Mike Kwiatkowski, #81

Tag: Mike Kwiatkowski

26Mar 2013
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Mike Kwiatkowski, #81

Mike Kwiatkowski

Listed as a 6’5″, 235-pounder, Kwiatkowski attended Macomb (MI) Dakota but graduated in 2008 without any scholarship offers, despite some fairly solid production with 26 receptions, 351 yards, and 7 touchdowns as a senior.

He enrolled at Michigan and spent a couple years as a student before making the team prior to the 2010 season.  Rich Rodriguez used him as a scout team offensive guard, but with Brady Hoke’s arrival in 2011, Kwiatkowski moved to his more natural position of tight end.  He played as a backup in two games in 2011.  Penciled in as a backup again in 2012, Kwiatkowski stepped in when fellow fifth year senior Brandon Moore injured his knee.  The walk-on would go on to start six games as a senior, making 4 receptions for 37 yards throughout the season.

6 starts; 4 receptions, 37 yards

Academic All-Big Ten in 2012

As you can tell by my season countdown preview for Kwiatkowski from last season, he didn’t completely come out of the blue.  In the few clips that I had seen of him from spring practices and such, I thought he had the right size and athleticism to be a contributor.  I didn’t expect him to be a starter because Moore seemed to have that job wrapped up, but the injury helped pave the way.  Kwiatkowski turned out to be a solid blocker (perhaps helped by that one season as a scout team offensive lineman) and a capable receiver (I don’t remember a single drop), although he wasn’t outstanding in any particular phase.  To start six games and catch a few passes is a pretty good deal for someone who only joined the team during what amounted to his redshirt sophomore year.

. . . being a walk-on who turned into a solid player.  I wish he had a couple more years left, because I think Michigan could really use him over the next couple seasons.

I think Kwiatkowski’s football playing days are over.  He does not have the speed and athleticism to be a receiving tight end, and he doesn’t have the mass or power to be a blocking tight end at the next level.

26Dec 2012
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Receivers Preview: Michigan vs. South Carolina

South Carolina wide receiver Bruce Ellington (image via Independent Mail)

Starters: Fifth year senior Roy Roundtree (6’0″, 180 lbs.) has really stepped up his game since Devin Gardner stepped in at quarterback, and now has 28 receptions for 553 yards (19.8 yards/reception) and 3 touchdowns; 15 of those receptions, 378 of those yards, and 2 of those touchdowns have come from Gardner in just four games together.  Redshirt junior Jeremy Gallon (5’8″, 187 lbs.) has also increased his production, with 22 of his 40 receptions and 366 of his 684 yards coming from Gardner.  Fifth year senior Mike Kwiatkowski (6’5″, 262 lbs.) has become the starter at tight end, but he’s more blocker than receiver; he has just 4 catches for 37 yards on the year.
Backups: Junior Drew Dileo (5’10”, 180 lbs.) is the most dangerous of the backup wide receivers with 17 receptions for 309 yards (18.2 yards/reception) and 1 touchdown; he’s sure-handed and reliable, but he’s not very fast.  The same descriptors could be used for junior Jeremy Jackson (6’3″, 204 lbs.), who has just 4 receptions for 31 yards on the year but plays quite a bit.  Redshirt junior walk-on Joe Reynolds (6’1″, 196 lbs.) has usurped some playing time from the aforementioned players and notched 3 receptions for 22 yards against Iowa; he’s also a reliable blocker, although he has incurred a couple penalties.  Freshman tight end Devin Funchess (6’5″, 229 lbs.) was a revelation toward the beginning of the year, but he seems to have been forgotten a little bit down the stretch; he has not caught more than one pass in a game since the September 22 contest against Notre Dame.  His last two receptions have gone for touchdowns, though, and altogether he has 14 receptions for 230 yards (16 yards/reception) and 5 touchdowns on the year.

