Name: Tarik Black
Weight: 215 lbs.
High school: Cheshire (CT) Cheshire Academy
Position: Wide receiver
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #7
Last year: I ranked Black #9 and said he would be a starting wide receiver with 45 catches for 600 yards and 6 touchdowns (LINK). He made 4 catches for 35 yards.
TTB Rating: 82
Maybe I ranked Tarik Black perfectly last season. He broke his foot in fall camp – the second year in a row that a broken foot ruined his season – and wasn’t available for the season opener against Notre Dame. Michigan lost a fairly close game to the Fighting Irish. Black was projected to be a starter, and the dropoff in talent to Nico Collins and Donovan Peoples-Jones wasn’t too significant, but Black is almost certainly better than the other receivers who ran out there in 2018, such as Grant Perry and Jake McCurry. Black returned to action for the second half of the season, but he didn’t look like he was up to speed and was used sparingly.
It feels like a make-or-break season for Black in 2019. He tweeted out something in the off-season about this being his final year of college, so it seems like he has the expectation of playing in the NFL by 2020. Those are high hopes for a guy with 15 career receptions in two seasons. Furthermore, by all accounts he’s not a starter. The coaching staff reiterated recently that Mike Sainristil was the starter in the slot, and both Nico Collins and Donovan Peoples-Jones have locked up their starting roles on the outside, provided they get/stay healthy. That leaves Black as the “odd man out” even though the #4 receiver can get plenty of targets.
Will Michigan’s #4 guy get many catches? And perhaps more importantly, will Black be the #4 guy? Black has broken his foot twice in two seasons at Michigan, and the Wolverines have done pretty well without him. If he’s healthy, he can add another element to Michigan’s game and be a very good backup when Collins and Peoples-Jones need breathers. Not too far below Black, I ranked #5 receiver Ronnie Bell (LINK), who could be a key component of the offense if any injuries occur.
It’s frustrating that Michigan has a couple elite recruits (Black and Luiji Vilain) from the 2017 class who can’t stay healthy, but if they can get themselves right and make an impact in 2019, it could be a huge boost for this program.
Prediction: Backup wide receiver
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