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Posts Tagged ‘Khalid Hill’

Michigan 28 – Maryland 0: Defense dominates Terrapins

Saturday, October 3rd, 2015

Michigan D vs Maryland(

The threat of Hurricane Joaquin moving up the Atlantic coast moved kickoff up eight hours, and perhaps Michigan’s offense didn’t get the memo for the first 30 minutes. But the defense did its part and when the offense woke up Michigan polished off its second straight shut out with a 28-0 win over Maryland on Saturday afternoon.

Maryland looked like it was going to be able to move the ball to start the game, picking up first downs on an 11-yard pass, a 10-yard pass, and an 18-yard run into Michigan territory. The drive stalled at the 47, but Michigan’s offense was unable to get anything going on its first possession.

The teams traded turnovers four of the next five possessions as Jeremy Clark and Desmond Morgan both intercepted Maryland quarterback Caleb Rowe and Jake Rudock and Ty Isaac each coughed up fumbles. On Michigan’s first possession of the second quarter, which started with the Morgan interception, the Wolverines advanced to the Maryland 24, but an intentional grounding penalty killed the drive and Kenny Allen missed a 47-yard field goal attempt.

Final Stats
Michigan Maryland
Score 28 0
Record 4-1 (1-0) 2-3 (0-1)
Total Yards 378 105
Net Rushing Yards 198 29
Net Passing Yards 180 76
First Downs 14 7
Turnovers 3 3
Penalties-Yards 7-65 5-66
Punts-Yards 6-242 13-473
Time of Possession 34:19 25:41
Third Down Conversions 5-of-17 1-of-18
Fourth Down Conversions 1-of-2 0-of-0
Sacks By-Yards 3-20 2-11
Field Goals 2-for-3 0-for-0
PATs 2-for-2 0-for-0
Red Zone Scores-Chances 3-of-3 0-of-0
Full Box Score

After a Maryland three-and-out, Michigan finally got on the scoreboard thanks to a Jabrill Peppers 29-yard punt return that set the Wolverines up at the Maryland 39. Michigan got as far as the 10 but had to settle for a 30-yard Allen field goal. Allen tacked on another, from 32 yards out, at the end of the quarter to put Michigan ahead 6-0 at the half.

The second half started similar to the first with neither team able to move the ball. Rudock was intercepted by defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson at the Michigan 44 on Michigan’s first possession. But the Wolverine defense forced a three and out. Two possessions later, Michigan finally got its first touchdown of the game when Drake Johnson took a screen pass 31 yards and dove for the pylon. Rudock connected with Khalid Hill for a two-point conversion to put Michigan ahead 14-0.

After forcing another Maryland punt, Michigan wasted no time finding the end zone again. Jehu Chesson took an end-around and raced 66 yards down the left sideline for another touchdown.

Michigan added a final score midway through the fourth. Maryland punted from its own five, but was called for kick catch interference as Peppers caught the punt, which gave Michigan the ball at the Maryland 24. Johnson carried the ball for runs of two and 20 yards, and after a Sione Houma one-yard run, Johnson polished it off with his second touchdown of the game to reach the final score of 28-0.

Despite three turnovers, Michigan’s offense racked up 378 total yards of offense, 198 on the ground. Rudock completed 16 of 32 passes for 180 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Johnson led all rushers with 68 yards on 13 carries (5.2 yards per carry), while Jake Butt led all receivers with 61 yards on 4 receptions.

Michigan’s defense held Maryland to just 105 total yards — the same total BYU reached a week ago. Maryland gained just 35 yards on 46 plays (0.76 yards per play) after its first two possessions of the game. Rowe completed just 8 of 27 passes for 47 yards and three interceptions. Brandon Ross rushed 14 times for 44 yards as Maryland was held to just 1.1 yards per carry.

Morgan led the Michigan defense with nine tackles in addition to his interception. Matt Godin recorded 1.5 sacks, while Maurice Hurst and Willie Henry added one apiece and Mario Ojemudia notched a half a sack. Unfortunately, Ojemudia left the game in the second half with an Achilles injury that may end his season.

The shutout marked the first time Michigan has recorded back-to-back shutouts since the 2000 season.

Michigan improved to 4-1 on the season and 1-0 in Big Ten play and will host Northwestern (5-0, 1-0) for Homecoming next Saturday. The Wildcats are currently ranked 16th, but may move up in the rankings after topping Minnesota 27-0.

Game Ball – Offense 

Drake Johnson (13 carries for 68 yards, 1 TD, 1 rec for 31 yards, 1 TD)
Johnson emerged in the second half of last season as Michigan’s top running back and had a spectacular game against Ohio State before tearing his ACL for the second time. As this season began, he was buried on the depth chart and didn’t play in the opener at Utah while still recovering from the injury. But he has slowly been working back over the last four weeks, and when De’Veon Smith was ruled out of this one with an ankle injury and Ty Isaac struggled to hold onto the ball in the first half, Johnson was called upon to carry the load. He showed the talent and vision of last season, taking a screen 31 yards for a score, reeling off a 20-yard run, and scoring a rushing touchdown.

