As is the case with most of Michigan football’s current position groups, the tight end room seems to be running like a well-oiled machine.
At this point, Colston Loveland and AJ Barner are household names while guys like Matthew Hibner and Max Bredeson will more than have earned their fair share of snaps this fall by the time the season kicks off on Sept. 2.
So what’s next for the Wolverines at the position? It stands to reason that true freshman Zack Marshall will be a name to watch for, as Jim Harbaugh continues his masterclass of churning out NFL-caliber tight ends.
The story so far
A former three-star recruit from Carlsbad (Calif). High School, Marshall was the No. 543 overall player in the 2023 recruiting class, the No. 33 athlete and the No. 45 prospect in the state of California, based on the 247Sports composite.
The former Lancer sat out the first four games due to the district’s transfer rule, but still amassed 23 catches for 284 yards with five touchdowns, while also accounting for a passing touchdown.
It’s reasonable to draw the conclusion Marshall’s time out due to transfer handicapped his ranking, but prior to his move to Carlsbad, Marshall was turning heads at Santa Fe Christian, where he caught 44 passes for 1,012 yards with nine touchdowns as a junior.
Outlook for 2023
As a freshman, Marshall appears to understand his role stepping onto a deep roster with plenty of returning production. Speaking to The Michigan Insider last month, he admitted he hopes to make his way onto the field as a true freshman, but understands he’s playing the long game at U-M.
“Find a way to get on the field and make an impact early,” Marshall said. “I’m not going to start every single game. In those first four games, if I can get some play time, do my job and do it well. From a locker room perspective, be willing to help with anything — inside the building, outside the building.”
It sounds as though Marshall knows his role this upcoming season. It’s unlikely we see the Wolverines trot the freshman out during critical moments, but there will be a market for his services during the non-conference schedule and possibly on special teams.
Despite being buried on the depth chart, Marshall doesn’t appear phased and seems to know what is on the horizon for him should he trust the process and join the elite group of tight ends that have passed through Michigan.