2023 Recruiting Grades: Tight End
Previously: QUARTERBACK, RUNNING BACK
On Saturday I covered the quarterback position, followed by the running backs on Tuesday. Now for a look at the tight ends.
2023 DEPARTURES: 4 (Erick All, Louis Hansen, Joel Honigford, Luke Schoonmaker)
2023 NEEDS: 2
2023 COMMITMENTS: Carlsbad (CA) Carlsbad TE Zack Marshall, Oswego (IL) Oswego TE Deakon Tonielli
- Kade Eldridge – Lynden (WA) Christian: USC
- Cooper Flanagan – Concord (CA) De La Salle: Notre Dame
- Jaden Hamm – Eudora (KS) Eudora: Kansas
- Nyckoles Harbor – Washington (DC) Archbishop Carroll: South Carolina
- Luke Hasz – Bixby (OK) Bixby: Arkansas
- Chico Holt – Houston (TX) Strake Jesuit: Northwestern
- Jaxon Howard – Minneapolis (MN) Robbinsdale Cooper: LSU
- Matthew Klopfenstein – Scottsdale (AZ) Horizon: Baylor
- Ty Lockwood – Thompson’s Station (MO) Independence: Alabama
- Walker Lyons – Folsom (CA) Folsom: USC
- Mac Markway – St. Louis (MO) DeSmet: LSU
- Brett Norfleet – St. Charles (MO) Francis Howell: Missouri
- Andrew Rappleyea – Milton (MA) Milton: Penn State
- Jelani Thurman – Fairburn (GA) Langston Hughes: Ohio State
- Riley Williams – Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy: Miami
- Preston Zinter – Cambridge (MA) Buckingham Browne & Nichols: Notre Dame
REASON FOR THE GRADE: Michigan needed to restock the tight end position in the class of 2023 after suffering heavy losses from the group following the 2022 season. Not only did Erick All (Iowa) and Louis Hansen (UConn) transfer, but second string tight end Luke Schoonmaker departed for the NFL, blocking tight end Joel Honigford ran out of eligibility, and a decent walk-on in Carter Selzer also graduated. All, Schoonmaker, and Honigford all played a ton. Tight end is a position where players typically need at least one season of strength and conditioning development before being relevant, so it’s important to keep a steady string of players coming.
Unfortunately, the Wolverines whiffed on most of their top targets, which is surprising considering how often tight ends are used in Michigan’s offense. Tonielli (4-star, #20 TE, #411 overall) was the tenth highest ranked guy at the position that Michigan offered, and Marshall would be the thirteenth highest ranked offeree if he were listed as a tight end (he’s an “athlete” according to the 247 Composite). Tonielli is really a big receiver being converted to tight end, and Marshall does not look like much of a difference maker when it comes to his athleticism.
Overall, Michigan supplemented its numbers decently at the position, but the talent level drops off. All and Schoonmaker are both NFL-caliber tight ends and Hansen was a well regarded 4-star recruit, though he hadn’t made an impact on the field during his first two seasons; Marshall is not on their level as an athlete, and Tonielli has good upside even if he doesn’t have the body and skills to play immediately. Michigan did take a strong swing at 5-star Nyckoles Harbor, but ultimately, NIL drove Harbor to South Carolina. Massachusetts product Andrew Rappleyea was committed to the Wolverines at one point, but he flipped to Penn State.