Numbers may never lie, but in the case of Spring Dekaney tight end Malcolm Epps, they hardly tell the entire story.
Following a sophomore season in which Epps hauled in 21 receptions for 364 yards and five touchdowns while blossoming into a Power 5 prospect and ultimately, an Alabama commit, Epps’ junior season productivity plummeted to just 10 receptions for 129 yards. Consequently, Epps was voted as a 16-6A all-district second-team tight end selection while a pair of seniors that went on sign with a Division II school and junior college, respectively, earned first-team honors.
The fact remains, though, that Epps is among the nation’s elite 2018 tight end prospects, despite the unsavory stat line as a junior.
Flash back to the Nike The Opening regional in Houston on February 4. In what could also be considering an underwhelming testing effort, Epps recorded a 5.17 40-yard dash, 24.5-inch vertical leap and a total SPARQ score of 54.21, but it’s worth noting that the two-sport star was still amid basketball season and played a game the night before. Epps’ SPARQ score wasn’t the story of that event, though; his decommitment from Alabama was.
Just like that, one of the more dynamic tight ends in the nation was back on the market and to date, Epps has a top 10 of Texas, Texas A&M, Alabama, Florida State, UCLA, Michigan, Georgia, Ohio State, Florida and Rice. The Longhorns and Aggies have even offered Epps a basketball scholarship, as well.
So what will one of these programs ultimately land in Epps? In the most simplistic terms, he’s an elite physical prospect with legitimate star potential.
At 6’7, 225 pounds, Epps has excellent size and an ideal frame that can easily be built upon. Furthermore, Epps has a keen understanding of how to utilize his frame and length to shield off and create separation from defenders. That, along with a tremendous catch radius and big, reliable hands to pluck the ball out of the air at its highest point should allow Epps to develop into a dream red zone target at the next level.
Considering his size, Epps will typically have a four-to- five-inch height advantage over most cornerbacks and safeties and will win more than his share of jump-ball situations. Once he’s able to improve his top-end speed and tighten up his route running with some improved footwork, Epps shouldn’t have much of an issue creating separation from your typical linebacker, either, which means the potential to emerge as a walking mismatch in college is there for the taking.
A prospect that can be utilized as a flex receiver or put his hand in the dirt, Epps is also a capable and willing as a blocker and should become quite effective in the run game once he bulks up a bit more. In any case, Epps is a pass-catcher by trade and will become a weapon in someone’s system at the next level, whether it be under Tom Herman, Kevin Sumlin, Nick Saban, or whoever.
The Longhorns are currently considered the favorite to land Epps’ second commitment, holding five of his six Crystal Ball projections. Epps is ranked as the nation’s No. 146 player, No. 6 tight end and the No. 17 player in Texas, according to 247Sports Composite.
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