Week 1 – Jake Butt (8 rec for 93 yards and 1 TD)
Week 2 – De’Veon Smith (23 carries for 126 yards, 3 TDs)
Week 3 – Ty Isaac (8 carries for 114 yards, 1 TD)
Week 4 — De’Veon Smith (16 carries for 125 yards and 1 TD)

Game Ball – Defense

Desmond Morgan (9 tackles, 1 INT, 2 PBU)
Like Johnson, Morgan suffered a major injury last season, but it caused him to miss the entire year. The good news is that it gave him a fifth season to be a part of this team and he hasn’t disappointed. Today, he had his best game of the young season, leading all defenders with nine tackles, picking off a pass, and breaking up two passes. He was all over the field and played a major part in holding a second straight opponent to just 105 total yards.

Week 1 – Chris Wormley (5 tackles, 3 TFL)
Week 2 – Chris Wormley (6 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack)
Week 3 – Jourdan Lewis (3 tackles, 4 PBU)
Week 4 — Ryan Glasgow (3 tackles, 2 TFL)

Final Individual Stats
Passing Comp-Att Yds Avg. TD INT Long Sack
Jake Rudock 16-32 180 5.6 1 1 44 2
Caleb Rowe 8-27 47 1.7 0 3 13 3
Rushing Car. Yards Avg. TD Long
Drake Johnson 13 68 5.2 1 20
Jehu Chesson 1 66 66.0 1 66
Brandon Ross 14 44 3.1 0 18
Derrick Green 7 26 3.7 0 9
Jake Rudock 4 19 4.8 0 20
Ty Isaac 6 17 2.8 0 7
Sione Houma 2 12 6.0 0 11
Wes Brown 5 8 1.6 0 4
Amara Darboh 1 -2 -2.0 0 -2
Ross Taylor-Douglass 3 -3 -1.0 0 1
Caleb Rowe 1 -8 -8.0 0 -8
Daxx Garman 6 -15 -2.5 0 3
Receiving Rec Yds Avg. TD Long
Jake Butt 4 61 15.2 0 44
Jehu Chesson 4 41
10.2 0 16
Drake Johnson 1 31 31.0 1 31
Amara Darboh 3 27 9.0 0 15
Wes Brown 2 26 13.0 0 22
Levern Jacobs 3 20 6.7 0 11
D.J. Moore 2 17 8.5 0 10
Sione Houma 2 14 7.0 0 9
Kenneth Goins Jr. 1 13 13.0 0 13
Drake Harris 1 6 6.0 0 6
Taivon Jacobs 1 1 1.0 0 1
Freddy Canteen 1 0 0.0 0 0
Brandon Ross 1 -1 -1.0 0 -1
Kicking FG Pct Long XP Pts
Kenny Allen 2/3 66.7 32 2/2 8
Punting No Yds Avg TB In 20 Long
Blake O’Neill 6 242 40.3 0 2 59
Nate Pritchard 10 360 36.0 0 1 46
Brad Craddock 3 113 37.7 0 1 52
Kick Returns No Yds Avg Long TD
Jabrill Peppers 1 21 21.0 21 0
William Likely 4 91 22.8 31 0
Punt Returns No Yds Avg Long TD
Jabrill Peppers 3 38 12.7 29 0
William Likely 3 23 7.7 12 0

Michigan 31 – BYU 0: Wolverines carry out mission vs BYU

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

Smith vs BYU - by junfuphoto(Junfu Han, Ann Arbor News)

When the oddsmakers opened last week with Michigan a six point favorite over BYU most fans figured it would come down as the week went on. But it turns out that none of us knew what we were talking about. Against a BYU squad led by a quarterback just off his mission it was Michigan that was on a mission on Saturday afternoon, dominating the Cougars 31-0.

After opening the game with a three-and-out, Michigan’s offense strung together five straight scoring drives to put the game out of reach by halftime.

The first touchdown, on Michigan’s second possession of the game, came on a 10-play, 80-yard drive that included a highlight-reel catch by Amara Darboh on 3rd-and-5. Jake Rudock also connected with Khalid Hill for a 19-yard gain on 3rd-and-11 and then Rudock found the end zone with a three yard run.

Michigan’s defense forced a punt and the offense went 90 yards in 10 plays, culminating with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Rudock to Darboh on 3rd-and-3.

Final Stats
Michigan BYU
Score 31 0
Record 3-1 2-2
Total Yards 448 105
Net Rushing Yards 254 50
Net Passing Yards 194 55
First Downs 22 8
Turnovers 0 0
Penalties-Yards 5-53 5-45
Punts-Yards 4-163 11-475
Time of Possession 38:38 21:22
Third Down Conversions 9-of-17 4-of-15
Fourth Down Conversions 0-of-2 0-of-0
Sacks By-Yards 3-27 2-15
Field Goals 1-for-1 0-for-0
PATs 4-for-4 0-for-0
Red Zone Scores-Chances 3-of-4 0-of-0
Full Box Score

After a BYU three-and-out, Michigan didn’t waste much time getting on the board again. Sione Houma rushed for eight yards and then De’Veon Smith broke out of a crowd and raced 60 yards, fending off a Cougar defender much of the way, for an impressive touchdown.

Another BYU three-and-out gave Michigan the ball back at its own 41 and the Wolverines kept the foot on the gas pedal. A roughing the passer penalty put Michigan in BYU territory and six plays later, Rudock crossed the goal line for the second time. This time, he raced down the left sideline from 17 yards out to put Michigan ahead 28-0. But they still weren’t done.

