2010 Countdown: #20 Kevin Koger

2010 Countdown: #20 Kevin Koger

August 14, 2010

Name: Kevin Koger
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 255 lbs.
High school: Whitmer High School in Toledo, OH
Position: Tight end
Class: Junior
Jersey number: #86
Last year: I ranked Koger #26 and said he wouldn’t get more than 15 receptions. He caught 16 passes for 220 yards and 2 touchdowns.

I can’t tell if Kevin Koger got to Michigan at the wrong time or the right time. On the one hand, if he played for Lloyd Carr, I think we’d be talking about an all-conference level player. Koger has speed and leaping ability, blocks well, and can make excellent catches. Carr would have used him well. On the other hand, Koger is a perfect fit for the spread offense run by Rich Rodriguez. He can get down the seam quickly, pull, block in space, and generally create problems for a defense. The only mitigating factor is that Rodriguez doesn’t use the tight end very much. Despite reports that Rodriguez and his staff had visited Oklahoma’s coaching staff to integrate the tight end more, Koger only caught 16 passes (1.3 receptions per game) and his backups only caught five passes for 63 yards, 47 of which came against Delaware State.

Consider this: the starting tight ends for Wisconsin (Garrett Graham, 51), Northwestern (Drake Dunsmore, 47), Iowa (Tony Moeaki, 41), Minnesota (Nick Tow-Arnett, 37), Penn State (Andrew Quarless, 30), Purdue (Kyle Adams, 29), Michigan State (Charlie Gantt, 22), and Indiana (Max Dedmond, 18) all caught more passes than Koger in 2009. Even Big Ten newcomer Nebraska’s starting tight end caught 28 passes. The only two teams in the Big Ten who used their tight end less were Illinois and Ohio State, but the average number of receptions for a non-Michigan starting tight end in the Big Ten was 29.7, nearly double Koger’s total.

Forgetting about all that, Koger has the ability to be a very good tight end. He averaged 13.8 yards on his receptions last season, and the catch pictured above is one of the most amazing I’ve seen anywhere, let alone from a Michigan player. He did struggle with a case of the dropsies in 2009, and I’m sure he knows that’s an area he must improve. He’s an important part of the team because of his versatility, whether he’s blocking, catching passes, or lining up in the slot and creating mismatches. But with two somewhat inexperienced quarterbacks who are approximately 6′ tall, Koger isn’t likely to see a huge jump in his numbers this year.

Prediction for 2010: Starting tight end; 18 receptions, 250 yards, 4 touchdowns

40% of poll respondents correctly picked Koger at #20.


  1. Comments: 21385
    Aug 14, 2010 at 12:34 PM

    I would say however, if he caught/held onto the ball more during the second half of the season he would have been a favored target or that safety valve so to speak. After the QB lost faith in him, he stopped throwing to him, IMO.

  2. Comments: 21385
    Aug 14, 2010 at 2:02 PM

    @ Voice of Reason

    I tried to convince myself of that too. But, I really think it's much more about our QBs not using the middle of the field. I think Koger's production will improve as our QBs confidence to use the middle of the field improves. I've heard–through the Interwebs–that Devin Gardner is more apt to do this than Forcier or Robinson.

    I'm a big fan of Koger. On the field, he's got a lot of tools. Off the field, in the interviews I watch, it seems like he's got a really good attitude and easygoing, friendly demeanor.

    Magnus: Great Job on the Countdown. I like the "Guess Who is #??" feature.


  3. Comments: 21385
    Aug 14, 2010 at 7:10 PM

    @ TriFloyd

    I think Gardner is better at it, too. It helps to be 6'4" rather than 6'0" or 6'1". Opponents picked up on the fact that Forcier isn't comfortable in the pocket, and he's not comfortable in the pocket because he can't see. It's easier to see those outside guys or those slot guys rather than a TE running a drag or a seam route behind a bunch of 6'6" linemen.

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