Tight End University is Shaping the Future of NFL Tight Ends

June 21, 2024

Tight End University

Taking place on the Vanderbilt University campus, located in Nashville's West End was the kickoff of Day 2 at Tight End University (TEU)- an annual event now in its fourth year.

Founded by former Pro Bowler Greg Olsen, current San Francisco 49ers star George Kittle, and Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro Travis Kelce, TEU has grown in popularity over the years. This year's event saw its largest turnout yet, with over 70 tight ends and quarterbacks joining the ranks. They came to mentor, learn, work and grow.

Today, some of the biggest names in the NFL are tight ends- whether a seasoned veteran or a rookie striving to make their mark, there was something for everyone. Evan Engram of the Jacksonville Jaguars, now in his eighth season, has attended TEU each year and credits the event for his ongoing development.

"As my game has grown over the last four years, it's always cool to come back and still hear different tidbits and a different perspective of how guys see the game," said Engram, who made his second Pro Bowl in 2023.

TEU is part football clinic, part retreat. Sponsor companies held a welcome reception, followed by a concert and party at Brooklyn Bowl. The depth of talent on hand was evident when it came time to run drills.

During one moment in individual drills, Kelce took reps flanked by Engram on one side and 2023 rookie Sam LaPorta of the Detroit Lions on the other. Across the field, Kittle drilled alongside Dallas Cowboys' Jake Ferguson, who broke out with 71 receptions in just his second season in 2023.

The three-time Pro Bowl selection, Dak Prescott of the Cowboys, was among the quarterbacks to throw to the tight ends. He encouraged players to expand their understanding of the game.

"At tight end, you've got to know the offense - every part of it," he said. "The next step is truly knowing what your quarterback is thinking. ... You guys are a quarterback's best friend."

Olsen offered advice on how to make more efficient releases off the line of scrimmage. Dallas Clark, former Indianapolis Colts great, worked with LaPorta and others on creating separation at the top of routes.

The overall goal of TEU is to ensure that players leave better than when they arrived. "There's two types of guys who play tight end in the league," Olsen said. "There are guys who coaches have to get open. ... Then there are other guys who can get themselves open." 

TEU will help players become the latter, shaping the future of NFL tight ends.

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