2018 Season Countdown: #49 Tyrone Wheatley, Jr.

Tag: Tyrone Wheatley Jr.


13Jul 2018
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2018 Season Countdown: #49 Tyrone Wheatley, Jr.

Tyrone Wheatley, Jr. (image via Pinterest)

Name: Tyrone Wheatley, Jr.
Height: 6’6″
Weight: 276 lbs.
High school: Buffalo (NY) Canisius
Position: Tight end
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #17
Last year: I ranked Wheatley #18 and said he would be a backup tight end (LINK). He made three starts and caught 3 passes for 26 yards.
TTB Rating: 82

When Wheatley came out of high school a few years ago, many Michigan fans wanted to bulk him up and make him an offensive tackle. I kind of wanted him to play defensive end. Instead, he has stayed at tight end, redshirting his first year and playing sporadic minutes since. He made bookend starts last year against Florida and Ohio State, but there wasn’t a lot of production in the meantime; he had one catch each against Cincinnati, Indiana, and Rutgers. The thing most people expected him to be good – blocking – has not been a strength.

It’s hard to believe Wheatley is a redshirt junior now, but that’s the case. The son of a Michigan all-timer has 6 catches for 61 yards and 1 touchdown in three years on campus. Furthermore, he might not be taking a step forward this season, because Sean McKeon and Zach Gentry look to still be ahead of him, while the only departure (Ian Bunting as a grad transfer to Cal) only had 1 reception last season. There’s no reason to expect Wheatley’s impact to increase this year unless he can improve significantly as a blocker, and both McKeon and Gentry have two years left if they decide to stay. Unless something changes this might be a case where Wheatley gets his degree and finishes his career elsewhere.

Prediction: Backup tight end

7Dec 2017
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Who might not return on offense in 2018?

Ian Bunting (image via Land of 10)

As I looked at the scholarship count for 2018 (LINK), there were a number of names that stuck out of guys who don’t have a clear path to playing time. This post is intended to examine some of those players’ potential to contribute in the future. This is NOT based on any rumors, but simply logic.

QUARTERBACK: With just four players on scholarship for 2018 – including two true freshmen – it wouldn’t make much sense for anyone to leave. Brandon Peters (RS So.) should be the #1 guy, and Dylan McCaffrey (RS Fr.) would presumably be the primary backup. Both of them were recruited by Jim Harbaugh, and both of them are talented, 4-star guys. The one guy who could throw a wrench into those plans is Shea Patterson, a potential transfer from Ole Miss (LINK).

FULLBACK: Michigan loses its top two guys at fullback, but the next guy will be just a sophomore in 2018, and that’s Ben Mason. With Mason looking like the clear front-runner to start, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense for Jared Wangler (RS Sr.) to return in 2018. Not only was Wangler a linebacker for his first few years on campus, but he was at least fourth on the depth chart this season. There are walk-ons who could surpass him, and so far Michigan hasn’t deployed a fullback as light as him (229 lbs.) under Jim Harbaugh

RUNNING BACK: Departures happen all the time, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if someone leaves in the next year or two. However, the running backs are spaced out pretty well, from senior Karan Higdon to junior Chris Evans to redshirt sophomore Kareem Walker to the freshmen.

WIDE RECEIVER: Drake Harris and Maurice Ways, Jr. have already chosen to depart, so that thins the ranks a little bit, but Michigan brought in four wideouts in the 2017 class. With a lot of trust being put in Donovan Peoples-Jones and Tarik Black, there seemed to be less and less emphasis on Kekoa Crawford and Eddie McDoom this year than expected. Neither one redshirted and both could go elsewhere to have two years of eligibility left. Much like the Shea Patterson situation, the potential arrival of Ole Miss’s Van Jefferson could be disruptive to their careers, too.

TIGHT END: The departure that makes the most sense is Ian Bunting (RS Sr.). I thought Bunting was going to replace Jake Butt pretty well, but instead, Bunting was passed up by every other scholarship tight end on the roster, all of whom are younger. Zach Gentry (RS Jr.), Sean McKeon (Jr.), Tyrone Wheatley, Jr. (RS Jr.), and even Nick Eubanks (RS So.) were used earlier in the season and/or games than Bunting. Bunting had just 1 catch for 6 yards on the season. Along the same lines, Wheatley is getting older and seems to have two guys ahead of him (Gentry and McKeon).

