Jim Harbaugh has gotten a lot out of his tight ends with Michigan football but who will emerge in 2020 on top of Nick Eubanks?
The tight end position has been a strength of Michigan football‘s offense under Jim Harbaugh. He made it a point of emphasis and players have had lots of success.
Michigan’s tight end room is taking on a different look in 2020. Sean Mckeon took his talents to the NFL and Mustapha Muhammad transferred to Houston. Nick Eubanks, Luke Schoonmaker, and Erick All are all returning. Matthew Hibner is the newcomer in the group.
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Nick Eubanks took a flyer from the NFL but decided to return for his fifth season in an attempt to improve his draft stock.
The fifth-year senior should get a lions share of the playing time after having 25 catches last season and proving that he could be a threat in the passing game.
After Eubanks, there is a lot of youth at the position. The rest of the tight ends on the roster have combined for three catches. Schoonmaker and All have impressed in limited time but who will make the jump with increased playing time?
Schoonmaker has contributed mostly on special teams in his first two seasons. He caught his first career pass last season against Rutgers. His first touchdown came later in the season against Illinois.
Josh Gattis has a knack for bringing the most out of his skill position players by creating mismatches. Schoonmaker will be a direct recipient of Gattis’ play calling. If you watch his touchdown catch against Illinois last season, you can get a sense of how Gattis likes to use the tight ends. (skip to :13 for the play)
Erick All was a true freshman last season and saw time at tight end and special teams. The Fairfield, Ohio native hauled in his first career catch against Penn State. He put in the work as a freshman and now has the chance to take a big leap as a sophomore.
All is one of the most interesting pieces on offense and it will be interesting to see how Gattis plans to use him this season. If you remember, before last season, he was taking reps at wide receiver when DPJ and Collins were sidelined with injuries.
The possibilities are endless whether he has his hand in the dirt or if he is split out wide, he can be a match up nightmare in the RPO or beating opponents down the seam.
Opportunity is endless at the tight end position for the upcoming season. Eubanks will provide stability as a fifth year player that has been around the block. All and Schoonmaker will be expected to step up and provide more depth and play making at the position.
At the end of the season, we should look back on this group as one of the most improved positions on the team.