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CFB Summer Games, TEs: Alabama's O.J. Howard takes gold

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  • By NFL.com
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With the world's best athletes set to compete in the Summer Games in Rio, we thought we'd get in on the fun by holding a medal competition at each major position group. College Football 24/7 analysts ranked the top three players at each position, with points assigned to each player accordingly -- three points for each first-place ranking, two for each second-place ranking and one for each third-place ranking. The points were totaled, resulting in final gold-, silver- and bronze-medal finishers. The medal presentation continues with tight ends.

First Look:
NFL Media analyst and former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah takes a "first look" at college football's top players for 2016.

Tight End Podium


GOLD MEDAL: O.J. Howard, Alabama

SILVER MEDAL: Jake Butt, Michigan

BRONZE MEDAL: Evan Engram, Ole Miss

Also receiving votes: Bucky Hodges, Virginia Tech; Jordan Leggett, Clemson.

Analyst ballots


Daniel Jeremiah: 1) O.J. Howard 2) Jake Butt 3) Jordan Leggett

Howard was underutilized for the majority of last season, but he put on a show in the national-championship game. He has ideal size and speed for the position, and I believe he's underrated as a blocker. Butt is a complete tight end. Jim Harbaugh's offense is a perfect fit for his skill set and he should have a monster senior season.

Lance Zierlein: 1) O.J. Howard 2) Jake Butt 3) Bucky Hodges

Howard's monster performance against Clemson in the national-championship game launches him into the role of favorite for the gold.

Bucky Brooks: 1) Jake Butt 2) O.J. Howard 3) Jordan Leggett

Butt and Howard are impressive pass-catchers that are on the radar of NFL scouts searching for the next big thing at the position. Leggett is a crafty playmaker with a knack for moving the chains.

Charles Davis: 1) O.J. Howard 2) Evan Engram 3) Jake Butt

Howard shined in the national-title game against Clemson when he provided big play after big play. His mission now is to do that week in and week out. Keep an eye on Butt at Michigan. Jim Harbaugh knows how to utilize the tight end in the passing game.

Chase Goodbread: 1) Bucky Hodges 2) Evan Engram 3) O.J. Howard

New Hokies coach Justin Fuente has a premier talent in Hodges, who is an absolute mismatch against defensive backs at 6-foot-7 and 240 pounds. Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly should be looking for Engram more this year with Laquon Treadwell now in the NFL. Will Alabama finally look for Howard more frequently? He's a mismatch for defenders, but the Crimson Tide offense has been known to forget about him.

Chad Reuter: 1) O.J. Howard 2) Evan Engram 3) Jake Butt

Howard's length and strength downfield were massively underutilized by the Tide for most of the 2015 season; that probably won't happen again. Quarterback Chad Kelly and Engram should once again lead the Rebels' offense this fall. Jim Harbaugh loves using tight ends in his offense, and Butt has the receiving skills to continue his progress in his fiery coach's scheme.

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