Nick Eubanks has yet to make a huge impact with the Michigan Wolverines at tight end, but that should change heading into his senior season in a system that may better suit what he does best.
Eubanks may be one of the bigger benefactors of Jim Harbaugh, who called Eubanks one of his favorite players all-time, deciding to modernize the offensive attack and bring in Josh Gattis to run that side of the ball.
Many people expect a complete overhaul of what the Wolverines are set to do offensively, but Eubanks actually sees similarities in most of it and familiarity in what he had to tweak in his game.
“From last year, we kinda ran somewhat of a similar offense, but it’s more spread,” Eubanks said. “It hasn’t been a big problem for me to adjust to it, but it’s been a good adjustment for me.”
Eubanks, like a lot of high school players these days, came from a spread offense in high school and says he appreciates now being able to play in a way that he likes to play as opposite to being forced to do a job in an older-style system.
“You kind of go back to the old ways,” Eubanks said. “Personally, I like it better, because it’s more easier. You get to play how you want to play. They put you in the right position. And then you go from there.
“That’s the football I’m accustomed to. Not to say anything about the previous offense, or anything like that. It makes it more easy.”
Eubanks told the media on Monday that he has been watching a decent amount of film on former Alabama tight end Irv Smith Jr., who had a breakout season with the Crimson Tide last year with Gattis on staff and parlayed it into being a second-round selection of the Minnesota Vikings.
The similarities between the two are there, especially in that Smith was inexperienced heading into his breakout season in 2018 with only 14 catches to his name to that point. He would up being an all-around threat that would end the year with 44 catches for 710 yards and seven touchdowns.
Smith was successful with the Tide not only on the stat sheet, but he was also versatile enough to either be flexed out into the slot or play in-line and be a more than willing blocker in the run game, which is an area that Eubanks feels he has improved in this offseason.
Eubanks has only 10 career catches on his resume heading into 2019, but he feels primed for a bit of a breakout this year himself. It may not wind up in him being an early selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, but it would not be a huge surprise to see him supplant Sean McKeon at some point this year.
The film study of Smith may not make him a copy+paste version of the former Alabama star, but if Michigan gets anything close with what they already have in the passing game, then this group may truly be something fun to watch offensively.