Elite Junior recruiting recap: Tight ends

Photo by Rob Saye

Versatile athletes highlight position group…


Davis Pidgeon (Walton):

Even with the gigantic North offensive line lining up right next to Pidgeon, the 6-foot-6 tight end still stands out with his size. Pidgeon hauled in three touchdowns in his first season as the starting tight end for the Raiders and got better as the season progressed. While Pidgeon can serve as an unguardable mismatch at tight end, his future will likely be on the offensive line. During the Elite Junior Classic, Pidgeon showcased his blocking skills by containing the athletic South defensive ends and allowed running backs Kawon Bryant and Josh Bettistea to each rush for more than 100 yards. Pidgeon is a great downfield blocker as well and makes it nearly impossible for a defender to maneuver around his massive frame. At the collegiate level, expect Pidgeon to become a starting offensive tackle and he possesses all the required skills to thrive at that position.


Connor Redmond (Archer):

Redmond and Archer were under the radar last season, but the Tigers’ record-setting 10-0 season and heartbreaking loss to North Gwinnett in the playoffs proved that Archer was not only for real, but was also one of the best teams in the state. Redmond was Archer’s sure-handed playmaker at the tight end position and showed an ability to make tough catches in traffic, while also gaining yards after the catch with his vision and athleticism. At the Elite Junior Classic, the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Redmond was used as a tight end and fullback and did a tremendous job keeping a hat on the defenders. Redmond has a great base when he blocks and is mature beyond his years in his fundamentals. In practice, Redmond found the soft spot in the defense and created space for his quarterbacks. Archer tore it up in 7-on-7 tournaments last summer and Redmond will get a lot of looks from colleges as the Tigers compete this offseason in the passing tournaments.



Gordon Dudley (Ware County):

Dudley was the only tight end to catch a pass in the Elite Junior Classic and did so by hauling in a key first down to keep the South team’s scoring drive alive. Dudley is a tough football player and has wide receiver athleticism at 6-foot-1, 205-pounds with the strength and blocking ability of a fullback. The Gators will put Dudley in as their fullback and tight end this season in order to use his hard-hitting blocking and ability to slip out and make plays in the passing game. Dudley runs good routes and can get down field in a hurry.


Jalen Wilkerson (Coffee):

Entering next season, Wilkerson is currently the No. 6 tight end prospect in the country and is listed as a consensus four-star recruit. At 6-foot-4, 227 pounds, Wilkerson can be split out in the boundaries where he will require defensive attention from the entire side of the field he is occupying. Safeties and linebackers both have a difficult time disrupting his routes and Wilkerson often got a free release with his quick feet and athleticism off the line of scrimmage. During practice, Wilkerson was very consistent in his route running and disguised his cuts and his next move very well as he attacked the defenders. Wilkerson is an outstanding basketball player as well and the same hoop skills that translate across the NFL with the All-Pro tight ends is seen with Wilkerson’s ability to make acrobatic plays.

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