Michigan has seen recent success in developing talented tight ends under Jim Harbaugh, with the most recent example being Mackey Award winner Jake Butt, who’s now playing for the Denver Broncos.
Their current roster includes several top 15 ranked tight ends from their respective recruiting class — Ian Bunting (rated No. 12 in 2014), Tyrone Wheatley Jr. (rated No. 12 in 2015), and Nick Eubanks (rated No. 11 in 2016).
The future in Ann Arbor may see the best tight ends in the country
Over the next few years, an improved offense overall will be the main focus for Michigan to accompany their dominating defense. The next two recruiting classes could include the top-rated tight ends in the country, according to 247Sports.
The 2019 top-rated tight end, Hudson Henry, visited Michigan last week. We caught up with him and recapped his trip, which exceeded his expectations.
Michigan linebackers coach Al Washington made a visit last Friday to Covington Catholic in Northern Kentucky to visit the top-rated tight end in the 2020 class, Michael Mayer, after being offered a scholarship earlier that day by the Wolverines.
Honored and excited to say I have received an offer from The University of Michigan. #Wolverines pic.twitter.com/TsIU1gGpZN— Michael Mayer (@MMayer1001) January 26, 2018
A Quick Rise To The Top
Mayer’s recent 247Sports Composite ranking lists him as the highest-rated tight end, third highest player in Kentucky and 112th overall recruit in the 2020 class. He also has several offers since December, which include Notre Dame, Minnesota, Cincinnati, Louisville, Kentucky and Purdue. He was also rated the top in-state player for the 2020 class, according to Kentucky Preps.
Maize n Brew caught up with Michael to ask him about his Michigan offer, but also what he’s looking for in a school based on his position.
“The Michigan offer meant a lot to me because I grew up watching Michigan football,” Mayer said. “I was not a big fan, but they were always on TV and always having good seasons after good seasons each year. I found out about (the offer) this Friday around sometime in the morning.
“I thought Coach Washington was very professional and could relate to a regular high school kid. He told me Coach Harbaugh has produced amazing tight ends that become huge players in the NFL.”
As a sophomore playing at Covington Catholic, he’s seen a lot of playing time already with one of the best teams in Kentucky. Mayer explained what the Michigan staff saw in his game that led to an offer. “They love people who can put the hand in the dirt and block, and run a go route and catch a touchdown. They loved my highlights and my toughness.”
Since he’s already received seven offers since December and likely many more to follow, he’s going to evaluate the group of schools and see what will make the best fit for him.
“My deciding factors will definitely be the style of offense the school plays,” he said. “I would like the tight ends to be very involved in the offense, both blocking and catching passes.”
Mayer visited Notre Dame this past weekend but also plans on visiting Michigan sometime in February. He is not sure yet on a timeline or when he’ll decide, but he has plenty of time to evaluate everything. “I have no idea when I will be making a decision, but it will probably not be coming soon.”
From The Eyes of His Head Coach
We also caught up with Michael’s high school head coach, Eddie Eviston, to get his perspective of Mayer’s talent level. He was also recently part of the Pro Bowl as a finalist for the National High School Coach of the Year. Eviston explained how Michael has excelled so quick at that level and what’s impressed him the most overall.
“How far along he has come in one year playing at the varsity level.” Eviston said. “For a kid who is somewhat new to the game, he really picked up the nuances that the game has quickly. His run and perimeter blocking has improved tremendously from the beginning of August. We knew he could do it, but he needed some coaching up on technique and then an overall understanding of the playbook. Once he worked on that, he became pretty dominant as a blocker.”
Coach Eviston added what kind of tight end and competitive player Michael has become with still two more years to develop and I asked if he’s the best tight end he’s ever coached before.
“Yes. (Mayer) has the potential to be the most talented tight end I’ve coached,” Eviston said. “He had a really good tight end that he shared time with this season, but Michael’s upside is tremendous. He is just so athletic and agile, plus with his size he is such a weapon. He high points the ball well, has soft hands, great feet, and I already mentioned his blocking prowess.”
Because of how quick he’s risen to the top of the 2020 class overall, Eviston shared why he’s been able to, which is not a huge surprise to him.
“The number one thing that I have seen in (Mayer’s) game that will continue to make him a special player is his competitive spirit,” Eviston said. “The kid does not like to lose and competes at a very high level. Michael is a quiet kid for the most part, but he makes a lot of noise with the way he plays the game. I have no doubt he will continue to work his tail off to make sure he is becoming a better player each and everyday.”
Winning and Football Success Is In His Blood
Michael was also part of the Kentucky Class 5A State Championship team this past fall with his older brother at quarterback. AJ Mayer recently signed his letter of intent with Miami (OH), where he will compete with Michigan quarterback transfer Alex Malzone.
The Mayer brother duo generated some impressive numbers this past fall playing together that ended with in an undefeated season and Kentucky state title.
144-for-223 pass attempts
43 total touchdowns (33 passing/10 rushing)
2766 total yards (2438 passing/328 rushing)
Michael will be one player in the 2020 class overall that many schools will keep an eye on going forward.
Follow David Noe on Twitter @DavidRNoe for everything and anything Michigan football.