2017 Season Countdown: #48 Nate Schoenle

2017 Season Countdown: #48 Nate Schoenle


July 15, 2017

Nate Schoenle (image via 247 Sports)

Name: Nate Schoenle
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 185 lbs.
High school: Ann Arbor (MI) Gabriel Richard
Position: Wide receiver
Class: Sophomore
Jersey number: #35
Last year: I did not rank Schoenle. He played in one game.
TTB Rating: N/A

Schoenle was a bit of a revelation this spring. Not only did he play a skill position as a true freshman walk-on in 2016, but he was a reliable receiving threat in the spring game. That capped a behind-the-scenes batch of positive rumors regarding his practice performances. Schoenle is a steady route runner with decent speed, and he seems to have the trust of Michigan’s quarterbacks. Michigan is looking for someone in the slot to potentially take the spot of Grant Perry, who has had some off-the-field troubles, and Schoenle is vying for that spot. He’s not a jet sweep threat like Eddie McDoom, and he’s not a threat to take it to the house on a bubble screen, but he’s a good enough route runner to get separation in the slot, and he’s a big enough target to be a matchup issue for tiny nickel corners. In reality, he might outplay this ranking, or this might be too high for him, but his star seems to be rising a bit.

Prediction: Backup slot receiver

18 comments

  1. Comments: 568
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Jul 15, 2017 at 9:23 PM

    I read every day, but can’t seem to remember… Is Schoenle ranked ahead of every walk-on not named Glasgow?

    • Comments: 2083
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jul 16, 2017 at 1:47 PM

      Jordan Glasgow and Garrett Moores are the only two remaining walk-ons.

  2. Painter Smurf
    Comments: 191
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    Painter Smurf
    Jul 16, 2017 at 7:54 AM

    Harbaugh mentioned after the spring scrimmage that Schoenle catches everything in practice. Has a nice frame too. Would help his case if he fills out a bit. But if Pep brings more NFL shot gun schemes, sure handed slots will be usefull.

    I came away from the spring scrimmage impressed with several walk-ons. Love that Harbaugh is emphasizing the walk-on program.

  3. Comments: 8
    Joined: 4/20/2017
    Mich1993
    Jul 16, 2017 at 8:24 AM

    Seems like where Schoenle falls is tightly linked to Grant Perry. Other than Perry, Michigan doesn’t have someone to reliably get open and catch the ball on 3rd and medium (maybe Bunting). Schoenle seems the most likely of the other WRs to fill this roll.
    If Perry plays a ton of the slot snaps, there may not be much left for Schoenle. If Perry plays outside some or less snaps for whatever reason, Schoenle could make a bunch of key plays.

    • Comments: 3181
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Jul 16, 2017 at 1:06 PM

      You’re calling Schoenle a reliable threat to get open and catch, but not Crawford, Martin, DPJ, and many many more? That’s putting a whole lot of stock into a spring game performance against a depleted secondary.

      • Painter Smurf
        Comments: 191
        Joined: 8/12/2015
        Painter Smurf
        Jul 16, 2017 at 1:29 PM

        That is what multiple coaches (and I believe Speight) singled him out for. Harbaugh said Schoenle regularly gets top practice grades for the position group for catching everything. The point is that being dependable is a good way to get on the field as a slot in shotgun spread sets. You don’t need all four receivers to stretch the field.

        • Comments: 3181
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Jul 16, 2017 at 1:55 PM

          Hasn’t Schoenle also been praised for having excellent speed? If we’re speculating on what he can do – why are we assuming he can’t stretch the field?

          • Comments: 8
            Joined: 4/20/2017
            Mich1993
            Jul 16, 2017 at 5:18 PM

            Fair point about basing mostly on the spring game. That is all I’ve got with all the new guys coming in this year. The other WRs were also going up against the depleted secondary, and I didn’t see them getting open. Black won some nice jump balls at the end, but I didn’t see much of the other WRs getting open.
            I see DPJ, Black, McDoom, Johnson, etc. as playmakers and future stars that need some time to refine their route running to routinely get open. Crawford didn’t play much so it is hard to tell with him. Lots and lots of potential at WR, but I’m nervous about them this year.

            • Comments: 3181
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Jul 16, 2017 at 5:56 PM

              Agreed. The nice thing is that numbers are in our favor at WR and the talent is there. Chances are, WR is going to work out just fine.

              Hoke left Harbaugh with Chesson/Darboh and not much else, resulting in Perry getting thrown on the field before he was ready and perhaps costing Michigan the Utah game.

              That’s not going to be the case this year with Crawford, Perry, and McDoom all returning, plus about 38 freshman recruits. This year’s version of Perry will be a stud who has outplayed a bunch of other highly rated recruits to earn snaps.

              I have zero worries about WR. Even if we had to go without ANY freshman I would feel OK about it.

  4. Comments: 3181
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Jul 16, 2017 at 1:03 PM

    Schoenle sounds like a good find and his practice performance is encouraging. But I think Thunder is rating him at the #6 WR ( behind Crawford, McDoom, DPJ, Black, Johnson.) When was the last time a #6 WR got meaningful snaps? Even the #4 and 5 guy is usually highly replaceable.

