Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, UCLA, USC, Washington
To be honest, it's getting a little embarrassing. Year after year, it seems, Stanford sends one or two tight ends off the NFL and welcomes one of the best in that year's prep class as a replacement. Lather, rinse, repeat. This year's shiny new tight end is Colby Parkinson, and there's no question that he'll fit right in at a place that currently has more tight ends in the NFL than any other school in America. Parkinson's game film (below) shows a player who's just as engaged when blocking at the line of scrimmage for running backs or downfield for wide receivers as he is when he's the primary receiver. He has the size and strength to run all the typical tight end routes over the middle, the speed to get loose behind the defense, and the height to outleap defensive backs. His high school is one of the elite programs in California (Oaks Christian also produced former Stanford receivers Chris and Francis Owusu) and Parkinson thrived will competing against some of the best teams in the region. More impressive than that, he dominated all-star camps during the summer of 2016 and last month's practices for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
If Dalton Shultz and Kaden Smith, both top three tight end recruits from years past, didn't see action as true freshmen, it's difficult to see a scenario in which Parkinson burns his redshirt. Be patient, though. After he begins to contribute in some three tight end sets in 2018, it will be clear that Parkinson is Stanford's next great tight end. All-conference and perhaps All-America honors are certainly in his future.