilbert. Thaddeus Moss declared for the NFL Draft, and with Gilbert’s size, athleticism and big-play ability, the Tigers are likely not to lose a beat at the tight end position. Taylor has size, he scored 13 touchdowns over the last two seasons, and he will give LSU another receiver threat at tight end, so the Tigers signed a talented pair at this position this cycle.

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2. NOTRE DAME

Michael Mayer
Michael Mayer (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Notre Dame is known for producing tight ends, and the Irish signed the best duo in this class. Michael Mayer is No. 3 and Kevin Bauman is No. 5, and Mayer was in the five-star discussion late in the cycle. Both have size and ball skills, but Mayer is the more polished of the two and he could play major snaps immediately. Mayer caught 27 touchdown passes over the last two seasons, so there will be high expectations for him in South Bend.

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3. GEORGIA

Darnell Washington
Darnell Washington (Leland Dutcher/Rivals.com)

At one time, Georgia was looking to sign two tight ends this cycle, but after locking down Darnell Washington fairly early with a silent commitment, the Bulldogs settled on one five-star. Washington is an extremely long tight end with a great catch radius and he could provide the Georgia quarterback of the future a go-to guy in the red zone. Washington is known for making plays down the field too, so having that athletic tight end will bring a different element to the offense.

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4. PENN STATE

Theo Johnson
Theo Johnson (Rivals.com)

Penn State was locked into a battle with programs such as Georgia and Michigan for Theo Johnson, but the Nittany Lions were favorites from the jump, and in the end, the Canadian four-star landed in Happy Valley. He is an athletic tight end with upside, and someone who could flourish in the Penn State offense. Johnson, like many freshmen today will come in physically ready to compete, and it would be somewhat surprising if he is not on the field a good bit this fall.

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5. AUBURN

Jeremiah Pegues
Jeremiah Pegues (Rivals.com)

Auburn has not been known to feature the tight end too much in recent years, but Jeremiah Pegues will be fun to watch on the Plains. When watching him, he looks like a Jerome Bettis-type playing tight end. Defenders bounce off him, he is nimble on his feet, and he moves extremely well for someone who played in the 265-pound range as a senior. He could be moved around in the Auburn offense, and some may be surprised at the skill-set he has at his size.

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