ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan senior TE Jake Butt has been one of the country’s best tight ends for the past two seasons.
On Saturday, the Wolverines’ most reliable pass target cemented his name in the lore of Michigan football. He became Michigan’s all-time leader for receiving yards by a tight end with a third-quarter catch. Butt caught a 15-yard pass from Wilton Speight to surpass Jim Mandich’s previous record of 1,489 yards. With 1,521 receiving yards in his four-year career, Butt is no longer a great Michigan tight end: he’s an all-time great Michigan tight end.
“It’s hard to take in at such a historic program like this,” Butt said of breaking the record. “I want the receptions and touchdown one now. But it’s not a one-man job … I have to thank my teammates, too — it’s been a team effort.”
Butt became a staple in Michigan’s offense in the latter part of his sophomore season under then-coach Brady Hoke in 2014.
Butt’s 654 yards in 2015 led tight ends in the Big Ten, and he finished with 51 receptions, the most in the country by a tight end last season.
He had the opportunity to forgo his senior season and enter the draft, but he returned to Michigan instead. It’s safe to say that decision has paid off as Michigan is 9-0 and just three wins from the Big Ten title game.
“It speaks to hard work,” Butt said. “Hank Aaron told us there’s no secret to success, it just comes down to hard work. We don’t want to let this opportunity slip through our fingers.”
Butt set a personal record on Saturday afternoon, but it’s obvious that he and the Wolverines are chasing much more than records. They’re chasing a championship.