The deadline to enter the transfer portal — for everybody not on Michigan or Washington — has come and gone, leaving fans with a decent idea of who will play for new teams in 2024. With an emphasis on landing spots and potential impact, here are the top 10 transfer portal tight ends in 2024.
2024 Transfer Portal Rankings: Tight Ends
10) Zach Horton, Indiana
Horton took a route to the Power Five that is becoming increasingly common in the transfer portal era, starting at the G5 level before following his coach to his next job.
Horton was extremely reliable for James Madison last season, catching 73 percent of his targets with six touchdowns. Horton is a willing run blocker whose style of play is well-suited for the Big 10.
9) Jalin Conyers, Texas Tech
Conyers led all Power Five tight ends a season ago with 9.6 yards after the catch per reception en route to a 30-catch, 362-yard season.
At Texas Tech, he should have more consistent quarterback play, something that should allow him to work down the field with his excellent speed.
8) Tyler Neville, Virginia
The first FCS transfer on this list, Neville had a productive career at Harvard, capped by a 24-catch, 283-yard junior season. Neville had plenty of interest from other schools in the portal, but opted to go with his connections and ended up with Virginia Cavaliers.
Neville has the talent to surprise teams in the ACC and could have a huge year in Tony Elliott’s system.
7) Holden Staes, Tennessee
Staes has huge potential, but outside of a massive game against NC State, the former Notre Dame tight end had a pedestrian year, only catching 11 passes for 61 yards in his other 10 starts.
Tennessee uses the widest splits of any team in the Power Five and Staes could thrive as a slot option and occasional blocking tight end. The fit isn’t perfect, but if the Volunteers have a plan for him, Staes should have success.
6) Drake Dabney, TCU
Dabney experienced a breakout year at Baylor in 2023, catching 33 passes for 552 yards, many of those down the field. Dabney fits well in TCU’s offense, where he will likely see more outside alignments.
Dabney has pro potential and should use his final year as an opportunity to showcase his unique skill set.
5) Brady Hunt, South Carolina
The recruiting industry is a bit lower on Hunt since he missed the entire 2023 season with a knee injury, but he’s a huge get for the Gamecocks (who nearly lost him after the fact to Texas A&M).
Hunt is a ball magnet, never completing a game without catching at least 50 percent of his passes. He provides great speed in addition to his elite size. South Carolina will use him as a downfield and red-zone target in 2024 and potentially beyond.
4) Mark Redman, Louisville
Redman transferred to San Diego State after two years with minimal playing time at Washington and put together two strong seasons with the Aztecs. After entering the portal a second time, he landed at Louisville, where he will be a reliable target in Jeff Brohm’s offense.
Redman has just two drops on 104 career targets, often flexing out into the slot as a receiver. He has Power-Five talent and should perform well with Louisville.
3) Jake Johnson, North Carolina
Johnson joined his brother, Max, at Texas A&M. But when he entered the transfer portal, he promised to do what was best for him rather than simply following his brother. Johnson did indeed look around before settling down at North Carolina with Max.
Johnson is a huge receiver with loads of raw ability. He did most of his damage at the beginning of the year with the Aggies and could have a big career in Chapel Hill.
2) Justin Joly, NC State
More of a very large receiver than a traditional tight end, Joly put up great numbers at UConn, though maybe without the touchdown production that one might expect. NC State loves to involve its tight ends and has been missing a big-bodied target this season.
Grayson McCall had a dynamic connection with now-Baltimore Raven Isaiah Likely but had been lacking an elite receiving threat at tight end in recent seasons. The two could put up big numbers at NC State.
1) Jack Velling, Michigan State
Like many of his Oregon State teammates, Velling followed former head coach Jonathan Smith to Michigan State.
A huge target, Velling had a three-game stretch in the middle of 2023 in which he had 192 yards and six touchdowns on just 17 targets.
Velling won’t have to worry about adjusting to a new scheme or even quarterback and should immediately step in as an impact starter.
Now in the Big Ten, Smith may rely on his big tight end even more than he did at Oregon State.
Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football’s transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!