A clock-chewing drive that featured runs by Smith, Houma, Rudock, and Drake Johnson, as well as a 12-yard pass to Jehu Chesson and 18-yarder to Darboh, resulted in a 40-yard Kenny Allen field goal to give Michigan a comfortable 31-0 lead at the half.

Neither team scored in the game’s final 30 minutes as Michigan’s offense simply tried to run clock. The biggest drama of the second half was whether or not the defense could keep BYU out of the end zone and hold the Cougars below 100 total yards. Well, the Wolverines achieved one of the two as BYU never got closer than the Michigan 44, but topped the 100-yard mark as the games closing seconds ticked down.

Michigan outgained BYU 448 to 105 and held a Cougar offense that came in averaging more than 30 points per game scoreless. Michigan rushed for 254 yards and held BYU to just 50.

Smith led the way with 125 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries (7.8 yards per carry), while Rudock completed 14 of 25 passes for 194 yards, a touchdown, and two rushing scores. Darboh led all receivers with four catches for 57 yards and a touchdown. Michigan’s stifling defense held BYU’s heralded freshman quarterback Tanner Mangum to just 12 of 28 passing for 55 yards, and sacked him three times. BYU running back Adam Hine gained just 33 yards on eight carries, 29 of which came on one run.

After the game, BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall — whose team has already faced Nebraska, No. 20 Boise State, and No. 10 UCLA this season — was exceedingly complimentary of the team that dominated his Cougars.

“In my opinion, that was the best team we played to this point, not only physically, but execution wise,” Mendenhall said of Harbaugh’s Wolverines.

BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae agreed with Mendenhall’s statement and added, “We were dominated in every facet, their defense over our offense — every guy, every play…we were beat from top to bottom, play one through, uh, whatever it was.”

Those words from the coaching staff of a ranked team that Michigan just manhandled are music to the ears of Michigan fans longing for a return to the Michigan of old. And Saturday’s performance was the closest they’ve seen to that in nearly a decade.

Michigan improved to 3-1 on the season and will begin Big Ten play next Saturday at Maryland (2-2). The Terrapins lost to West Virginia 45-6 this weekend. BYU, meanwhile, gets a major reprieve from a tough opening four games when they host UConn on Friday night.

Game Ball – Offense

De’Veon Smith (16 carries for 125 yards, 1 TD)
For 15 of Smith’s 16 carries, he averaged a pedestrian 4.3 yards per carry. But three of those runs were on the first two drives of the third quarter when the playbook went vanilla, up 31-0. And to discount his highlight-reel 60-yard run is doing him a disservice, especially since the whole thing was pretty much all him. He didn’t get a huge hole, he squeezed through one. He benefit from downfield blocks, he shrugged off a defender. The only negative of the day was a sprained ankle suffered in the third quarter, but as long as it doesn’t hold him out for long, it’s clear that Smith is by far the top guy in the backfield.
Honorable Mention: Jake Rudock (14 of 25 for 194 yards, 1 TD. 10 carries for 33 yards, 2 TDs)

Week 1 – Jake Butt (8 rec for 93 yards and 1 TD)
Week 2 – De’Veon Smith (23 carries for 126 yards, 3 TDs)
Week 3 – Ty Isaac (8 carries for 114 yards, 1 TD)

Game Ball – Defense

Ryan Glasgow (3 tackles, 2 TFL)
When a defense holds an opponent to just 105 total yards, you can pretty much pick anyone as the game MVP. And Saturday’s performance was truly a team effort as no individual player had more than four tackles and none had a takeaway. But after the game when I stopped to think about which defensive player stood out the most it was Ryan Glasgow. Although he only made three tackles, he made the most of them with two behind the line of scrimmage. With BYU near midfield, he burst through the line and tackled running back Adam Hine for a loss of six. In the second quarter, on 3rd-and-8, he stuffed Hine for a loss of three. After years of mediocre defensive line play it is great to see the game ball go to a defensive lineman three of the first four weeks.

Week 1 – Chris Wormley (5 tackles, 3 TFL)
Week 2 – Chris Wormley (6 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack)
Week 3 – Jourdan Lewis (3 tackles, 4 PBU)

Final Individual Stats
Passing Comp-Att Yds Avg. TD INT Long Sack
Jake Rudock 14-25 194 7.8 1 0 41 2
Tanner Mangum 12-28 55 2.0 0 0 14 3
Rushing Car. Yards Avg. TD Long
De’Veon Smith 16 125 7.8 1 60
Adam Hine 8 33 4.1 0 29
Jake Rudock 10 33 3.3 2 17
Francis Bernard 4 30 7.5 0 13
Derrick Green 10 28 2.8 0 6
Drake Johnson 5 26 5.2 0 11
Sione Houma 4 17 4.2 0 8
Blake O’Neill 1 9 9.0 0 9
Ty Isaac 2 9 4.5 0 8
Nate Carter 3 9 3.0 0 4
Ross Taylor-Douglass 3 7 2.3 0 5
Tanner Mangum 6 -18 -3.0 0 9
Receiving Rec Yds Avg. TD Long
Amara Darboh 4 57 14.2 1 21
Jake Butt 1 41
41.0 0 41
Khalid Hill 2 39 19.5 0 20
Jehu Chesson 2 17 8.5 0 12
Drake Johnson 1 14 14.0 0 14
Devon Blackmon 1 14 14.0 0 14
Colby Pearson 2 11 5.5 0 7
Ian Bunting 1 10 10.0 0 10
Nick Kurtz 2 10 5.0 0 7
A.J. Williams 1 7 7.0 0 7
Derrick Green 1 7 7.0 0 7
Mitchell Juergens 2 6 3.0 0 5
Adam Hine 1 5 5.0 0 5
Mitch Mathews 1 4 4.0 0 4
Nate Carter 1 4 4.0 0 4
Terenn Houk 1 3 3.0 0 3
Henry Poggi 1 2 2.0 0 2
Moroni Laulu-Pututau 1 -2 -2.0 0 -2
Kicking FG Pct Long XP Pts
Kenny Allen 1/1 100.0 40 4/4 7
Punting No Yds Avg TB In 20 Long
Blake O’Neill 4 163 40.8 0 3 49
Jonny Linehan 11 475 43.2 1 2 55
Kick Returns No Yds Avg Long TD
Devon Blackmon 2 30 15.0 20 0
Eric Takenaka 1 19 19.0 19 0
Punt Returns No Yds Avg Long TD
Jabrill Peppers 4 20 5.0 11 0
Micah Hannemann 1 5 5.0 5 0