OFFENSIVE LINE: With the uncertainty on the offensive line and two seniors graduating (Mason Cole, Patrick Kugler), there are two starting spots available, and Michigan likes to use six or seven linemen a game for random formations and short yardage stuff.

15Aug 2017
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2017 Season Countdown: #18 Tyrone Wheatley, Jr.

Tyrone Wheatley, Jr. (image via 247 Sports)

Name: Tyrone Wheatley, Jr.
Height: 6’6″
Weight: 276 lbs.
High school: Buffalo (NY) Canisius
Position: Tight end
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #17
Last year: I ranked Wheatley #30 and said he would be a part-time starter at tight end. He made 3 catches for 35 yards and 1 touchdown.
TTB Rating: 82

Wheatley was a huge tight end and defensive end when he came out of high school, big enough to where many people thought he would grow into an offensive tackle. He was up around 290 lbs. prior to his freshman year, and was listed at 276 lbs. by the beginning of 2016. With Jake Butt at tight end, he was bound to be primarily a backup tight end battling with Devin Asiasi, Ian Bunting, and others for playing time. He got wide open for a 21-yard TD against Illinois, but he was mostly used as a blocker.

Despite his size, the biggest knock on Wheatley has been his blocking skills. He has reportedly dropped some more weight going into this season and should be in the 260 lb. range when the new fall roster is released. I expect him to be a second tight end this year, and while maybe he hasn’t reached his potential as a blocker, I think that’s where he holds the most value for this team. Ian Bunting is probably going to win the starting tight end position, but he struggles as a blocker, too, so the coaching staff needs to find a blocker out of Wheatley and Sean McKeon. I think Wheatley’s targets will increase this season, but he probably won’t be a breakout receiving star.

Prediction: Backup tight end

17Apr 2017
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2017 Spring Game Thoughts: Offense

Brandon Peters

Brandon Peters (#18) with Michael Onwenu (#50) and Ty Isaac (#32)

SITE NEWS: Right now we have 35 users with avatars uploaded. When that number reaches 50, I’ll do a drawing for a $50 gift card to Amazon.


The Maize team won Saturday’s spring game by a score of 31-29 with a last-second field goal by Kyle Seychel. You can find videos and highlights here (LINK).

Hit the jump for some position-by-position thoughts on what we all saw. (Note: not every player will be mentioned.)

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27Dec 2016
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Orange Bowl Preview: Michigan Receivers vs. Florida State Secondary

Tarvarus McFadden (image via Warchant)

MICHIGAN

Starters: Fifth year senior Amara Darboh (52 catches, 826 yards, 7 TDs) has been more productive this year than any Michigan receiver since Jeremy Gallon in 2013. Darboh has had some key drops, but that’s because he’s the go-to guy for quarterback Wilton Speight and gets the ball thrown to him in crunch time. Otherwise, he has made some highlight-reel catches and turned in some big plays this year. Michigan likes to use him as both a possession guy and a downfield threat, although he’s not a huge weapon in the deep passing game. Classmate Jehu Chesson (31 catches, 469 yards, 2 TDs) has seen his production fall off dramatically from the second half of the 2015 season, and he just doesn’t look like the same player after a knee injury against Florida in last year’s bowl game. Senior tight end Jake Butt (43 catches, 518 yards, 4 TDs) stands 6’6″, 250 lbs. and won the Mackey Award for the country’s best tight end. He’s not a great blocker, but he’s a very good route runner with sure hands.

Key backups: Michigan will be without the legally challenged Grant Perry (13 catches, 183 yards, 1 TD) due to legal troubles, and he’s the only other wideout who has been regularly targeted this season. The next most productive guy is 6’0″, 180 lb. freshman Eddie McDoom (5 catches, 59 yards; 15 carries, 154 yards), a speedster who has clearly made more of a mark on end arounds and reverses than in the passing game. Fellow freshman Kekoa Crawford (4 catches, 47 yards, 1 TD) and redshirt sophomore Drake Harris (2 catches, 11 yards) may also see some additional time. The backup tight ends haven’t factored into the passing game much: five tight ends have caught either 1 or 2 passes. We should see a lot of 6’6″, 276 lb. redshirt freshman Tyrone Wheatley, Jr. and 6’3″, 287 lb. freshman Devin Asiasi in mostly blocking roles.

Hit the jump for the rundown of Florida State’s defensive backfield.

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