Review of 2008 Recruiting: Tight Ends

Review of 2008 Recruiting: Tight Ends

February 14, 2018

Kevin Koger

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Mike Massey (RS Sr.)
Carson Butler (RS Jr.)
Martell Webb (So.)
Steve Watson (RS Fr.)


Kevin Koger
High school: Toledo (OH) Whitmer
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #4 TE, #144 overall
College: Michigan
Other notable offers: Michigan State, Ohio State
Scoop: Koger played as a backup in 2008, but he then went on to start 30 games over his final three years in Ann Arbor. He made 59 career receptions for 756 yards (12.8 yards/catch) and 9 touchdowns. He did not pursue an NFL career and has been coaching high school and college ball since then, including being an offensive graduate assistant at Michigan. He is currently the wide receivers coach at Eastern Kentucky.

Brandon Moore
High school: Trotwood (OH) Trotwood-Madison
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #8 TE, #187 overall
College: Michigan
Other notable offers: Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Miami
Scoop: Moore redshirted in 2008 and struggled to get on the field for the next couple years. He would go on to make one start in 2012, but he totaled just 2 catches for 28 yards in his career. He went undrafted in 2012 and did not play in the NFL.

Hit the jump for more on the 2008 class.


Spencer Ladner
High school: Kansas City (MO) Pembroke Hill
Ratings: 3-star, #16 TE
College: California
Other notable offers: Clemson, Nebraska, Oklahoma
Scoop: Ladner redshirted in 2008 and then made a total of 3 catches for 12 yards before his career ended in 2011 with a knee injury.

Chris Pantale
High school: Wayne (NJ) Valley
Ratings: 3-star, #20 TE
College: Boston College
Other notable offers: Maryland, Michigan State, Rutgers
Scoop: Pantale redshirted in 2008 and then put together four pretty consistent seasons from 2009-2012. He caught 98 total passes (25, 31, 21, and then 21) for 986 yards (10.1 yards/catch) and 7 touchdowns. He went undrafted in 2013, played in five games for the New York Jets without recording a catch, and has bounced around several practice squads since.

Kyle Rudolph
High school: Cincinnati (OH) Elder
Ratings: Rivals 5-star, #1 TE, #20 overall
College: Notre Dame
Other notable offers: Miami, Ohio State, Tennessee
Scoop: Rudolph contributed immediately in South Bend and spent only three seasons in college before entering the NFL draft. In those three years, he caught 90 passes for 1,032 yards (11.5 yards/catch) and 8 touchdowns. He was picked in the 2nd round (#43 overall) of the 2011 draft by the Minnesota Vikings, for whom he has played the last seven seasons. In that time he has 322 catches for 3,153 yards (9.8 yards/catch) and 37 touchdowns. He has two Pro Bowl appearances in that time.

Jake Stoneburner
High school: Dublin (OH) Coffman
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #3 TE, #120 overall
College: Ohio State
Other notable offers: Florida, Notre Dame, Penn State, USC
Scoop: Stoneburner redshirted in 2008 and then started 23 games for the Buckeyes from 2009-2012. During that stretch, he caught 53 passes for 714 yards (13.5 yards/catch) and 13 touchdowns. He went undrafted in 2013 and has bounced around the NFL since then. He made 5 catches for 47 yards for the Miami Dolphins in 2015 but is out of the league right now.

Mark Wedderburn
High school: Springfield (PA) Cardinal O’Hara
Ratings: 3-star, #17 TE
College: Penn State
Other notable offers: Florida, Louisville, Tennessee
Scoop: The brother of former Seattle Seahawks offensive guard Floyd Wedderburn, Mark redshirted in 2008 and transferred in 2010 before ever producing anything for the Nittany Lions. Though he signed with Kutztown, he never played for them and his football career never got off the ground.


The 2008 season was the first for Rich Rodriguez at Michigan, and it was unclear at the time how he would use the tight end position. The general thought was that tight ends would not be utilized very much because he hadn’t used them a great deal at West Virginia, but you never know. Koger was a very good tight end and a holdover in style from the Lloyd Carr regime, while Moore split out wide as a high schooler and was considered a bit of a project to become an in-line tight end. Koger was significantly underused during his time at Michigan, averaging fewer than 15 catches and 200 yards per year. It’s not a coincidence that Koger achieved career highs in catches, yards, and touchdowns as a senior under Brady Hoke. Moore never really reached his potential as a blocker or receiver, and it was unclear in 2011 whether he would be asked back for a fifth year in 2012.

Biggest miss: Kyle Rudolph. A three-year starter, second round pick, and NFL Pro Bowler is a pretty obvious choice here. Rudolph was very consistent in college and has been solid in the NFL, though he’s not on the same production level as Greg Olsen or Rob Gronkowski or Travis Kelce. Even if Rudolph had picked Michigan, I don’t know if Rodriguez would have used him enough to showcase his talent. He made a good choice by going to Notre Dame.

Biggest bust: Brandon Moore. Of the seven guys on the list altogether, Moore is #5 in receiving production, ahead of only Ladner and Wedderburn. To be a five-year player with only 2 catches for 27 yards is pretty paltry. He probably would have been better off going to a program that emphasized the tight end for all five years, but even Hoke didn’t use him much.

Best in class: This is a tough choice, because there were several productive tight ends in that 2008 class, including Rudolph, Coby Fleener (Stanford), Julius Thomas (Portland State), and Dwayne Allen (Clemson). Rudolph would be a good choice, but I’m going with Travis Kelce from Cincinnati. He was lightly recruited and took a while to get going – including being suspended a year for violating team rules – but his final college season saw 45 receptions for 722 yards (16.0 yards/catch) and 8 touchdowns. He became a 3rd round pick by the Chiefs in 2013 and has made three Pro Bowls, totaling 307 catches for 3,900 yards and 22 touchdowns. Those totals are lower than Rudolph’s, but Rudolph has been in the league since 2011, while Kelce came out in 2013.

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