Predicting Michigan 2015: The tight ends

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

Jake Butt

Among its many other offensive deficiencies last season, Michigan’s offense lacked a consistent tight end threat in the passing game. Devin Funchess’ move to wide receiver left the tight end corps scrambling for a playmaker, and only one tight end finished the season with more than 100 receiving yards.

Enter, Jim Harbaugh. In his takeover of Ann Arbor, the new Michigan head coach brings with him a deep history of success at the tight end position. Zach Ertz, Coby Fleener, and Ryan Hewitt are just a few of the tight ends coached and recruited by Harbaugh at Stanford who ended up in the NFL. Ertz and Fleener each caught more than 50 passes for over 700 yards in the league last season, a trend Harbaugh surely had a hand in.

But does Harbaugh have the talent in place to turn Michigan’s tight ends into weapons in 2015? Here’s a look at the current and incoming members that make up the unit.

Returning starter

Jake Butt is the most likely Michigan tight end to enjoy a legitimate breakout season in 2015. Butt, one of the clear victims of the team’s quarterback struggles, has yet to put a complete season together, scoring twice and gaining more than 200 yards in each of his first two years.

The 6-foot-6 Pickerington, Ohio native has sure hands and solid athleticism and will catch the ball if it gets to him. He caught less than three passes per game last season, but figures to play a larger role in Harbaugh’s offensive game plan. Butt would especially benefit from Jake Rudock winning the starting job, as the fifth-year senior prefers shorter, safer passes to throwing balls downfield.

Despite catching just 41 passes in his first two seasons, Butt is a clear playmaker. He averaged 10 yards per catch last season and was named a member of the watch list for the Mackey Award, given to the nation’s top tight end, last month.

The biggest uncertainty surrounding Butt is whether he can recapture the explosiveness he showed as a freshman before he tore his ACL, an injury that hampered him in 2014. If he can be the elite athlete fans saw flashes of two seasons ago, he will thrive in a featured role in Harbaugh’s offense.

Projected Stats – Butt
Receptions Yards YPC Long TDs YPG
45 525 11.7 7 40.4
Career Stats
2014 21 211 10.0 29 2 21.1
2013 20 235 11.8 37 2 18.1
Totals 41 446 10.9 37 4 19.4

Role players

Michigan also returns a pair of tight ends who have seen significant playing time during their careers, but pose little threat in the passing attack. A.J. Williams, who scored a touchdown on his only catch in 2013, caught just four passes for 33 yards last season despite playing in all 12 games and starting four of them. Williams is a block-first tight end who was used to support an inexperienced offensive line last season. He’ll likely play a similar role as a senior, albeit losing some snaps to the pass-catching tight ends.

Khalid Hill is another blocking specialist who started three games for Brady Hoke in his final season with the Wolverines. Hill caught four passes for 37 yards and spent most of his time run and pass blocking on next to the line. Hill, like Williams, will likely see the field a bit less in 2015.

Projected Stats – Williams
Receptions Yards YPC Long TDs YPG
5 40 8.0 0 3.1
Career Stats
2014 4 33 8.3 12 0 2.8
2013 1 2 2.0 2 1 0.2
2012 0 0 N/A N/A 0 N/A
Totals 5 35 7.0 12 1 1.0
Projected Stats – Hill
Receptions Yards YPC Long TDs YPG
3 25 8.3 0 1.9
Career Stats
2014 4 37 9.3 12 0 6.2
2013 0 0 N/A N/A 0 N/A
Totals 4 37 9.3 12 0 6.2


As explosive as Butt can be in the passing game, Michigan needs more than one target and a few blockers to turn the tight end position into a strength. Luckily for Harbaugh, there are two young tight ends ready to play a role for the Maize and Blue.

Though he never saw the field as a freshman, former three-star recruit Ian Bunting was a dangerous downfield threat at Hinsdale Central High School in the Chicago suburbs, catching 27 passes for 583 yards and four touchdowns. The 6-foot-7 Bunting offers a huge target with reliable hands who can go up and win a jump ball over defenders.

Harbaugh and his staff brought another huge tight end to Michigan on National Signing Day: Tyrone Wheatley Jr. Wheatley, whose father was hired to coach running backs at U of M, stands at 6-foot-6 and over 250 pounds, but that doesn’t hold him back as an athlete. He played defensive end and tight end in high school and will be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses at Michigan.

