CFSL Mount Rushmores: Tight Ends

Ryan Moreland · January 5, 2024


By: Ryan Moreland (@ryanmoreland)

Our last stop on the offensive side of the football is the often-overlooked tight ends. Despite not getting the attention that other offensive players get, there have been a few in CFSL that have made a name for themselves. None more so than the four names that made our list.

Once again I would like to thank the Content Team, especially Danie Gunn, for their help in making these lists possible. Let’s dive in.

Cadbury Wellington

It will shock no one to find out that ‘Beef’ was a uniamous selection to the TE Mt Rushmore. Wellington is considered by many to be the GOAT tight end. This is for good reason. No tight end has ever amassed more receiving yards or receiving touchdowns. He was an obvious choice for this list.

The two-time All-American also won Offensive Player of the Year and Most Outstanding Senior last season. He was the first tight end to ever win either award. Wellington spent his entire career with North Carolina where he caught for 2,999 yards and 22 touchdowns.

The impact that Wellington had on the CFSL is game-changing. There is a renewed interest in the position after he demonstrated what was possible. The next wave of tight ends in our league will all be doing their best impression of Beef. For all of these reasons (and more), Cadbury Wellington belongs on the CFSL TE Mount Rushmore.

Conner Stephens

Illinois TE Conner Stephens celebrates in the endzone after getting the score.

If you look up dependable in the dictionary you will see a picture of Conner Stephens. Few players in the position have ever been as consistently reliable as him. The Clemson and Illinois great was one vote away from a uniamous choice for our list and he earned that spot.

Stephens was the only tight end considered who never won an All-American award. But that didn’t stop him from having the second-highest percentage of votes. Despite having one of the lowest receptions totals among TEs we considered, Stephens had the second-most career touchdowns and fifth-most yards. He also had the most yards per catch of any tight end in the voting.

Stephens became one of the first star players in Illinois history thanks to his ability to stretch the field and his nose for the endzone. He may not have gotten his flowers in his playing days, but he will get them here. Congrats to the Illini legend.

Derrick Gray

Hawaii TE Derrick Gray flew through the air to make a touchdown snag.

Many of you might not be familiar with the name Derrick Gray. If you are, you have been around the league for a long time. Gray started his career in Season 1 and was the first true star tight end in the CFSL. Many may have forgotten his accomplishments, but he absolutely belongs on this list.

The first ever All-American tight end played for Hawaii and Washington. In four seasons he never had worse than 647 yards. Only one other TE can make that claim (more on him later). That steady production netted him 2,919 receiving yards, which is the second-most of any tight end ever. He also found the endzone 13 times (tied for fourth most by a TE).

The elder statesman of tight ends had an amazing career that deserves to be remembered. I hope his addition to this list will make sure he is his. Congrats to the prototypical star tight end.

Jackson James

If Gray was the first superstar tight end, then James was the second. The Longhorn legend joined the CFSL in Season 3 and spent all three seasons of his career with Texas. James put up huge numbers throughout his career, some of which still haven’t been matched.

James is one of two players to be a two-time All-American TE (the other being Wellington). He is the only TE to ever have 100 receptions in a season. His yardage and touchdown numbers are the third-best among tight ends. He managed all of this while playing one less season than everyone else on this list.

Talking about James will also come with the question of what if. Where would he stand if he had played a senior season? While we will never know that, we do know that what he managed in his three seasons was good enough to make the Mount Rushmore of TEs. Congrats James, and sorry we didn’t have a picture on file for you.


Join the CFSL. Create your legacy.

Get Started