After a wild and disappointing 2021 college football season from Big XII offenses, 2022 will be a new season for most teams to return their high-caliber offenses. One of the biggest areas that Big XII offenses have to replace is the tight end position. While some teams are getting key additions through the NCAA Transfer Portal, other teams are reloading with veteran starters. Texas and Oklahoma are teams that will have potential starters at tight end who arrived from Transfer Portal. Big XII teams will look to have their offenses more consistent in 2022 after their defenses got better. Here are the top returning tight ends of the Big XII going into the 2022 College Football season.
Best Big XII Tight Ends Returning for 2022
Fourth Best Returning Tight End: Ben Sims (Baylor)
The Bears took a big step forward in the second year of head coach Dave Aranda. The Bears’ defense was the unit that led them to the Big XII Championship title last season, as the offense was more efficient in the running game. Baylor is losing a lot of talented pass-catchers from last season, which will certainly impact the offense. Their most experienced pass-catcher from last season is redshirt senior Ben Sims. Last season, Sims caught 31 receptions for 361 yards and six touchdowns (second-most on the team). He will be a player that the Bears will rely on this 2022 season for leadership and to help redshirt sophomore quarterback Blake Shapen move the ball down the field. Sims is the most experienced and talented tight end returning in the Big XII.
Third Best Returning Tight End: Brayden Willis (Oklahoma)
There will be several pass-catchers that the Sooners can rely on this 2022 season. Among the new transfers are some veterans that help the Sooners’ offense adjust to this new coaching staff. One player that will help the Sooners adjust to this new offense is tight end/halfback Brayden Willis. Willis has caught 36 receptions for 484 yards and six touchdowns in his four years at Oklahoma. Willls’ role on the team was dynamic as he was used in 12-personnel and a run-blocker at the line of scrimmage. He was also used as a traditional fullback blocker for several different schemes. Willis will be one of the more experienced pass-catchers returning to the Sooners in the 2022 season.
Second Best Returning Tight End: Mason Tharp (Texas Tech)
This past 2021 college football season saw several freshmen find their roles early on their teams. One rising freshman in the Big 12, outside of the quarterback position, was Texas Tech tight end Mason Tharp. Last season, Tharp played in all 12 games for the Red Raiders while starting in eight of them. Tharp caught 14 receptions for 198 yards and a touchdown in 2021. He will be a player that the new coaching staff, led by head coach Joey McGuire and offensive coordinator Zach Kittley, will look to develop into a long-time star player going forward.
The Best Returning Tight End: Samuel Wheeler (Kansas State)
The Kansas State Wildcats are looking to develop their team into a Big XII Conference title contender. The Wildcats return their core pass-catchers, including senior tight end Samuel Wheeler. Wheeler caught 26 receptions for 363 yards and two touchdowns in the past three seasons. Last season, he caught 15 receptions for 151 and a touchdown. He will remain a key contributor to the Wildcats’ offense as he will be a dynamic pass-catcher and an efficient run-blocker in the 2022 season.