Evan Engram might be one of the most under-the-radar offensive threats in the SEC. He’s quick, he’s got down-field vision and he can block.
But while Engram may not have the personal fan base of other players in college football, that doesn’t his opponents haven’t started to take notice. “…He’s kind of like a wide receiver in tight end’s body, so it’s going to be real tough,” Alabama senior linebacker Reggie Raglandsaid said. “I’ve got to stay low on him and look at his hips like I’m playing basketball ’cause can’t nobody go nowhere without their hips, so it’s going to be a good matchup.”
Considered one of the top tight ends in all of college football, Engram is looking to add on to his draft potential this fall and maybe even rack up a few more Ole Miss records along the way. Here’s what you need to know about the Georgia native:
1. Engram Is Already the No. 1 TE in the 2015 NFL Draft Projections
Sure, it’s only the start of the 2015 college football season. Sure, it’s early. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t NFL Draft projections out already. They’ve been out for awhile. And Engram is at the top of them.
The Ole Miss tight end is a first-round draft prospect and is considered the No. 1 tight end prospect in the entire 2016 NFL Draft class. He’s rated the No. 1 tight end in the nation by Lindy’s and the No. 77 overall player in the nation by ESPN. Earlier this summer ESPN analyst Mel Kiper listed Engram as one of the top offensive players in the country, writing:
(Engram is) another draft prospect in the Rebels’ loaded junior class. … At just shy of 230 pounds, he won’t be confused with a classic tight end, but he’s a matchup threat and can pluck the ball.
2. He Ranks Top-Four in Ole Miss History in Career Receptions, Receiving Yards & Touchdowns by a TE
Despite a strong freshman season, Engram broke into the national spotlight in 2014 when he led all SEC tight ends with 662 receiving yards last year. He racked up the honors as well, named all-SEC first-team, All-America second-team and led all tight ends with 17.4 yards per catch.
Engram started every game at Ole Miss last season and his performance led to a handful of program records. He now ranks top four in Ole Miss history in career receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns by a tight end. He also set a single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end.
3. Engram Grew Up in Powder Springs, Georgia
Engram played his high school football Hillgrove in Powder Springs, Georgia where he was listed as a three-star recruit and the No. 22 tight end in the nation by Scout.com.
As a senior, Engram hauled in 40 catches for 975 yards and 10 touchdowns, adding on to the 18 receptions for 300 yards and four touchdowns during his junior season, sparking an 11-1 season for Hillgrove. Over the course of his high school career, Engram was named firs team All-State by the Georgia Sportswriters Association and the Associated Press. He also played in the Cobb County All-Star Senior Bowl.
4. His Sister, Mackenzie, Plays Basketball at Georgia
Athletic talent seems to run in the Engram family.
Mackenzie Engram, Evan’s younger sister, is a standout basketball player at Georgia where she was named to the SEC All-Freshman team last year. During her freshman season, Engram saw action in 31 games, starting in seven, and averaging 7.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
The younger Engram led Georgia offensively in four of seven games against ranked opponents, sparking the Bulldogs against South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas A&M. Of course, after a dominant high school career at Hillgrove, Engram’s transition to the college game shouldn’t be surprising. She was a four-year starter for the Lady Hawks and was rated as the No. 71 prospect by ESPN after graduating.
5. Engram Is Undersized at TE But Has Incredible Speed
Engram does not exactly look like a tight end.
He’s 6-foot-3, 227 pounds and, for all intents and purposes, is on the smaller side of the tight end spectrum. In fact, he looks ore like a slot receiver than anything else. But that’s what makes Engram stand out.
Engram can stretch the field and his straight-line speed make him a big-play threat at just about any time. In other words, this kid can move. Check out this play from last year’s Egg Bowl. That’s 83 yards of pure speed:
Last year, Engram led all FBS tight ends in plays of 20 or more yards (11), 30 or more yards (six), 40 or more yards (four) and 50 or more yards (three). That’s good. Like, really good.
But while Engram’s speed is the highlight of his athleticism, his ability to move on a route shouldn’t be overlooked either. That speed translates into quick feet and Engram can get away from a defender with relative ease, adding to his big-play threat opportunities.
Editor’s note: Heavy’s partners at DraftKings are gearing up for another football season. Sign up now with DraftKings promo code HEAVY and get a $600 deposit bonus with no season-long commitment.