The tight end position has always been an important one in any offense coached by Jim Harbaugh. From Zach Ertz at Stanford to Vernon Davis on the 49ers, he has coached some of the best in the game, including during his tenure at Michigan with former All-American and Mackey Award winner Jake Butt.
Heading into the 2021 season, the tight end room has a good blend of experienced and unknown players. There are two guys we’ve become familiar with over the last couple years, and then a couple new faces who will, at some point, be starting-caliber players. Today, we do our best to guess the tight end depth chart.
The Starter: Erick All, JR
The most talented tight end on the roster, All will once again lead the group. He was only listed as the “starter” in two of the Wolverines’ six games a season ago, but rest assured, he is the No. 1 on the depth chart heading into the season.
Up to this point, All has compiled 13 receptions for 92 yards. He has yet to score a touchdown, but I think it’s safe to say that will likely change after this season. He will be getting plenty of targets, and will be a security blanket for Cade McNamara.
No. 2: Luke Schoonmaker, RS JR
The longest-tenured of the bunch, Schoonmaker is now in his fourth year with the program and has continued to claw his way up the depth chart. He started to become more involved during his redshirt freshman year in 2019, and played in all six games in 2020.
He has been a constant presence in the tight end room over the last three years, and will continue to be that model of consistency this upcoming season.
No. 3: Matthew Hibner, RS FR
I’m taking a risk putting Hibner here, but that’s what these prediction articles, and life, are all about, right?
Just last week during his media availability, Harbaugh said Hibner has “come out of nowhere,” and is a guy “who’s going to surprise a lot of people this season.” That is enough for me to put Hibner in the third spot here. He has yet to see the field, but from the sounds of it, he will have every opportunity to do so in 2021.
No. 4: Joel Honigford, RS SR
You’re probably thinking, “Joel Honigford? Wasn’t he an offensive lineman?”
He sure was, but now as a fifth-year senior, he is a full-time tight end.
In 2020, he played as a tight end/extra offensive lineman, so he is primarily a blocking tight end. By no means do I expect him to line up and get the ball thrown his way, but due to his blocking abilities and seniority, he will likely get some snaps in those certain offensive situations where they need an extra blocker.
No. 5: Louis Hansen, FR
Last but not least, Hansen comes to Michigan as a four-star prospect in the 2021 class. Listed at 6-foot-6 and 252 pounds on Michigan’s website, he already has the measurables to participate. He was not an early enrollee, so there will likely be a learning curve for Hansen. He will have to have an amazing summer camp to even be considered for playing time, so don’t expect much out of him for at least another year.