Though Cincinnati's tight ends rarely earn the hype of their wideouts, the Bearcats are quietly developing a reputation as a producer of NFL talent at this position.
Travis, the younger brother of former Bearcat and current Philadelphia Eagle offensive guard Jason Kelce, looked like a future star while splitting time between tight end and Wildcat quarterback as a freshman, but ruined his chances at building on his early momentum by being suspended for the entire 2010 season for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
Though Adrien Robinson, who was selected in the fourth round this past April by the Super Bowl defending New York Giants, started ahead of Kelce in 2011, Kelce saw significant playing time and actually finished with one more catch (13) than Robinson.
Strengths: Balanced athlete with better wheels than expected, accelerating quickly to top speed. Deceiving quickness after the catch with loose hips and a fluid and flexible frame. Smooth and patient in his routes to release and gain separation. Catches the ball with his hands and does a nice job working back to the ball. Strong hands at the point of attack as a blocker and plays with a mean streak to eliminate defenders. Aggressive and feisty blocker who loves to finish, showing good awareness in this area to pick up his assignment and block anyone around him. Led the Bearcats in receiving in 2012 and more than tripled his career production. Works hard in the weight room and plays with NFL intensity. NFL bloodlines as the younger brother of Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce.
Weaknesses: Needs to stay under control in his movements and sometimes moves too fast for his own good. His focus can be hot/cold at times, running before securing the catch. Still new to the position after being recruited to Cincinnati as a quarterback and needs some technique work as a blocker. Has only one season as a starter. Missed all of the 2010 season due to a violation of team rules and his character needs to be investigated.
Compares To: Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Detroit Lions - Kelce flashes the ability to be an impact blocker and receiver at the next level, but like the Detroit Lions' Brandon Pettigrew, he will likely need some time to adapt at the NFL.
Kelce was one of the top tight ends in the country in 2012, earning First-Team All-BIG EAST honors and finishing as UC's leading receiver with 45 catches for 722 yards and eight scores. He set the UC single-season mark for receptions, yards receiving and touchdowns by a tight end. He caught the game winner in the 2012 Belk Bowl, hauling in an 83-yarder down the seam from QB Brendon Kay with under a minute left in the game. It was the longest scoring play and TD pass in Belk Bowl history.
Against USF (11/23) set the UC record for recieving yards by a tightend in a season after recording seven catches for 58 yards including a touchdown...tallied career high five catches for 50 yards against Rutgers (11/17)...had four catches for 37 yards against Temple (11/10) ... finished with four receptions including a career-high two touchdownsfor a team-best 77 yards vs. Syracuse (11/03) ... had two catches for 22 yards including a 19-yard grab vs. Louisville (10/26)...recorded three catches for 64 yards including a 46-yard long catch vs. Toledo (10/20)...had three catches for 101 yards and one touchdown vs. Fordham (10/12) ... 78-yard touchdown was a career-long reception ... scored fifth career touchdown vs. Miami (OH) (10/06), had 27 receiving yards ... recorded two catches for 47 yards vs. Virginia Tech (09/29) ... made first career solo tackle against Delaware State (09/14) ... in season opener vs. Pittsburgh (09/06), caught two balls for 42 yards.
Saw action in games as a tight end... recorded 13 catches totaling 150 yards and two touchdowns... had a season high three catches in a game for 29 yards against Vanderbilt (12/31)... had his longest catch of the season go for 30 yards and a touchdown against Miami (Ohio) (10/01).
Did not play during the 2010 season due to a violation of team rules.
Appeared in 11 games, playing at tight end and quarterback out of the Wildcat formation ... tallied eight rushes for 47 yards and two touchdowns along with one reception for three yards ... also added a tackle ... rushed three times for 18 yards and two scores in the season opener at Rutgers ... caught his first collegiate reception for three yards against Southeast Missouri State ... also added two rushes for four yards ... rushed twice against Fresno State, tallying six yards ... carried the ball once in the Allstate Sugar Bowl against Florida, grabbing a career-best 19 yards.
2010: Suspended for the entire season due to an undisclosed violation of team rules.
"That's all we're going to comment on," coach Butch Jones said.
Cleveland Heights High School... Three-year letterwinner at quarterback ... recognized with all-Lake Erie League honors after totaling 2,539 yards of total offense as a senior ... collected 1,016 yards rushing, including 10 touchdowns and 1,523 passing yards on 103-of-198 attempts, with 21 scores and eight interceptions in 2007 ... three-sport athlete for the Tigers ... coached by Jeff Rotsky.