Week one of college football is now in the books and what a weekend it was. There were so many exciting games that made the seven months of waiting this offseason all worth it. From Ohio State’s victory over Minnesota on Thursday night all the way to Ole Miss’ dismantling of Louisville Monday evening, it was certainly quite the weekend for college football fans far and wide.
For us scouts, the early-season games are an excellent opportunity to watch the players we studied over the summer and see where they're at in their development. We can gauge their body types and see if they have added additional mass or have grown taller. Oftentimes, the players we like prove us right in our decision to have them ranked highly after summer scouting. On the other hand, there are players who don’t play as well as we might have had them listed. Then there are those players we might have completely overlooked who quickly put themselves on our radar. Through two games this season, perhaps no player has been a better example of that than UCLA tight end Greg Dulcich.
Dulcich entered the 2021 season as one of the best-kept secrets in all of college football. A former walk-on receiver with very little interest coming out of high school, Dulcich has quickly developed into one of the best tight end prospects in this upcoming class. In 2020, Dulcich enjoyed a breakout season in which he recorded 26 receptions for 517 receiving yards and five touchdowns. His 73.9 yards per game ranked sixth in the Pac-12 and he was voted Second-Team All-Pac-12.
Yet, with these stats and accolades, he was still very much an unknown heading into the season. The reason for that is hard to pin down. Could it be simply because he plays for UCLA and the program has been irrelevant over the last decade? Could it also be because he plays in a Chip Kelly offense that has a stigma of being a soft, pass-happy offense that allows for easy and manufactured production? Again, I don’t have the answers to that question, but I do know Dulcich is no longer being overlooked.
As a prospect, Dulcich has everything you look for as a receiving tight end. He has excellent size at 6-foot-4 and 245 pounds and is extremely smooth and athletic. Dulcich has very good speed and has shown to be a very technical route-runner. He flashes natural hands and body control and is a threat with the ball in his hands after the catch. Truly, he is one of the best receiving tight ends in the country, as evidenced by his big game against LSU last Saturday where he put on a show by hauling in three passes for 115 yards for a touchdown. Now, as a former receiver, him excelling in the passing game shouldn’t shock anyone, but he has also been just as effective in the run game this season.
Dulcich has had to work his tail off both in the weight room and in the football field to finally transform into not just a receiving threat, but a well-rounded overall tight end. Transitioning from being a walk-on wide receiver to where he is now has been no easy feat.
Just a season and a half ago Dulcich was a 6-foot-4, 218-pound receiver just looking to find any sort of role within the UCLA football program. Then, thanks to a massive departure of tight ends at UCLA, he was asked to bulk up and learn a completely new position. Through weight training and eating a ton, Dulcich was successfully able to put on nearly 20 pounds of mass so he would be able to withstand the rigors of playing the tight end position. The issue for Dulcich was that even at his new playing weight, he still needed to learn the technicalities of playing the run as an in-line blocker. While he struggled a bit last season in this phase of the game, through two weeks he looks significantly more comfortable and is generating some good movement while also having very good awareness and timing.
It’s this rapid improvement that also makes Dulcich so intriguing. In scouting, we like to say the arrow is either pointing up or down as an indicator of whether we think a prospect is ascending or descending and with Dulcich, the arrow is pointing all the way up.
The 2022 tight end class may lack a true star such as Kyle Pitts, but it is a very talented group throughout. Players such as Alabama’s Jahleel Billingsley, Texas A&M’s Jalen Wydermyer, Ohio State’s Jeremy Ruckert, and Washington’s Cade Otton have all shown enough on tape to warrant day-two picks. While these players may have already piqued our interest heading into the season, through two games, Dulcich not only has our interest, but he also has our attention.