Michigan football's Colston Loveland named best tight end in college football by PFF

Loveland Is Poised to Have a Stellar 2024 Campaign
2024 CFP National Championship - Michigan v Washington
2024 CFP National Championship - Michigan v Washington / Aaron J. Thornton/GettyImages

Like many Michigan football fans, Max Chadwick of PFF is extremely high on Colston Loveland next season, ranking him as the top returning tight end in all of college football.

And why not? As a sophomore last year he caught 45 passes for 649 yards and 4 touchdowns. This was a marked improvement over a very good freshman year when many could already see that he was going to be an impact player. 

He was second on the team in receiving yards and had the most yards for a Michigan football tight end since Jake Butt in 2015. PFF notes that Loveland had an 88.7% open-target rate in 2023 which put him in elite company at the 97th percentile for all tight ends in the country. 

These are very important statistics that get to a deeper point that will be at the forefront of Michigan’s offense in 2024. The team will have a new quarterback who will either be very young and inexperienced, like Alex Orji or Jayden Denegal, or it could be someone like Jack Tuttle, a veteran who has experience but not necessarily all of the physical tools to excel as the Wolverines’ signal caller. 

Either way, there are two positions that are of critical importance to the rhythm and continuity of any passing offense that lacks a high caliber quarterback: running back and tight end. Running backs like Donovan Edwards get open for short, easy passes and then use their athletic ability to get tough yards. Tight ends, especially big, physical, athletic tight ends like Loveland use their size to generate mismatches and give their quarterbacks a safety blanket for high percentage throws when things don’t open up downfield. 

Yes, fans and quarterbacks alike salivate for wide receivers that can burn secondaries deep or make circus catches. But, in all honesty, Michigan’s roster isn’t going to lend itself to that type of passing attack, and that’s no slight on Semaj Morgan or Tyler Morris, who are both good receivers, but who are also young and far less proven than Loveland.


It’s more of an admission that whoever is at quarterback next year is going to go through growing pains and tough stretches. And when that happens, whoever is throwing the ball for Michigan football is going to thank their lucky stars they have Colston Loveland getting open down the field.