He won’t blow defenders away with his speed and quickness, but he’s athletic enough to beat defenders to the ball and can break tackles after the catch.

With Harbaugh coaching him up, Wheatley has a chance to become the big, powerful home run threat the Michigan offense desperately needs.

Projected Stats – Bunting
Receptions Yards YPC Long TDs YPG
20 230 11.5 1 17.7
Career Stats
Redshirted in 2014
Projected Stats – Wheatley
Receptions Yards YPC Long TDs YPG
30 450 15.0 3 34.6

Meet the rest

Chase Winovich — sophomore, 6’3″, 230 from Jefferson Hills, Pa. (Thomas Jefferson), no career stats
Michael Jocz — senior, 6’4″, 231 from Novi, Mich. (Novi), no career stats

Recruiting Profile: 2015 TE Chris Clark

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Chris Clark(

Ed: Please welcome our newest writer, Alex Sibo, to the fold. Alex is currently a senior at UM-Dearborn and has a background in scouting and player evaluation, having learned from some of the best in the business. He will be contributing a weekly recruit profile/evaluation piece that for the time being will be posted every Friday. Visit our Meet the Staff page to read more about Alex. 

Chris Clark – TE | 6’6″, 247 | Avon, Conn. – Avon Old Farms
ESPN: 4-star, #4 TE, 83 grade Rivals: 4-star, #1 TE 247: 4-star, #2 TE Scout: 5-star, #1 TE
Other top offers: UCLA, Alabama, Auburn, FSU, Georgia, Ohio State, Miami, South Carolina, USC

One of the top prospects that Michigan’s staff and fans have their eyes on is tight end Chris Clark from Avon, Connecticut. The imposing Clark was formerly committed to the North Carolina Tar Heels before decommitting and committing to Michigan, where he once again decommitted and opened up his options once more. Michigan is still considered one of the top schools in the running to win Clark back, but is still currently being wooed by UCLA, Texas, USC, and North Carolina, in addition to receiving offers from many of the top schools in the country. Let’s look into what traits Clark presents and how he could make an impact wearing the winged helmet.


Athleticism - Chris ClarkIt can be easy to say that players who are big are slow, and players who are small are fast. This is not necessarily the case with Clark, but the drawbacks to having a 6’6”, 250-pound frame are clear when watching him play. Clark possesses above average straight line speed for his size and for the tight end position, his agility, burst, and explosion hold him back as an athlete. He is a slow-starter who takes time to build up to his top speed and lacks great initial quickness out of his stance, in addition to the fact that he is slow to change directions and the ability to make sharp lateral cuts. Given that, Clark does possess some wiggle with the ball in his hands, but is much better when asked run through a defender than around him.


Catching - Chris ClarkIt takes more than just hands to be a successful pass catcher, and Clark is a great example of that, though he does possess the sticky fingers to snag the football. Clark demonstrates excellent body control, whether downfield, in the end zone, flying through the air, or reaching out for a one-hander. One of the more comforting things about the way Clark plays the ball is that he looks the pass in first before looking to turn things up field. Too often, players will concentrate on how they are going to get yards or where the defenders are before they even have possession of the football. While Clark’s vertical leap may be nothing to write home about, his frame and length more than overcome that fact to make him a high-end jump ball and end zone receiver.

Route Running

Route Running - Chris ClarkAs a senior, Clark played a lot more as a wide receiver than he did as a tight end, at least compared to previous years, eerily similar to the role of Devin Funchess during his last couple years in Ann Arbor. Unlike Funchess, Clark lacks the top flight athleticism to carry over to the college game as a wide receiver, but it did give him a different look and more experience in terms of running routes. The conundrum with Clark is that he runs best in a straight line, but not so well that he can consistently threaten the seam on vertical routes. Nonetheless, he has demonstrated that he can get open in his routes and stretch the middle of the field. Though his initial quickness leaves something to be desired, his frame will likely be enough to avoid getting jammed at the line much in college.


Blocking - Chris ClarkOne of things that is apparent about Clark when watching him block is that he was physically superior in every way to his competition at Avon. Clark was as tall as his offensive linemen and taller than anyone else the defense could throw at him, not to mention bigger, stronger, and more physically mature at this stage. While able to control defenders and turn them out of running lanes, there was often a complacency to the manner in which he did so. While Clark would occasionally light up a defender and clear him out of the way, that fire that he will need to go up against defensive ends that are as big or bigger than him did not show up often enough. Clark will also need to work on his pad level, hand placement, and footwork — as most recruits do — in order to transition smoothly into the college blocking game.

Bottom Line

Aside from some long-term athletic limitations, Clark has what you look for in a tight end: the ability to cleanly catch the football and to block in the running game. Jim Harbaugh-coached teams at Stanford always produced very good tight ends, and Chris Clark can certainly join those ranks if he is able to be coached and work out his technical flaws as a blocker. Michigan already has depth at the tight end position with Jake Butt, Khalid Hill, A.J. Williams, and Ian Bunting, but Clark would make this position group all the more intriguing for Jay Harbaugh to work with. Overall, Clark has some NFL potential as well, and it’s not tough to draw some comparisons to former UCLA and current Detroit Lions red zone threat Joseph Fauria.

