|Martell Webb looks like a defensive tackle
Webb graduated from Pontiac (MI) Northern High School in 2007. He was a 4-star recruit and the #20 receiver in the country to Scout. Rivals ranked him as a 4-star and the #29 wide receiver. During his senior season, he had 31 catches for 862 yards (27.8 yards per catch) and 12 touchdowns. He also returned 11 punts for 301 yards (27.4 yards per return)
Webb burned his redshirt in 2007, playing sparingly in 10 games. Most of his playing time was on special teams, where he assisted on 3 tackles. He played a bit of tight end, but did not catch a pass. As a sophomore in 2008, he was deemed even less ready. Webb played in 3 games and only on special teams. People began to wonder if he would ever contribute, but in 2009 he played in all 12 games, earning 1 start and catching 4 passes for 44 yards and 1 touchdown; he had developed into the team’s blocking tight end. More of the same was to come in 2010, when Webb started 2 games and played in all 13. On a team that didn’t utilize the tight ends much in the passing game, he caught 5 passes for 67 yards and 1 touchdown while backing up Kevin Koger.
3 starts; 9 receptions, 111 yards, 2 touchdowns; 3 special teams tackles
Even back in 2007, I was frustrated that Webb was burning his redshirt. In the summer prior to the season, I saw Webb at a Blockbuster store in Ann Arbor, and he looked like the wide receiver/tight end tweener that he was coming out of high school. Then a month later, I saw him on the field as a freshman. It didn’t make sense then, and it doesn’t make sense now. He barely played that season. Had he redshirted that year, he might have had a good shot at being the starter going into 2011, although his battle with Koger would have continued. Now Michigan has a dearth of tight ends (unless you like walk-ons, position switchers, or a guy who we’ve barely seen on the field in Brandon Moore) to back up or complement Koger, who would have been ideal for the H-back role this year. Webb reportedly suffered from the dropsies in practice during his first couple seasons, which is why he rarely played early on. And when he did play, he rarely saw the ball come his way through the air, although they ran behind him plenty. How could you not run behind a 268 lb. tight end? Perhaps the play I’ll remember most is the one pictured above, which was a short throwback on which Webb was completely unencumbered by the diminutive defender climbing up his back.
There was an outside chance that Webb would be drafted in the April NFL Draft, and that chance remained outside. Whenever NFL teams are allowed to sign free agents, though, I expect Webb to latch on as an undrafted free agent. He has decent athleticism, especially for a guy who’s 6’4″ and 268 lbs. If nothing else, he could be a cheap blocking tight end for an NFL team, not unlike former Denver Bronco Dwayne Carswell.
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