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Former Michigan tight end Jake Butt is confident he'll be ready to play this season for the Denver Broncos despite suffering a right ACL tear in late December.

Former Michigan TE Jake Butt believes he’ll play this season, what 11 NFL draft picks mean for the Wolverines and more

Kevin Goheen

Wake up, University of Michigan fans, and welcome to Breakfast of Victors, Land of 10’s daily morning briefing of Wolverines athletics. We’ll get your weekdays started with all the latest Michigan news, notes and insights. Our goal is to bring you closer to the Maize and Blue, your favorite team.

Today is Monday, May 1, 2017, and here’s your Breakfast of Victors …


Eighteen former Michigan players received calls from NFL teams over the weekend, either as a draft choice or shortly thereafter as an undrafted free agent. The NFL formerly had 17-round drafts, and the most Wolverines ever selected in one year then was 10.

The Denver Broncos might have gotten the best pick of the bunch when they selected tight end Jake Butt with the first selection of the fifth round. Butt has the type of talent that could have seen him taken in the second round, maybe even the late first round. The injury to his right ACL, which happened against Florida State in the Orange Bowl, pushed him down teams’ draft boards.

Butt wasn’t able to do drills at the NFL combine or during Michigan’s pro day, but his game tape was enough to convince the Broncos to take a chance on him. It’s the second right ACL injury he’s suffered in his career; he tore it in offseason workouts in 2014. That experience has him optimistic about being able to play this season.

“That is ambitious, and last time when I tore my ACL the first time around, they told me, ‘You’re probably going to get redshirted or you won’t play until Big Ten season,’ ” Butt told Denver-area media in a conference call on Saturday. “I said, ‘You know what, you guys can think that.’ I ended up playing in Week 2, so I’ve always been ambitious. I think that’s what helps me unlock my full potential — setting goals that many people might think are crazy and then going out there and doing it.”

The Broncos have a history of taking chances with players coming off ACL injuries. Quarterback and Northwestern alum Trevor Siemian was recovering from such an injury when Denver took him in the seventh round of the 2015 NFL Draft. They chose former Ohio State tight end Jeff Heuerman in the fifth round the same year.

Taking notice

Land of 10’s Rachel Lenzi took a look at how Jim Harbaugh spoke last October about the possibility of double-digit draft picks. That prediction coming to fruition boasts of the player development aspect of Michigan’s staff, which is a big selling point to any recruit.

Jabrill Peppers was the third-ranked player in the Class of 2014, per the 247Sports composite rankings, but defensive tackle Ryan Glasgow (walk-on, unranked 2012) and wide receiver Jehu Chesson (No. 639, 2012) were fourth-round picks. When Harbaugh or any of his assistants meet prospective recruits and say playing at Michigan will give them a chance at the next level, they have credibility.

Baseball bounces back

The Wolverines baseball team beat Rutgers, 8-3, on Sunday to take two of three games in the weekend series in New Jersey. Michigan dropped the series opener on Friday, 12-5, when Rutgers scored 8 runs in the final three innings.

The Michigan bullpen pitched eight shutout innings in the final two games, allowing 2 hits in the process.

Breakfast links

  • Having Rome withdrawal? Land of 10’s Sean Keeler offers his wrap-up from Michigan’s weeklong trip.
  • Former Michigan shortstop Jake Cronenworth is having a good season for Class A Port Charlotte (Tampa Bay). He’s hitting .388 with a .490 on-base percentage and .506 slugging percentage through the first month of the season. And, oh, he has a 24-game hitting streak.
  • The men’s and women’s  tennis teams finished second in the Big Ten tournament this weekend. The NCAA will announce its tournament pairings on Tuesday.