|Erick Lehman/Maize and Blue Nation|
Maize and Blue Nation Football Writer Erick Lehman will be writing multiple Spring Game previews, and releasing new position group previews each day leading into the game. The Spring Game is scheduled for Friday April 1, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. and will be held at Michigan Stadium. The previews are looking into the Spring Game and will not account for incoming recruits who have not yet joined the team.
Groups already previewed:
Groups already previewed:
The wide receivers and tight ends for the Michigan Football team this year will look very familiar.
That’s because the Wolverines, like many other position groups, return virtually everybody from last season.
The Wolverines saw career highs from Jehu Chesson, Amarah Darboh, and Jake Butt, and will likely see all three set career high numbers again this season.
What could change however, is the supporting cast behind the top three pass catchers on the roster.
Grant Perry had an up and down season catching the ball last year, but showed progression in the bowl game. While Drake Harris never really got much of a chance.
The Wolverines also welcomed in early enrollee Ahmir Mitchell, who has a lot to prove wearing that famous #2 uniform this season.
The Spring Game will be telling for these three, and should show who gets majority of the reps at the slot receiver position this season.
All three of those guys have speed, and Mitchell and Harris bring the size as they are 6’3 and 6’4, respectively. All three of them could see a lot of time, and switch in and out, but what they can do on Friday is going to be huge.
The pass catchers on this team will be with a quarterback that takes a few more chances than Rudock did last year, and most likely a quarterback with a much stronger arm, whether it be John O’Korn or Wilton Speight.
At tight end, it’s much of the same as wide receiver. Like wide out, we know that Chesson and Darboh are your top two, with tight end we know Butt will be the top guy.
But who gets majority of the reps besides Butt?
That could be decided on Friday.
Khalid Hill moved to fullback, so the likely top option at the end of last season to play the second tight end is out.
The Wolverines will have Ty Wheatley Jr., Zach Gentry, who moved from quarterback, and Ian Bunting.
All three of those players have the size, as Wheatley is the shortest at 6’6, but weighs in at 280, according to MGoBlue.
The key in figuring out who plays behind Butt is going to be what situations Wheatley plays in. With his size, he is likely to be a blocking tight end, opening up a spot for Bunting or Gentry to catch some passes.
Watch on Friday where Wheatley lines up, and if he is predominantly in the game for run plays, as that will be a major indicator on what to expect from the second, third, and fourth tight ends this season.