Star running back Saquon Barkley might have earned most of the attention at Penn State but in terms of historical numbers and mismatch ability, Gesicki took a back seat to no one, leaving Happy Valley as simply the school's all-time leader in receptions (129), receiving yards (1,481) and receiving touchdowns (15), among tight ends.
A phenomenal prep athlete who earned 12 letters in three different sports, Gesicki isn't used to sharing the spotlight and it didn't take him long to steal it for the Nittany Lions. He emerged as a starter as a true freshman, splitting duty with Adam Brenneman (himself a 2018 NFL prospect who wound up transferring to Massachusetts), catching at least one pass in eight of 13 games in his first season on campus and building upon his production as a sophomore, despite inconsistent play from then-starting quarterback Christian Hackenberg.
While Gesicki had shown flashes his first two years on campus, he broke out in a big way as a junior, leading all Big Ten tight ends with 48 receptions for what wound up being a career-high 679 receiving yards, as well as five touchdowns. He earned Second Team All-Big Ten honors for his success in part because of his gaudy 14.9 yard per catch average as well as developing a reputation for making acrobatic catches, including for touchdowns against Michigan State, Wisconsin and USC in the Rose Bowl to cap the season.
As it turns out, Gesicki's junior campaign was just preview of things to come. He shattered the school's single-season record for touchdowns by a tight end by hauling in nine among his career-high 57 passes for 563 yards. Gesiscki, who was named First Team All-Big Ten by the media (Second Team by the coaches) was one of three finalists for the Mackey Award as the nation's top tight end and lived up to his billing with a splashy showing during the Senior Bowl, emerging as arguably the biggest mismatch in the passing game invited at the prestigious all-star game, regardless of position.
Was one of the nation's most highly-touted tight end prospects after earning four varsity letters for coach Chuck Donahue at Southern Regional High School...Ended his superlative career as the Rams' all-time leading receiver with 1,817 yards on 103 receptions, with 16 touchdown catches...As a senior, made 33 catches for 530 yards and four scores to garner Under Armour All-America, all-state and first-team All-Shore honors...Played in the U.S. Army All-American Game following his senior season...His junior season featured a NJSIAA state runner-up finish and 50 catches for 954 yards and nine TDs...Named first-team All-Shore as a junior... Rated as a four-star recruit by Rivals, Scout and 247Sports and a three-star prospect by ESPN...Rated as the top tight end recruit in the class of 2014 by 247Sports and was a Top 15 tight end prospect nationally according to ESPN, Rivals and Scout...Also was rated a Top 15 recruit in the state of New Jersey by ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports...A prep basketball and volleyball standout, earning a total of 12 letters in the three sports...Ended his career as the Rams' all-time leading scorer in basketball (1,867 points)...Named MVP of the East/West Basketball All-Star Game and was the champion of the 2014 state dunk contest...Helped Southern Regional to the NJSIAA State Championship...Was named the 2013 New Jersey Player of the Year.
Gesicki offers rare coordination and acceleration for a man of with his dimensions, which includes a prototypical blend of height, long arms (34") and a tapered, athletic frame. He glides off the snap, smoothly accelerating into his route and showing excellent body control and savvy as a route-runner at the stem to shake safeties, consistently creating separation. Gesicki scoops the ball with natural hands, never allowing it inside to his pads or to where the defender might be able to reach around him to bat it away. He possesses impressive flexibility for a tight end, showing a huge catch radius with catches hauled thrown low, high and outside, including behind him. He can contort in the air to make the circus catch and shows very good agility, leaping ability and competitiveness to generate yards after the reception, lowering his shoulder and keeping his legs driving through contact. While lacking prototypical size for an in-line role, Gesicki's competitiveness also comes into play as a blocker. He is alert and physical at the point of attack, bending at the knees and looking to initiate contact and working to sustain. -- Rob Rang 2/2/2018
Gesicki could be seen as a bit of a 'tweener as he does not possess the strength to consistently create movement at the point of attack as an in-line blocker and, while a smooth accelerator, may not possess the straight-line speed preferred as a full-time receiver. He was rarely pressed at the college level and will need to work on gaining a clean release with many of his touches manufactured out of the wing... Though he has no known injury concerns, Gesicki possesses a relatively gangly frame and shows no fear in leaping and contorting in space, leaving his long limbs in danger of some ugly hits which could result in injury. - Rob Rang 2/2/2018
Zach Ertz, Eagles - This isn't a perfect comparison because at 6-5, 250 pounds Ertz has a little bit more of a traditional compact tight end frame and Gesicki is both longer and more agile. What makes them similar is more important than what makes them different, however. Each possess the athleticism and route-running savvy to consistently create separation (whether split wide, in-line or on the wing), as well as soft hands and enough strength and competitiveness to help as blockers. Like Ertz, (picked 35th overall in 2013), Gesicki is a likely Day Two pick who may wind up playing like a first rounder.
IN OUR VIEW
Gesicki did most of his work as a massive slot receiver or on the wing but also saw out of the traditional in-line position. Regardless of where he lined up, his ability to create separation and haul in passes made him a matchup nightmare for opponents. The savviest route-runner of this year's tight end class, don't be surprised when Gesicki hears his name called (and enjoys success in the NFL) earlier than most project.