MG&B Grade (out of 10)
8.9 (4-star)

Clark is officially visiting Michigan this weekend where he could recommit, but he also has a visit to UCLA set for next weekend. Bruins head coach Jim Mora Jr, who just lost tight end commit Alize Jones to Notre Dame, visited Clark last night and it looks to be a two-team race to land him.

Jersey Short: Rutgers 26 – Michigan 24

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

Michigan at Rutgers(

A trying week for the Michigan football program following a loss to Minnesota, complete with a concussion controversy that gained national mainstream media attention, a student rally calling for the firing of athletic director Dave Brandon, and increased calls for Brady Hoke’s head, was bookended with yet another loss. This time, the Wolverines came up just short in a 26-24 defeat at Rutgers on Saturday night.

It was the first ever meeting between the two oldest schools in FBS and it resulted in the first ever Big Ten Conference victory for the team that won the first ever college football contest over the school with the most wins in college football history.

Michigan started the game with a nine-play, 57-yard drive that stalled on the Rutgers 22-yard line. But Michigan managed three points on a 39-yard Matt Wile field goal. Rutgers countered with a seven-play, 58-yard drive and a 35-yard field goal to tie the game at three.

Final Stats
Michigan Rutgers
Score 24 26
Record 2-4, 0-2 5-1, 1-1
Total Yards 336 476
Net Rushing Yards 158 74
Net Passing Yards 178 402
First Downs 18 18
Turnovers 1 0
Penalties-Yards 3-30 9-85
Punts-Yards 4-190 3-146
Time of Possession 29:14 30:46
Third Down Conversions 4-of-11 8-of-16
Fourth Down Conversions 0-of-0 0-of-2
Sacks By-Yards 2-21 3-18
Field Goals 1-for-2 2-for-2
PATs 3-for-3 2-for-3
Red Zone Scores-Chances 3-of-3 3-of-3
Full Box Score

Michigan went three-and-out and Rutgers went 47 yards in eight plays and took a 6-3 lead on a 45-yard Kyle Federico field goal. But Michigan responded with the first touchdown of the game. Devin Gardner kicked off the drive with a 23-yard pass to Devin Funchess and then the two connected for eight yards. Three plays later, Gardner lofted the ball up across the middle and Jake Butt made a one-handed catch for 20 yards to give Michigan a first-and-goal at the Rutgers five. Gardner tried to sneak it in, but was stuffed. On second down, Gardner ran to the right and outran the defense to the end zone giving Michigan a 10-6 lead.

After trading punts, Rutgers took over on its own 20-yard line. Quarterback Gary Nova found a wide open Andrew Turzilli for an 80-yard touchdown catch and run. Michigan blocked the extra point and Rutgers led 12-10.

Michigan couldn’t do anything with its next possession and punted it back to Rutgers, who took possession at their own 12. Nova connected with Desmon Peoples for 33 yards on the first play, but Michigan’s defense held strong to force fourth-and-10. Rutgers ran a fake punt, but Michigan stopped it for a loss of two yards and took over on the Rutgers 43. Six plays later, De’Veon Smith scored from a yard out and Michigan regained the lead, 17-12.

Rutgers got to work with 1:43 remaining in the half and marched right down the field. Facing third-and-goal at the Michigan 7-yard line, Nova dropped back to pass. But Frank Clark shot through the middle untouched for a sure-fire sack. However, Nova shooed him away with a stiff-arm and found John Tsimis in the end zone to put the Scarlet Knights ahead 19-17 and re-take the momentum heading into the half.

Neither team was able to score in the third quarter, but on Michigan’s second possession, Gardner was intercepted at the Rutgers 41. The Scarlet Knights capitalized, going 59 yards in 10 plays, and capping it off with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Nova to Turzilli.

Michigan wasn’t dead yet, however, as offensive coordinator turned to the run game to pound the ball down the field. Derrick Green ran for eight yards, eight yards, and 21 yards to get to the Rutgers 32. Gardner rushed for eight and Smith five giving the Wolverines a first down at the 19. Gardner rolled to his right, eluded several defenders and raced into the end zone to pull Michigan within two at 26-24 with 9:17 remaining.

Michigan’s defense forced a punt and got the ball back hoping to drive the field for a game-winning score that could take some of the heat off the program. Smith rushed for nine yards and then four for a first down. Gardner hit Khalid Hill for a 12-yard gain, and two plays later, connected with Funchess for 17. On third-and-eight at the Rutgers 38, Gardner completed a pass to Amara Darboh on the right sideline. Darboh took two steps and dove out of bounds just past the first down marker. But as he hit the ground, the ball squirted out and the play was ruled an incomplete pass. Hoke challenged and it was upheld, giving Michigan a fourth-and-eight from the Rutgers 38 instead of first down at the 28. Hoke elected to attempt a 56-yard field goal, but Wile’s kick was blocked, allowing Rutgers to run out the clock for the victory.

Rutgers finished the game with 476 total yards, 402 through the air. Both of those numbers are the most Michigan has allowed this season and the most Rutgers has gained this season. Michigan gained 336 yards with a balanced effort of 178 through the air and 158 on the ground. Gardner completed 13-of-22 for 178 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception. He also rushed 10 times for 40 yards and two touchdowns. Green led the way on the ground with 74 yards on 12 carries, while Smith had 31 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown. Funchess caught five passes for 71 yards, while Jehu Chesson caught two for 34.

