‘The sky’s the limit’ for Michigan’s tight ends in 2018
During the week, Land of 10 reporters following the Wolverines answer questions on the minds of Michigan fans. Submit a question or suggest a topic by sending a tweet here to Rachel Lenzi or here to Kevin Goheen. Check back Monday through Friday as we answer the Michigan Question of the Day. Go here to see our previous answers.
What does the tight end position look like for Michigan? — Jimmy Bailey, via Facebook
Michigan will have plenty of depth at tight end as it closes spring practices. The Wolverines return their top two tight ends in Zach Gentry and Sean McKeon, and add two freshman to the mix this summer when Luke Schoonmaker and Mustapha Muhammad join the program.
Nick Eubanks will also return, after missing nine games in 2017 because of an elbow injury. So will Tyrone Wheatley Jr., who missed the spring practices because of surgery to repair a broken bone in his foot.
New position coach Sherrone Moore is optimistic about the diverse makeup of his group, given the tools each of his players has.
“The sky’s the limit,” Moore said. “Each kid presents a different issue for different defenses. All of them have their strengths, all of them have their weaknesses, but as a group they’re going to be really dangerous.”
Michigan’s tight ends became vital components in the offense in 2017, because Michigan’s production at wide receiver was underwhelming. Of Michigan’s 2,226 receiving yards, 27 percent came from Gentry and McKeon.
They combined for 48 catches for 604 yards and 5 touchdowns, and became the bright spots in a passing game that otherwise had little consistency last season, because of injuries to quarterbacks, the spotty play of the offensive line and inexperience at wide receivers.
Those wide receivers will be a year older, but the tight ends’ roles won’t diminish. Gentry is a converted quarterback who will continue to be a factor in the passing game. McKeon is a solid blocker. Eubanks’ versatility should help him gain a bigger role in blocking and in making plays. Wheatley can block, but his next step is to show he can catch the ball.
Meanwhile, the glut of the tight ends has helped Moore make a smooth transition in his new job. He joked that the only problem he had this spring was getting everyone’s names right, outside of the tight ends.
“I’m still learning,” Moore said, laughing. “I’ll be close, by the time we get to Paris.”
Read more answers to questions about the Michigan Wolverines here.