Devonaire Clarington is one of the best tight ends in the Class of 2015.
Clarington, out of Champagnat Catholic in Miami, Fla., stands 6'6 and weighs in at 230 pounds (verified at spring Nike Camp). As of May, he's rated a consensus four-star prospect by the 247sports composite and one of the top three tight ends in the country. He ran a surprising 4.80 40 and had a vertical jump of 30 inches at the Nike Camp. It could be that he is a player who does not test all that well, but performs better on the field. I believe that to be the case.
Clarington has drawn interest from a number of top programs, mostly in the Southeast. He holds scholarship offers from Alabama, Miami, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Auburn, Florida State, Michigan, Notre Dame and Texas, among others.
Fans can follow Clarington on Twitter @dev_go_deep.
Right off the bat, there is a question of what position Clarington should play at the next level: tight end or defensive end. And there are respected evaluators on both sides of the issue. And it's important to note that just because someone believes Clarington would be better at tight end or defensive end, it does not mean that they believe he cannot play the other. Clarington is definitely a player with positional versatility.
As a tight end ...
Clarington has ideal size for the tight end position, with great length. And he has the desire to run down the field for big catches and contend for balls in the red zone. He told me in the past that he thinks of himself as a receiver. In college, however, if Clarington plays tight end, he will need to work on the primary two responsibilities of a tight end: getting open on short, underneath routes that require precise route running and quick changes of direction, and blocking. Clarington does very little of either of those things in high school, as he lines up as a receiver. And the competition he will face in college will be much better than what he faces in his low division of high school football.
That's not to say that Clarington won't be able to do those things, but rather that he is more raw as a tight end than his lofty ranking might suggest. It may take a while before he can be a dominant tight end.
As a defensive end ...
I prefer Clarington as a defensive end. He seems to play with greater toughness and aggressiveness at the position. And I love his length for the spot, with the frame to add 20 or 30 pounds of muscle. He shows excellent burst off the edge and could turn into a very good pass-rusher.