Michigan has now won just three of its last 12 games and hasn’t beaten a power-five school since topping Northwestern in triple-overtime last November 16. The two teams Michigan has beaten since then — Appalachian State and Miami (Ohio) — are a combined 2-9 this season with one of those two wins coming against an FCS school (Campbell) and the other just a one-point victory over 0-6 UMass.

The Wolverines fall to 2-4 on the season and 0-2 in the Big Ten for the first time since 1967. The Wolverines return home to face Penn State (4-1, 1-1) at 7 p.m. EST next Saturday.

Predicting Michigan: The tight ends

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Predicting Michigan-TightEnds

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Michigan

Michigan football made a few announcements this offseason that gutted the tight end depth for offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier. The team’s top option throughout much of the last two seasons was Devin Funchess, who will be moved permanently to wide receiver for his junior season. Transitioning Funchess was much easier after the emergence of freshman Jake Butt, but a torn ACL sidelined the young star and left the Wolverines without their top two options at tight end, at least for the first few games of the season.

Brady Hoke opted against moving Funchess back to tight end, and will instead choose from a number of veteran options that have made smaller impacts during their Michigan careers.

The Starters

With the offense under construction after the hiring of Nussmeier, it remains to be seen what type of role the tight ends will play in 2014. During the spring game, the majority of Michigan’s sets featured one tight end, often junior A.J. Williams.

Williams played a very limited role in his sophomore campaign, catching just one pass for a two-yard touchdown in the loss at Iowa. The 6’6″ tight end started six games, but was rarely featured as an integral part of the offense. The junior will be asked to play a much bigger role in 2014, as he holds the No. 1 tight end spot on the depth chart and received the most reps during the spring game.

Fellow junior Keith Heitzman lineup up with Williams on the first team during double tight end sets at the spring game, revealing Nussmeier’s willingness to at least experiment with more than one tight end on the field.

Heitzman has played 23 games for the Wolverines in his career, but all of them have come on the defensive line. The 271-pound junior separated himself from the rest of the pack as the No. 2 tight end, but will likely be featured as a blocker and less of a receiving threat.

Butt, meanwhile, is expected to be out until Big Ten play, but when he returns, will slide back into a starting role. The 6’6″, 250-pound sophomore impressed as a true freshman in 2013, catching 20 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns. That’s five more catches and one more yard than Funchess had in his freshman campaign. Butt saved his best performance of the season for the matchup against his hometown Buckeyes, recording five catches for 85 yards and a score. Butt won’t match Funchess’ 2013 numbers, but will play a major role in the offense once he returns.

Projected Stats – Williams
Receptions Yards YPC Long TDs YPG
9 100 11.1 1 7.7
Career Stats
2013 1 2 2.0 2 1 0.2
2012 0 0 N/A N/A 0 N/A
Totals 1 2 2.0 2 1 0.2
Projected Stats – Butt
Receptions Yards YPC Long TDs YPG
21 250 11.9 4 27.8
Career Stats
2013 20 235 11.8 37 2 18.1
Totals 20 235 11.8 37 2 18.1
Projected Stats – Heitzman
Receptions Yards YPC Long TDs YPG
16 200 12.5 2 15.4
Career Stats
2013 0 0 N/A N/A 0 N/A
2012 0 0 N/A N/A 0 N/A
2011 0 0 N/A N/A 0 N/A
Totals 0 0 N/A N/A 0 N/A

Veteran Depth

Tight end remains one of the thinnest positions on the Michigan roster leading into the 2014 season, but quality recruits over the past two seasons have provided the Wolverines with some talented options. The struggle for Nussmeier in 2014 will be finding a tight end that can both protect the quarterback and hurt defenses in the passing game.

Redshirt freshman Khalid Hill figures to be an option if Williams and Heitzman struggle, as the former consensus three-star offers Michigan more of a receiving weapon. Hill is smaller than the other tight ends, but makes up for it with quickness and essential receiving skills like strong hands and great route running. Hill is more likely to be a difference-maker in the future, but a strong spring could put him on the radar for 2014.

Projected Stats – Hill
Receptions Yards YPC Long TDs YPG
13 150 11.5 1 11.5
Career Stats
2013 0 0 N/A N/A 0 N/A
Totals 0 0 N/A N/A 0 N/A


Michigan welcomed one key tight end prospect in the 2014 recruiting class in Ian Bunting. Bunting is a tall, but athletic tight end that should evolve into Michigan’s top receiving threat from his position. The freshman played wide receiver throughout much of his high school career, which molded him into the offensive threat that Hoke recruited.

Bunting figures to compete for playing time as a true freshman, since the Wolverines could really use a receiving threat from the tight end position. His versatility can only improve his chances to crack the lineup, as Nussmeier owns the option to line him up in the slot or out wide.

If a largely unproven wide receiver unit struggles during the non-conference season, expect the coaching staff to consider awarding Bunting more time at tight end to give the offense more options. The freshman fits the mold of Funchess and Butt as a pseudo-receiver at tight end.

Projected Stats – Bunting
Receptions Yards YPC Long TDs YPG
10 150 15.0 1 11.5

Countdown to kickoff: 80 days

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Countdown to kickoff-80

Predicting Michigan: The tight ends

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Rounding out the offensive portion of our Predicting Michigan series is the tight end position, which should be one of the most exciting to watch this season. Previously, we featured the quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and offensive line.

