There are many uncertainties surrounding college football right now. The 2020 season is still in jeopardy, and even if a season does occur it might do so with empty stadiums or a limited schedule. Still, it is never too early to take a look at the Michigan depth chart and the players slated to contribute whenever football does resume. Join us as we comb through the roster and answer key questions heading into this fall.
Luke Schoonmaker, RS SO
247 Composite Ranking: 3 stars (TE 39, Overall 796)
2019 Stats: 2 rec, 54 yards, 1 TD
Michigan has a formula for finding diamonds in the rough, and it can more or less be narrowed down to “no-name prospect from New England.” A bit tongue-in-cheek, sure, but Luke Schoonmaker was not exactly the highest-graded tight end coming out of high school. Just because he entered with lower accolades, though, does not preclude him from doing great things in Ann Arbor.
Schoonmaker should be the third tight end on the depth chart to start the season, but that is good enough to see some playing time. The position is not that deep, and the Wolverines are not afraid to put multiple tight ends on the field at once, even within the spread offense. This year could be the chance for the redshirt sophomore to finally put his talent on display and show just what he can do.
Is Schoonmaker ready to be involved as a regular pass catcher?
Previously playing quarterback for a stretch in high school, Schoonmaker has a solid football IQ and pretty good athleticism to go with it. There are not many hesitations in his ability to be a quality receiving tight end, and his combination of speed and hands sets him up to be a reliable weapon in the Josh Gattis offense. The spread has tight ends look a lot like receivers anyway, which should lower the barrier for him to see more playing time.
Coming from a non-powerhouse state — and switching positions in high school — means that there are still a lot of question marks around Schoonmaker, though. He has plenty of potential and good baseline abilities, but he will need to develop more before he can be a significant contributor, including as a blocker. He seems to have the toughness required to play the position, but there is still some weight required, even in a spread offense, and he does not look ready to fully capture the role.
Erick All should enter the season as the backup to Nick Eubanks, though he saw about as much action in the passing game as Schoonmaker did last season. In fact, the latter is the one who brought in a touchdown, hauling in a 25-yard score against Illinois. All looks a little more ready to go, though, and has a more complete game. Still, he is generally inexperienced and should not completely block out Schoonmaker if he proves ready to contribute.
With the transfer of Mustapha Muhammad, the tight end room is thin right now, and it will be losing Eubanks at the end of the year. Schoonmaker was always going to be a bit of a dart throw, but he has the potential to be a solid piece in the offense. His role is likely to again be modest this fall, although he should see a better production line than last year. Really this season should be about continuing to progress forward, setting himself up for an even bigger impact in 2021.