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Jared Pinkney A Proven Playmaker for Vandy

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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The finish to last fall stands as quite the springboard forward for Jared Pinkney.

Vanderbilt's Jared Pinkney is one of the premier tight ends in the country. The 6'4'', 255-pound athlete brings rare physical abilities to his position, pressuring opposing defenses with his speed and savvy. Pinkney, postponing the NFL for a year, opted to come back to Nashville for a highly-anticipated redshirt senior season. What Pinkney gives the Commodores is a star at one of college football's new glamour positions. Already, the former two-time prep state champion has a resume to which few can compare.    

A year ago, Pinkney caught 50 passes for 774 yards and seven touchdowns. The only other SEC tight end with those minimum margins in a single season since the turn of the millennium is Evan Engram from Ole Miss; he was a first-team All-American, a first round NFL Draft pick and, right away, made the PFWA All-Rookie Team.

Pinkney burst onto the national scene a year ago with that aforementioned rare production. His 774 receiving yards ranked third in all of college football amongst tight ends, trailing only UCLA record-setter Caleb Wilson and John Mackey Award-winner Jace Sternberger. Big play ability is also what helped set Pinkney apart as he averaged 15.5 yards per catch and scored seven touchdowns.

In Pinkney's last 15 games, he has at least 75 yards in seven of them. Included in that stretch, is a six-catch, 119 yard showing at Missouri, five grabs for 111 yards and a touchdown at Notre Dame and five receptions for 93 yards and two scores at Arkansas. Pinkney has often proven to be at his best in the spotlight, averaging more catches per game in SEC play than against non-conference competition in 2018.

The finish to last fall stands as quite the springboard forward for Pinkney. He caught 25 passes with four touchdowns over Vanderbilt's final five games, showing, consistently, to be a reliable downfield option. That run continued in the Texas Bowl versus Baylor. Correspondingly, Pinkney returns as one of the hottest players in the SEC, looking for a continuation to his impressive work down the stretch from a year ago. Pinkney, along with Missouri's Albert Okwuegbunam, is poised to contend for postseason honors.

Furthermore, Pinkney will help headline a dynamic Vanderbilt offense. Fresh off 411.2 yards per game in 2018, the program's highest total in well over a decade, Pinkney teams with running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn (1,244 yards) and receiver Kalija Lipscomb (87 catches) to give the Commodores one of the most productive returning trios in all of college football. Vanderbilt's offense averaged 37 points per game from late October on, contests all coming against Power Five competition. Much of that momentum, including Pinkney, returns.   

There are playmakers all over the field for the Commodores. Pinkney, a senior leader for Vanderbilt, is one of the best tight ends in the game.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports