Deakon Tonielli, Wolverine

Deakon Tonielli, Wolverine

June 20, 2022
Oswego (IL) Oswego tight end Deakon Tonielli (image via Hudl)

Oswego (IL) Oswego tight end Deakon Tonielli committed to Michigan on Sunday afternoon. He picked the Wolverines over offers from Illinois, Purdue, Tennessee, and West Virginia, among others.

Tonielli is listed at 6’6″ and 215 lbs. As a sophomore in 2020, he caught 25 passes for 440 yards and 3 touchdowns.

ESPN: 3-star, 79 grade, #14 TE
On3: 4-star, 90 grade, #17 TE
Rivals: 3-star, 5.6 grade, #44 TE
247 Sports: 4-star, 90 grade, #17 TE

Hit the jump for more on Tonielli’s commitment.

Tonielli has long been connected to Michigan as a possible commitment. After being offered in August of 2021, he made at least a couple official visits, including for last season’s win over Ohio State and then again this spring. He took official visits to Illinois and Purdue earlier this month before taking his third to Michigan, after which he announced he would become a Wolverine.

Tonielli’s body looks a lot like Luke Schoonmaker’s body coming out of high school: long and lean. In addition to looking a little like him on the hoof, Tonielli plays a variety of positions for his high school team, including Y tight end, slot receiver, outside receiver, and even some quarterback, which Schoonmaker also did. Tonielli has good pass receiving instincts. He catches the ball well with his hands, and he does a nice job of getting his head around to look for oncoming defenders after making the catch. He shows some nice concentration to reel in the ball even when double teamed.

One thing lacking from Tonielli’s film is much blocking prowess. Playing an array of his positions, he probably does not work on blocking much, but that will have to change. His stance at Y tight end will need some work (his outside foot is too far back), and he looks uncomfortable getting out of that stance. He will also need to refine his release technique, since too many high schoolers just let him get a free release off the line instead of trying to jam him. Tonielli also does not have a ton of suddenness or quickness to his game. He will need to become a more precise route runner and get lower in and out of his cuts to create separation at the next level.

Overall, Tonielli is a solid prospect. He is not going to light the world on fire with his speed and athleticism, and he is going to need to learn to block. I compared him to Schoonmaker above, and it took Schoonmaker a few years to really get his body and mentality right, too. Tonielli is a guy who should be a starter quality tight end by the end of his career if he buys into the weight room.

Michigan now has seven commitments in the class of 2023. With the potential loss of three tight ends after the upcoming season, I would expect the Wolverines to look for at least one more guy to pair with Tonielli.

Tonielli would be Michigan’s first player to come from Oswego High School.

TTB Rating: 76

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