The Texas Longhorns continue to raid Tuscaloosa and added another talented former member of the Alabama Crimson Tide football team with the addition of rising junior tight end Amari Niblack, who committed via Instagram on Thursday evening while on a visit to the Forty Acres.
Niblack was announced as a Texas signee on Saturday morning. He’s on campus for the spring semester.
Welcome to the Forty Acres, Amari Niblack! pic.twitter.com/igKTUb6Kpv— Texas Football (@TexasFootball) January 20, 2024
Texas needed to add a playmaking tight end with Ja’Tavion Sanders declaring for the NFL Draft and found what they were looking for in the 6’4, 233-pound pass catcher. The top tight end in the transfer portal and a former top-100 recruit out of Lakewood (Fla.) High School, Niblack is another versatile threat for Steve Sarkisian’s offense, which thrived on the mismatch created by the tight end in 2023.
Niblack likely steps in as the top tight end in the room, with Gunnar Helm set to play another key, albeit different, role at the tight end spot.
The Longhorns continue to take advantage of Nick Saban’s surprise retirement, with Niblack joining former teammates Isaiah Bond and Kendrick Blackshire on the move from Tuscaloosa to Austin. Overall this offseason, Texas has looked for quality, not quantity, in the transfer portal, with four of their seven transfer additions ranking in the top 25 of 247 Transfer Ratings — with Niblack and Bond representing the top players at their respective positions.
Analysis (by Daniel Seahorn):
Amari Niblack is a name that should ring a bell for Texas fans. If you are struggling to recall the name and his significance, allow me to jog your memory a bit.
When I was watching that play live, I was asking who the hell that guy was, how did he get that open, and how was he able to slice through Texas’ secondary seemingly with ease in that situation. I was not at all familiar with Niblack’s game at the time, but that catch and run for a touchdown definitely put me on notice a bit. I didn’t expect my observations from that game would become relevant in this context, but here we are. Played in 14 games in 2023 for Alabama and logged four starts. Logged 20 catches for 327 yards (16.35 YPC) and four touchdowns. Can make an easy case for him being underutilized with those limited numbers. Niblack possesses good size at his listed 6’4, 233 pounds and he carries the weight very well with an athletic, muscular frame. When I saw him running around out there I was deceived by his movements and size and thought he was actually a wide receiver for Alabama, which should give you an idea of how profiles athletically. Fits the mold of your prototypical move/flex tight end. Easy and fluid mover that accelerates well for his size and can deceive you a bit at first glance. Possesses a basketball background that shows up on tape with how he attacks the ball in the air. Shows the ability to snatch the ball out of the air away from his body with strong hands. Has the ability to be a seam stretcher for an offense and is the caliber athlete you have to account for on intermediate and deep routes.
Showed against Texas early in the year, that he can find the hole in the zone and will flash his numbers to the quarterback. Has the potential to be a problem after the catch as we saw in the Texas game. While he lines up attached to the LOS at times, he’s a bit of an unknown as an in-line blocker. That is something that will have to be figured out a bit during the spring period since it is something that Steve Sarkisian and Jeff Banks will certainly ask of him. With Ja’Tavion Sanders on the way to the NFL, you needed to find a way to replace his production heading into 2024. I’m not saying Niblack will be Sanders, who is likely to be an early draft pick later this spring, but he has the potential and skillset to be a problem in Sarkisian’s offense. Pairing Niblack up with Gunnar Helm gives Texas a very formidable 1-2 punch at the tight end position heading into next year and will allow Sarkisian to continue attacking defenses aggressively and creatively.