Starters: After the humongous Alshon Jeffery left for the NFL last season, the Gamecocks have turned to a trio of diminutive wideouts.  Sophomore Bruce Ellington (5’9″, 197 lbs.) leads the team with 38 receptions for 564 yards (14.8 yards/reception) and has notched 6 touchdowns.  Junior Ace Sanders (5’8″, 175 lbs.) is just behind him with 36 receptions, but he leads the team with 7 touchdown receptions; however, he has just 439 yards and isn’t as much of a big play threat.  Redshirt sophomore Nick Jones (5’7″, 184 lbs.) is also a starter, but he has just 9 receptions for 119 yards (13.2 yards/reception) and 0 touchdowns on the year.  Senior tight end Justice Cunningham (6’4″, 264 lbs.) has 22 catches for 287 yards (13.0 yards/reception) and 0 touchdowns on the year.  The receivers are small and slippery, but this isn’t the same kind of passing offense that Steve Spurrier had when he was coaching the Florida Gators.
Backups: Sophomore Damiere Byrd (5’9″, 168 lbs.) has made some big plays with 12 catches for 303 yards (25.4 yards/reception) and 2 touchdowns.  Freshman Shaq Roland (6’1″, 173 lbs.) has 5 catches for 80 yards (16 yards/reception) and 1 touchdown, but he could see his role increase now that key backup D.L. Moore has been suspended for the bowl game.  Freshman tight end Rory Anderson (6’5″, 218 lbs.) is still very thin, but he has been a big-play receiver with 13 catches for 264 yards (20.2 yards/reception) and 5 touchdowns, the South Carolina version of Funchess.

Extrapolated over an entire twelve-game season with Gardner at quarterback, Roundtree would have 45 receptions for 1,066 yards and 6 touchdowns, and Gallon would have 66 receptions for 1,098 yards and 3 touchdowns.  That would give Michigan the Big Ten’s top two receivers (Penn State’s Allen Robinson leads the conference with 1,018 yards).  Meanwhile, the Gamecocks receivers are solid and could give Michigan fits now that starting cornerback J.T. Floyd will miss the game.  South Carolina’s starters might have a better game, but the better receiving corps is Michigan’s.
Advantage: Michigan

17Sep 2012
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Michigan vs. UMass Awards

Mike Kwiatkowski

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Mike Kwiatkowski.  I like what I’ve seen out of him so far.  He caught a 16-yard pass and that’s all, but he looks pretty athletic and does a decent job of blocking.  Despite Brandon Moore getting the Ron Kramer “Legends” #87 jersey, I think Kwiatkowski is the superior player.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . opponents running with the football.  Three games, four interceptions for Denard Robinson.  The one in this game was returned for six points.  A senior quarterback should not be making these mistakes.

Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Joe Bolden.  I’m not a huge fan of replacing seniors with freshmen, but Bolden has done a good job the past couple weeks.  Starting middle linebacker Kenny Demens played the vast majority of snaps last season, but Michigan can afford to rest him (or replace him?) with Bolden and not miss a whole lot.  He’s more athletic than Demens.

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . Raymon Taylor.  I really think Taylor is overmatched.  I’m not sure if Michigan has a better option (Courtney Avery? Terry Richardson?), but I’m worried about how Taylor will match up against Notre Dame and other future opponents.

Play of the game . . . Devin Gardner’s catch-and-run.  Gardner did a great job of catching the ball, getting upfield, and stretching for the pylon.  He’s deceptively strong for having a lanky frame and did a great job of staying inbounds when it looked like he would get knocked out at around the 2-yard line.

MVP of the game . . . Denard Robinson.  He ran 10 times for 106 yards and 1 touchdown.  He completed 16/24 passes for 291 yards and 3 touchdowns.  The turnovers and near turnovers are frustrating, but the bottom line is that he accounted for 397 yards and 4 touchdowns.

27Jun 2012
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2012 Season Countdown: #64 Mike Kwiatkowski

Mike Kwiatkowski

Name: Mike Kwiatkowski
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 257 lbs.
High school: Macomb (MI) Dakota
Position: Tight end
Class: Redshirt senior
Jersey number: #81
Last year: I did not rank Kwiatkowski.  He played in two games but did not accrue any stats.

Kwiatkowski didn’t play much last season and didn’t start playing football in college until last year.  However, from what I have seen in practice and film, I think Kwiatkowski could be a surprise contributor this season.  He’s big enough to be a blocking tight end when the offense uses multiple tight end sets, and he’s even athletic enough to catch a pass here or there.  I don’t expect him to start or turn into a star, but he could be the offense’s equivalent of Nathan Brink.

Prediction: Backup tight end