Name: Deakon Tonielli
Weight: 230 lbs.
High school: Oswego (IL) Oswego
Position: Tight end
Jersey number: N/A
Last year: Tonielli was a senior in high school (LINK). He caught 42 passes for 550 yards and 5 touchdowns.
TTB Rating: 76
One of the more forgotten members of the 2023 class, Tonielli ended up as a 247 Composite 4-star, the #20 tight end, and #413 overall. With a decent offer list that included Illinois, Purdue, Minnesota, Tennessee, and West Virginia, he took official visits to Champaign and West Lafayette before visiting Ann Arbor and committing shortly thereafter. Tonielli played some in-line tight end in high school, but he also spent a lot of time split out wide, where he was a mismatch for high school corners. Quicker than most 6’5″, 230-pounders and towering over most of the guys covering him, he seemed to be able to get open pretty consistently for a team that ran the ball a lot.
Strength and blocking will be a couple of the hurdles for Tonielli to overcome in year one. He needs to put on a good chunk of weight before he can get on the field much, and his blocking will need to improve. Usually, that points to a redshirt year as a tight end, and that’s a strong possibility for Tonielli. However, Michigan lost several tight ends to the NFL (Luke Schoonmaker, Joel Honigford), graduation (Carter Selzer) and transfer (Erick All, Louis Hansen) last season and only brought in Indiana’s A.J. Barner from the transfer portal. Zack Marshall enrolled early as a freshman and may have a better shot to play than Tonielli. But Michigan uses a lot of tight ends, so Tonielli may be able to slip on the field a few times while still preserving his redshirt, like Marlin Klein did in 2022 when he played in two games.