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Max Bredeson’s path to Michigan, outlook for 2023

From walk-on to stand-out, Max Bredeson has carved out a role at Michigan.

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Texas Christian at Michigan Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Max Bredeson is a football player’s football player. A tight end who simply relishes the opportunity to knock a linebacker to the turf and clear the way for Michigan’s dynamic running backs.

It started slow for the third Bredeson to come through Ann Arbor, but his role is continuing to increase with every passing season.

The story so far

Bredeson came to U-M as a preferred walk-on and played in only one game — garbage time against Northern Illinois — as a freshman. But as a sophomore, Bredeson played in all 14 games at tight end and on special teams, and even notched his first career start.

While his receiving numbers are far from jaw-dropping (five catches, 78 yards), he finished with more receiving yards than A.J. Henning, and was only two yards off Andrel Anthony despite being almost exclusively featured as a blocker.

Bredeson’s meteoric rise can be attributed to his work ethic and willingness to embrace the blocking responsibilities that others resent. A standout in fall camp, Bredeson began catching the attention of head coach Jim Harbaugh because of his competitive drive, and when starting tight end Erick All was lost for the season, he seized the moment to display what he could bring to the team as a rotational piece.

One devastating block after another, Bredeson earned his keep and found a crucial role inside Michigan’s run-first offense that will expand even further in 2023.

Outlook for 2023

Bredeson was primarily used as an H-back (tight end in the backfield) in Sherrone Moore’s tight end-heavy offense last season. On 99 percent of Bredeson’s snaps, his mission was simple, search and destroy, or in football terms, SMASH.

This season, that number could be lowered to 90% or even 85% just to give the defense something else to think about in the passing game. I mean, Bredeson has flashed his ability as a receiver before.

But let’s not get too far from the point. Bredeson is a smash-mouth football player whose purpose is to inflict his will upon defenders. I gave this example in a piece on Monday of him displacing a would-be Penn State blitzer, and here is another example of his role in space from the same game.

Bredeson is a tight end by trade and a steamroller by nature. I profiled his importance last December and while I expected him to take on more responsibility within this offense in the fall, his primary mission will remain the same, SMASH.