UA-59049186-1 Michigan Team 137 Preview: Tight End - Good if it Goes

Michigan Team 137 Preview: Tight End

Back from last year (click to pump up the chart)

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Projected starter: Jake Butt (Y)

Could make an impact: Khalid Hill (H), Tyrone Wheatley, Jr. (Y), Ian Bunting (Y), Devin Asiasi (Y)

Watch out for next year: Hill, Wheatley, Jr., Bunting, Asiasi, Nick Eubanks (Y), Sean McKeon (Y), Zach Gentry (Y)

So there are some guys here. Harbaugh’s made it clear he loves TEs; there are a lot of them and there’s a lot to like about them.

Jake Butt is back for his senior year after a junior campaign good enough to earn the Mackey Award. For some reason, he wasn’t even a finalist, a move that should have triggered a required drug test for the award committee. While not the greatest blocker alive, he more than holds his own. His real strength though, is as a receiver. Sure-handed with a big frame and the ability to go up and get a ball, Butt was outstanding in the passing game a year ago. Expect a repeat performance followed by having his name called on one of the first two days of next year’s NFL Draft.

Redshirt junior Khalid Hill took on more of a blocking role last year, a role which he generally performed well. I expect to see him get some more snaps this year and probably a few more passes thrown his way. He should see some snaps at fullback as well.

Redshirt freshman Tyrone Wheatley, Jr. was rumored to be headed for both lines at one point or another, but he’s sticking at tight end and there’s a fair amount of buzz around him. Large enough and a good enough blocker that a move to OL was a serious rumor, Wheatley Jr. also has decent speed, especially for his size.

Redshirt sophomore Ian Bunting has displayed fine receiving skills, but not so much in the way of blocking. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t play a bigger role this year than he did last year, but next year’s really when he could take that next step with Butt in the NFL. “Butt-lite” is in play for Bunting.

Freshman Devin Asiasi was a pleasant Signing Day surprise. He’s got the size and skill to see a handful of snaps right away, but I’m hoping he redshirts because Michigan can afford to do so with as many good-to-great options as they have at the position. Adept as both a blocker and receiver, albeit a not-particularly-speedy one, Asiasi’s an exciting prospect.

Freshman Nick Eubanks will redshirt this year and put on some size, before potentially becoming a receiving option next year. Blocking’s a work in progress.

Freshman Sean McKeon looks like a potential sleeper to me. His Hudl film showed some very nice receiving skills. He’ll redshirt this year to add size and work on blocking technique.

Redshirt freshman Zach Gentry came to Ann Arbor as a QB, but has since moved to TE since there are enough options now and in the next few years at QB that it wasn’t a slam dunk that Gentry would actually play there and he’s 6’7 and pretty athletic, so you might as well try to get him on the field somewhere. What he can do at the position remains to be seen, but betting against either Harbaugh here seems unwise.

Michigan also has redshirt senior walk-on Michael Jocz. He saw only a smattering of snaps a year ago and was just okay on those snaps. I wouldn’t expect anything more than that this year.

Twitter: @KSchroeder_312

E-mail: schroeder.giig@gmail.com

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