College News & Analysis

Five best college football tight ends in the transfer portal

Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks tight end Jaheim Bell (0) loses the football after scoring in the fourth quarter against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Arkansas won 44-30. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina’s Jaheim Bell: The new Florida State Seminole was the top tight end in the portal and is one of the most dangerous with the ball in his hands. 

Arkansas State’s Seydou Traore: The true sophomore is behind Bell after establishing himself as one of the best receiving tight ends in college football this season.

Michigan’s Erick All: He rounds out the top three and will reunite with quarterback Cade McNamara at Iowa.

Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins

With more than 1,000 college football players in the transfer portal, it can be difficult to parse through all the talent. But PFF's advanced stats for 354 teams ranging from the FBS to Division III aim to do exactly that.

After going over our top 25 players in the transfer portal as well as our All-Transfer Portal team, here are the five best tight ends searching for new homes.

1. Jaheim Bell (South Carolina Gamecocks)

Transfer Destination: Florida State Seminoles

Get the ball in Jaheim Bell’s hands and good things will happen. Among Power Five tight ends returning next year, only Georgia’s Brock Bowers has a higher receiving grade over the past two seasons than Bell’s 88.8 mark.

Bell has forced 24 missed tackles in that span, which is tied for the most among all FBS tight ends. This year, he also ran for 257 rushing yards, over 100 more than any other tight end in the country. Bell announced that he’ll be attending Florida State next year, where he should form a lethal connection with quarterback Jordan Travis.

2. Seydou Traore (Arkansas State Red Wolves)

Transfer Destination: Undecided

Traore was one of the best receiving tight ends in college football this year. The only FBS tight ends with higher receiving grades than Traore’s 89.6 mark were Utah’s Dalton Kincaid and Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer — two finalists for the John Mackey Award and top-50 prospects on PFF’s 2023 NFL Draft big board.

This season, Traore racked up the fourth-most receiving yards for tight ends (628) and was tied for third with 340 yards after the catch. Most impressively, he did all of that as just a true sophomore.

3. Erick All (Michigan Wolverines)

Transfer Destination: Iowa Hawkeyes

Erick All played in only three games this season before undergoing surgery on his back.

Last year, All was one of the best receiving weapons on a playoff-bound Michigan team. His 2.14 yards per route run ranked fourth among Power Five tight ends in 2021. All’s 76.5 run-blocking grade was also a top-10 mark for Power Five tight ends. That season, his quarterback was Cade McNamara, with whom he'll reunite in 2023 at Iowa, where All will try to follow past Hawkeye greats Dallas Clark, George Kittle and T.J. Hockenson at the tight end position.

4. Joshua Simon (Western Kentucky Hilltoppers)

Transfer Destination: Undecided

Simon’s 85.9 receiving grade this season ranked sixth among tight ends, while his 79.2 overall grade was good for 11th.

Despite receiving only 28 targets on the season, Simon averaged two yards per route run, which was 11th among FBS tight ends with at least 130 receiving snaps. He’ll look to prove himself in a larger role elsewhere next season. 

5. CJ Dippre (Maryland Terrapins)

Transfer Destination: Undecided

Dippre had an impressive season for the Terrapins. His 69.6 grade was a top-five mark in the Big Ten at the position.

The true sophomore forced 10 missed tackles after the catch, which was tied for seventh among Power Five tight ends. His 11 catches of 15-plus yards tied for 11th among that same group.

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