88 Tim Massaquoi 6-4 249 5th/Sr.
89 Tyler Ecker 6-6 249 Sr./Jr.
84 Kevin Murphy 6-5 253 Sr./Jr.
85 Mike Massey 6-4 216 So./Fr.
fall Carson Butler 6-6 230 Fr./Fr.
w/o Matt Studenski 6-4 227 5th/Sr.
This tight end unit returns pretty much intact and will be relied upon to
step up this spring. Returning starter Tim Massaquoi didn't post the type of
numbers many expected (18 receptions, 184 yards) due to a true freshman quarterback
and the shifted focus on the receivers; but that was still good enough to earn
him All-Big Ten honors. Now as he heads into his senior season, he is poised
to do even more.
Massaquoi, who was a receiver in high school, has the deep speed to stretch
coverages and his hands have been ever improving. The area he needs to most
improve is his drive blocking and block recognition. He had mental lapses in
the past with letting pass rushers slip by him and he's never been a dominant
run blocker but he has gotten better every year. Massaquoi looked pretty sharp
in spring practice and he is going to need to maintain his solid performances
to hold off junior Tyler Ecker.
Ecker was one of the most impressive offensive players in spring practice and
like Massaquoi, shows the athleticism to gain the respect of safeties deep.
He also works the seams of a coverage very well. Ecker shows great catching
mechanics and has made some very clutch plays in the past few seasons for the
Wolverines. Tyler isn't going to over power many at the line of scrimmage, but
he and Massaquoi are two excellent receiving options in a two tight end set.
Kevin Murphy, who was a solid recruit coming out of high school, has yet to
record a catch as a Wolverine due in part to his constant battle with injuries.
Murphy was reduced to seeing mostly special teams action last year, but is looking
to solidify himself as the third tight end on the depth chart this year. Murphy
may win some playing time if he proves himself as a blocker, which is a trait
of needed at this position. The key with him is staying healthy. That should
enable him to see increased playing time this year.
Behind Murphy is redshirt freshman Mike Massey. The younger brother of senior
defensive tackle Pat Massey is very athletic but is still filling out his frame
and gaining strength. The question is will he be able to maintain his speed
and agility once he puts on some weight. Massey looked excellent in practice
and he may be the fastest tight end on the roster. Whether he will see any playing
time is up in the air. He is quick and has good hands, but until he gets bigger
he's going to be a liability blocking in the running game.
Incoming recruit Carson Butler will most likely redshirt this season while walk-on Matt Studenski returns for his final campaign.