The offense for the Michigan Wolverines is loaded, on paper at least, heading into the 2022 season. With guys like Cade McNamara, J.J. McCarthy, Blake Corum, Donovan Edwards and Ronnie Bell back in Ann Arbor, the sky is the limit.
But let’s not forget about the tight ends, either. Erick All is back and primed for a huge season, and ole reliable Luke Schoonmaker also returns as a fifth-year senior. Two other vets — Joel Honigford and “The Sheriff” Carter Selzer — round out the group to give the Wolverines versatility and experience from top to bottom.
All four of those guys could depart from the program after this season, so are the tight ends behind them on the depth chart any good?
Speaking to the media Tuesday evening, Schoonmaker is confident the younger players will flourish when it’s their time to shine. When specifically asked about redshirt sophomore Matthew Hibner and redshirt freshman Louis Hansen, Schoonmaker noted how hard they have been working since arriving on campus.
“Their time is definitely gonna come,” Schoonmaker said. They both have been working so hard and learning a lot and I think they’re both very coachable, too. They’re both smart guys, hard workers and they take everything in. Their time will come, definitely.”
Schoonmaker knows a thing or two about having to wait his turn. When he was a freshman in 2018, he was behind Sean McKeon, Zach Gentry and Nick Eubanks, who all eventually wound up in the NFL. Schoonmaker played in just one game his true freshman season before seeing the field in 11 games in 2019, so he knows how much a virtue patience is.
“It’s definitely difficult, but I think that’s just the process of it, is to embrace that role and try to find yourself on special teams, if that’s the case,” he said. “That time will come, but to embrace that process and to learn from the older guys like I did back in the day, that’s part of it.”
With Schoonmaker, All, Honigford and Selzer potentially moving on after the 2022 season, that time is nearly upon us.
One player among the next in line is Hibner. He has more experience thus far than Hansen, appearing in eight games, including five games at tight end, last season. He didn’t compile any stats, but those five games of tight end experience give him a leg up on everyone else.
Hansen, meanwhile, played in just one game at tight end last year in the blowout victory at the Big House against Northern Illinois. He will likely get a few more cracks at it this season.
Then there is true freshmen Colston Loveland and Marlin Klein, with the former receiving plenty of hype ahead of the season. Loveland had one heck of a spring game, including a nice reception on a trick play that saw All sling him the rock.
️ "I was born for this moment, tight end to tight end on the double pass."— Michigan On BTN (@MichiganOnBTN) April 2, 2022
- @JakeButtTE, on @eallindi83's @UMichFootball trick play completion pic.twitter.com/HN5VSQzFBM
Even though high caliber players like All and Schoonmaker won’t be in Ann Arbor for much longer, the tight end position should still be in good hands even after their collegiate career has ended. Jim Harbaugh has always recruiting quality players at the position, and I expect the position room to be in good hands as long as he’s around.