Returning To The Offense

Devin Funchess needs to prove he can stay on the field in non-obvious passing situations

In the last few seasons, the Michigan offense has revolved around a spread rushing attack and featured less use of the tight end position as a result. When the spread offense was introduced, the preferred receiving options became small, fast athletes that could blow by defenders and make moves in space. As Brady Hoke takes the Wolverines back to a more physical style of play, tight ends have started to resurface in Ann Arbor.

In 2012, Devin Funchess burst onto the scene with 140 yards and two touchdowns in the games against Air Force and Massachusetts. As the season progressed, Funchess faded and had more than 15 receiving yards only once, when he caught a 29-yard touchdown against Iowa.

This year’s team will likely rely more on the tight end position. A renewed focus on rushing between the tackles means that size and blocking on the line will become more important. Also, Devin Gardner’s ability to keep plays alive and go through multiple options will give the tight ends a greater opportunity to catch passes even if they aren’t the primary route.

The Name We Know: Devin Funchess

Funchess will return to the team as the only familiar name at the tight end position that had a statistical impact. His early success made him an immediate fan-favorite on Saturdays at the Big House, and his lack of production late in the season was proof of how difficult it is to adapt to the physical play of the Big Ten. As Denard Robinson led the offense into conference play, he connected with the 6’5″ tight end less and less. Even against poor defensive teams like Illinois and Purdue, Funchess didn’t really show up on the stat sheet, catching only one pass in each contest. When Gardner was reinserted into the quarterback role, Funchess continued to have around one catch each game. This was partially because opponents caught on that when he was in it was to catch a pass, and partially to be used as a decoy because of his inability to block.

This season, after working with Gardner for an entire offseason, Funchess should be more like the player he was early in the season. Gardner isn’t afraid to run through three or four options before giving up on a play, so the tight ends will have a chance to catch more passes. Funchess will also play a big role in the blocking game, which will allow him to stay on the field more often, when running backs like Fitzgerald Toussaint and Derrick Green pound the ball up the middle. His size and strong hands will make him a threat in the red zone, and he can build off of his five touchdowns from last season.

Projected Stats
Receptions Yards YPC Long TD YPG
25 330 13.2 5 27.5
Career Stats
2012 15 234 15.6 30 5 18.0
Totals 15 234 15.6 30 5 18.0

Returning Players

There are four returning tight ends in addition to Funchess on the Michigan roster, but only one of them has ever recorded a catch. Dylan Esterline made a reception for seven yards in the 45-0 blowout of Illinois in Ann Arbor, but A.J. WilliamsJordan Paskorz and Michael Jocz haven’t been included in the receiving game in their careers. While Williams is known as a very good blocking tight end (he was recruited as an offensive tackle/tight end hybrid), the thin roster at this position is a result of the transition to the spread offense. When the speedy receivers were brought in, the fullbacks and tight ends were basically erased, so these players contributed very little during that time. This season, they may fill in to block or provide depth, but it is unlikely that they will play major roles in the offensive attack. Brady Hoke will find roles for them on special teams, because of their strength and size.

Recruits: Early Impact

Jake Butt caught a TD in Michigan's spring game and will make an impact this season

The 2013 recruiting class will play a big role at tight end. Two young recruits were brought in to help solidify a weak position on the team, and both players will have a chance to contribute in their freshman seasons.

Khalid Hill was a three-star recruit and is an interesting player at tight end. Due to his lack of superior size for the position, Hill isn’t the strongest blocker and can’t muscle up like other big players can. However, his body creates a different kind of matchup problem. Hill’s strength is in the receiving category, because he has surprising quickness and showed a great ability to run routes and catch the ball in high school. He doesn’t seem to be the prototypical tight end for a physical offense, but he could be the perfect player to get open and give Gardner another weapon in the passing attack.

Fellow recruit Jake Butt generated more buzz around Ann Arbor when he committed as a top-five tight end. Butt is a matchup nightmare for defenses at 6’6 because of his incredible athletic ability and coordination in the passing game. Robinson would have enjoyed throwing to this athletic tight end, because in high school Butt excelled at bringing down jump balls. Defenses will have a hard time finding a corner that can stop a receiver this big and athletic downfield.

Butt could improve in the blocking category, even though his size and athleticism make him an intimidating player across the line. Hoke will have Butt in the weight room working on his strength, and if he can add some bulk to his already-impressive body, this tight end could end up being one of the best all-round offensive threats in the country. This true freshman will likely be a major factor immediately during the 2013 season.

Projected Stats – Butt
Receptions Yards YPC TD YPG
25 260 10.4 4 21.7
Projected Stats – Hill
Receptions Yards YPC TD YPG
5 60 12.0 1 5.0

Wrapping Up

Michigan is still looking to find the type of tight end play it had in the past, with players like Tim Massaquoi and Tyler Ecker in 2004. With Funchess and Butt as potential starters, things are starting to look up. Not only are both players developed physically, they both pose a definite threat in the passing game. For a team with Drew Dileo and Jeremy Gallon as the main receiving targets, two big men with superior catching ability is a welcome addition to the offense. Expect Gardner to utilize the skills of the tight ends, and for 2013 to be the first year since before the Rich Rodriguez era that Michigan gets big contributions from the position.

National Signing Day: visualizing Michigan’s 2013 recruiting class

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Stay tuned in the coming days as we profile each of the 27 members of Michigan’s 2013 class.