Nick O’Leary May Not Be The Only FSU TE Drafted


Two very talented tight ends are available in the 2015 NFL Draft that began their collegiate careers with the Florida State Seminoles. Nick O’Leary is ranked as a top five tight end prospect and was part of schools 2013-14 National Championship team and earned invitations to both the 2015 Reese’s Senior Bowl (did not play) and NFL Scouting Combine.

Former ‘Noles tight end Will Tye transferred to Stony Brook after two seasons in Tallahassee.

“I wasn’t mad,” said Will Tye when asked about the school he left winning the National Championship following his departure. “If anything I was excited because that was my senior class and I was happy for them.”

The decision may have shocked some since Tye grew up cheering for the Seminoles as a kid. He idolized Deion Sanders (FSU alum), so the idea of him leaving Tallahassee may have struck some as strange. After an illustrious career at Salisbury High School where he ranked sixth overall in the entire state (Connecticut) and as the No. 19 tight end in the nation by Scout.com. Playing for FSU seemed at the time a long term plan.

Eventually, Tye would spend two years in Tallahassee under head coach Jimbo Fisher. Limited playing time and a deep group of tight ends (including O’Leary) led him to look elsewhere for a place to get on field more. After one catch for seven yards over the course of his Seminoles career, Tye made the decision official and looked to build his career at Stony Brook.

He quickly established himself in the Seawolves’ offensive scheme. In his first season at Stony Brook he finished second on the team in catches (45) and touchdowns (4), and third in receiving yards (520). Tye found himself doubled-teamed a lot in his second season, but still managed 35 receptions for 495 yards and a career high five touchdowns in the teams’ run first oriented offense. He earned second team All-Colonial Athletic Association football honors his senior season.  Although his numbers were modest, he did account for 27 percent of the team’s passing yards finishing second in all categories. Tye also was the Seawolves leading punt returner with 106 yards on 21 punts.  Again, not exactly eye popping numbers, but the fact that he did it is the impressive thing to put into perspective.

Wrap your head around this for a minute.

Tye is 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds, which far from the protypical size for any punt returner at any level of football. Selfless to help the team and an appetite for the football Tye made the most of it and pulled double duty for Stony Brook.

“My first year,” said Tye. “I told coach I’ll do it (return punts). I mean I did it in high school and I wasn’t scared and it was a chance for me to get the ball in my hands more.”

Tye grew up playing both football and basketball but said as he became heavier he knew that receiver was out of the question and his transition to tight end was as smooth as his route running. San Diego Chargers Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates left Kent State as a star basketball and emerged later to become one of the best players at the position the NFL has ever seen.  Since then the tight end position is now laced with standout prospects with a heavy contribution of basketball on their football resume.

“Speed and catching ability,” are two attributes scouts will see about him, Tye said.

NFL Scouts did not need film only their stopwatches when they clocked his amazing 4.49 and 4.51 40-yard dashes at 260 pounds. Even before his mind blowing forty-time he already had one NFL visit.

“I didn’t know too many people to have a workout before Pro Day,” said Tye. “Now they are starting to come more and more (NFL visits) things are going well.”

The days are trickling down to April 30, when the first round of the NFL Draft begins at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago. It might be the final day of the NFL Draft on Saturday before Tye hears his own name, but the smart money is on O’Leary not being alone in the category of former Florida State tight ends being drafted in 2015.

About Bo Marchionte

Bo Marchionte

Bo Marchionte is an NFL writer for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade. His background includes being staff for the Texas vs. The Nation All-Star game as a talent evaluator for player personnel along with an internship scouting with the Toronto Argonauts and Winnipeg Blue Bombers for the Canadian Football League. Bo’s draft background includes working for the NFL Draft Bible and currently owns and operates College2Pro.com. He has done radio spots on NBC, Fox Sports and ESPN and their affiliates in different markets around the country. Bo covers the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Panthers along with other colleges in the northeast.