    That question sets aside how likely it is that a walk-on is more impressive than all 3 of Collins, Ways, and Martin. I wouldn’t just put one of them ahead of Schoenle, I would put all of them there. I think it’s reading way too much into spring practice, particularly considering how many WRs were missing and/or early enrollees.

    This rank might make sense if Perry was gone, but he’s back with the team. As is, I think Schoenle’s maybe a candidate to return kicks or punts and will serve a useful role on the scout team. He doesn’t seem likely to win either job though. That’s the profile of a highly replaceable player that you’d expect to be ranked in the 70s or 80s. Putting him ahead of guys who have the potential to be impact rotation players (say for example St.Juste) at positions of need is a huge stretch, IMO.

    If Schoenle catches more than say…3 balls this year, I’ll be pleasantly shocked.

    • Comments: 2083
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jul 16, 2017 at 1:43 PM

      When I put the list together, Perry’s status was uncertain (and it still is, to an extent).

      • Comments: 3181
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Jul 16, 2017 at 1:59 PM

        It’s your blog man – you can update the list. Perry got reinstated in early June.

        Take your point about uncertainty – things aren’t 100% settled for a few more days at least and Perry will be on thin ice henceforth. But the most likely outcome seems fairly clear here given all that we know.

    • Comments: 635
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Jul 16, 2017 at 4:32 PM

      You’re right..Even when we’ve had quality QBs and good passing games, it’s very rare (if ever) that any receiver past #3 makes much of an impact. That’s just the kind of passing game Michigan runs. Last year, no one after the top 3 had more than 5 catches, which is basically at the level of random noise.

      Part of that is probably due to the fact that when we get a big enough lead to have our 4 and 5 receivers getting most of the snaps, we tend to run the ball a lot more often, as opposed to a more pass-oriented team like Texas Tech, that just keeps throwing. But of course, even in cases like that, the impact on actual outcomes from those guys is insignificant, even if they’re getting more catches in garbage time. Add to that the fact that WR has not been a terribly injury-prone position for us.

      • Comments: 3181
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Jul 16, 2017 at 5:50 PM

        I consider McDoom’s role last year (#4 WR) to be meaningful and his performance, arguably, not easily replaceable. McDoom got the ball in almost every game. His 10ypc were a lot more than Chesson or Crawford got, so one can argue he wasn’t easily replicated by someone else. (*sample size caveats apply)

        Other than that – yeah. Last year, then #5 would have been Crawford, who got 7 touches – none that I can remember coming in a competitive situation. He played mostly because they wanted him ready for this year.

        The #5 WR the year before was Mo Ways, who caught 3 balls. I think he saw the field more than that would indicate though, because of his blocking. Still – very replaceable.

        I think ranking the #4WR in this range is reasonable, maybe even #5 in some cases. When we’re talking about the #6 guy – their value has to come from something else (like special teams) to be in the top 50. It hasn’t been since the Rodriguez era that a #6 (or less) WR played a meaningful role.

        • JC
          Comments: 121
          Joined: 8/17/2015
          JC
          Jul 17, 2017 at 8:40 AM

          Ranking the #4 receiver on the border of a traditional 2 deep is reasonable?

          There are times we’ll run 4 wide. That 4th receiver is going to be more important than many in the 2 deep, as they’re directly thrown into the game outside of spelling duties.

          Different receivers have different skill sets, and are used in different situations. Even without rumors of moving to more of a spread offense, this isn’t a bad spot for the 6th best receiver. I have my 6th best receiver as Oliver Martin at #51 overall.

          • Comments: 3181
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Jul 17, 2017 at 10:09 AM

            Only true if the 4th WR is better than the 5th WR. When was the last time this was evident?

            Who was the “different WR with a different skillset” in 2015? Drake Harris?

            • JC
              Comments: 121
              Joined: 8/17/2015
              JC
              Jul 17, 2017 at 10:19 AM

              2015 didn’t have a ton of talent at WR, but Perry and Chesson had different skill sets, in blocking ability and ability to stretch the field.

              This year:
              Nico Collins and Oliver Martin have different skill sets.

              McDoom and Tarik Black have different skill sets.

              Gentry and DPJ have different skill sets.

        • JDNorway
          Comments: 8
          Joined: 10/3/2016
          JDNorway
          Jul 17, 2017 at 10:19 AM

          If the pecking order was set, I would agree with you. On an offensive line where the top 8 guys are set in stone, the ninth guy holds little value. Ditto the #6 WR when the top 5 are fairly extablished. Such is not the case for us. Our slot options are unproven. Shoenle has upside. We’re docking him points for being a walk-on, which is fair, given the non-existent history of starting walk-on WRs (since I arrived on campus in ’94 at least). If we judge his potential on practice hype, he’s about as likely to catch 20 balls as McDoom, who has received more praise for his running ability than receiving.

          It would be fun to see a local walk-on succeed. So if you combine the upside based on uncertainty ahead of him with the “local kid exceeding expectations”-storyline, it makes overranking his more likely production by maybe 5-10 spots pretty reasonable imo.

You must belogged in to post a comment.