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Michigan 2022 TE Recap: ‘Next Man Up’ proves to be the mantra of the year

In Erick All’s absence, Luke Schoonmaker feasted early while Colston Loveland showed promise late.

Big Ten Championship - Purdue v Michigan Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Early into summer camp, Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh claimed his team boasted two of the best tight ends in the country.

Through a roundabout way that even Harbaugh couldn’t have expected, those words proved to have an inkling of truth — especially in a season where the passing game was otherwise the source of considerable gripe.

Here’s how the tight ends fared in 2022:

Erick All

Might as well address the elephant in the room from the jump, shall we?

All was unanimously regarded as Michigan’s starting tight end heading into the 2022 season, and it’s not hard to see why. In 2021, he had finished as the team’s second-best receiver in both receptions and yards, and he had the respect of both the team and then-starting quarterback Cade McNamara.

In his three games played during the 2022 season, All recorded a single catch in each — a 22-yarder against Colorado State, a 10-yarder against Hawai’i and a 4-yarder against UConn.

After missing the Week 4 game against Maryland, reports surfaced that Erick All had been dealing with a back injury since 2021 and had been held out over a renewed discussion about potential surgery. Though official word was mum on the subject, this proved to be accurate as All announced a successful surgery himself in October.

In December, All opted to transfer out of the program, later citing disagreements with medical staff on social media. He is now a member of the Iowa Hawkeyes, along with the aforementioned McNamara.

Luke Schoonmaker

After being handed the reigns as TE1 following All’s injury, Schoonmaker wasted no time in becoming one of J.J. McCarthy’s most trusted options — recording 72 yards and a touchdown on seven catches in his first start against Maryland. He followed this performance with a four catch, 45-yard day against Iowa before hitting his high water mark against Indiana, where he recorded 67 yards and his second touchdown off a season-high nine catches.

After a five-catch, 70-yard outing against Michigan State, Schoonmaker suffered an undisclosed injury in the Week 9 matchup against Rutgers. It proved to be a lingering one, as he missed the Nebraska and Illinois games before making his return to the field against Ohio State.

Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be his last injury of the season, as his Michigan career was cut short early in the Fiesta Bowl after taking a rough hit in the first quarter.

Schoonmaker finished third in receptions and receiving yards on the season, all while firmly establishing his case for the 2023 NFL Draft. From backup to standout, he will long be remembered as one of the key contributors in 2022.

Colston Loveland

Much like the transition from All to Schoonmaker, Loveland was pressed into serious action following Schoonmaker’s injury.

Though Loveland had already recorded receptions in the out-of-conference schedule, he had his most significant performances of the season while Schoonmaker was out; recording two catches for 40 yards against Nebraska and three catches for 50 yards against Illinois.

Even after Schoonmaker’s return to the field, Loveland maintained a large on-field role. Against Ohio State, he recorded a 45-yard touchdown catch, and followed that up with a 25-yard touchdown catch in the Big Ten Championship. When Schoonmaker was sidelined in the Fiesta Bowl, Loveland didn’t miss a beat in transitioning to the premier pass-catching tight end.

Despite his brief stint as a top receiver for Michigan, Loveland made the most of it by finishing sixth in receptions and fifth in receiving yards. He will undoubtedly enter next season as the man to beat in the TE1 spot.

Other noteworthy TEs

  • Max Bredeson: The best of the rest in 2022, Bredeson finished ninth and 10th on the team in receiving yards and receptions, respectively — notching 78 yards on five receptions. The lion’s share of his season yards total came during the Week 2 matchup against Hawaii, when he turned a 20-yard gain into a 56-yard one after his yards after catch. He also recorded receptions against Colorado State (1 catch, 3 yards), Maryland (2, 15) and Illinois (1, 4).
  • Joel Hoenigford: While not recording any receptions on the season, Honigford played all 14 games and started against Illinois and TCU in the Fiesta Bowl. His performance in a blocking role earned him a spot among the names credited as winners of the Joe Moore Award this season.
  • Matthew Hibner: While Hibner did record receptions against Colorado State (1 catch, 10 yards) and Hawaii (1, 5), he was most valuable to the Wolverines on special teams — sharing Most Improved Special Teams Player honors at year’s end and twice being named a Special Teams Player of the Week during the season. His most notable play this season came on this kickoff against Maryland, when he recovered the dropped return from Tai Felton.