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Running down Michigan’s tight ends heading into the 2019 season

Is Michigan really five-deep at tight end?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 20 Michigan at Michigan State Photo by Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Michigan tight end position could be as deep as it’s been in quite some time. Offensive coordinator Josh Gattis eluded to that when he told the media “you could possibly say we’re five-deep at tight end.”

Keeping Gattis’ comment in mind, here’s a rundown of Michigan’s tight ends heading into the 2019 season.

The Top Dogs

Sean McKeon and Nick Eubanks

Gattis had high praise for McKeon and Eubanks earlier this month when he said “those two guys, I believe, are hands down the best tight ends in the country.” McKeon shed body fat to have more speed in the new spread system, and has reportedly been one of the most impressive players on offense during camp. Eubanks has also been playing at an unbelievable level according to Gattis. Both McKeon and Eubanks should have an uptick in receptions this season, McKeon had 14 in 2018 while Eubanks had 8.

Just because Michigan is moving to a pro-spread scheme it doesn’t mean the tight ends won’t be utilized aplenty, and as it currently stands McKeon and Eubanks are in line to receive the bulk of the snaps at the position.

“Coach Gattis trusts us to go and make a big play,” McKeon said early in camp. “He’s not afraid to have two tight ends out there even with all the receivers we have. Definitely gives us a lot of confidence he trusts us to make big plays.”

TE coach Sherrone Moore on McKeon: “Sean as a blocker has been really good as he’s always been but his receiving ability, catching the ball in traffic, making the hard catch, making competitive catches to the point where Khaleke (Hudson) came up to me and said, ‘Man, Sean’s gotten so much better.’ I’m like, ‘yeah, he has.’ It’s a credit to him and what he’s done this offseason,” Moore said. “He really hasn’t had any drops. He’s going to pluck the ball, he’s going to make competitive catches so I’m really proud of him as a receiver.”

Moore on Eubanks: “Nick has always kind of had that natural receiving ability but he’s taken a step in the run game to help himself and he really wants to be more physical and do those things. Having both those two has been really good.”

Also in the mix

Erick All

All, a former 4-star prospect out of Ohio, was receiving snaps at both tight end and wideout in spring practices, according to Harbaugh. All could do a little bit of everything for Michigan and be thrown out wide, put in the slot, used as an h-back.

Moore on All: “Extremely tough and he does some things for a freshman you don’t really expect. He doesn’t care who he’s going against, whether it’s Khaleke, whether it’s (Josh) Uche, in the run game, Glasgow, whoever’s covering him, he wants to win and he’s going to do everything he can to win. He’s tough as nails, he’s physical, and he catches everything. He has suction mitts for hands, so he’s gonna be a really good player for us.”

Tackle Jon Runyan on All: “Erick All, coming in, he’s going to have to put on some weight, but he’s out there throwing his body around, throwing shoulders into guys. I love watching him play. He’s going to be a special player here.”

Mustapha Muhammad

Muhammad has as impressive of high school film as you’ll see at the position.

Muhammad caught 68 passes for 1,040 yards and 12 touchdowns during his varsity career and the No. 6 TE overall in the 2018 class.

Muhammad could develop into a very dangerous weapon for Michigan in the passing game while also providing good thump as a blocker. Mustapha means “The Chosen One, or The Selected”, so maybe his time to shine is coming sooner than later.

Luke Schoonmaker

Schoonmaker is an all-around athlete. In high school he played quarterback his junior season, completing 55-of-92 passes for 878 yards with five touchdowns and five interceptions while rushing for 623 yards and 13 touchdowns. He was also a first baseman and pitcher on the baseball time.

During Schoonmaker’s senior year he converted to tight end and had 22 receptions for 343 yards and a score, while rushing for 306 yards and passing for 201 yards. He sounds versatile enough to receive snaps this season.

Schoonmaker’s high school coach said he’s the kind of guy the NFL is going to look at if he keeps progressing.