Name: Tyrone Wheatley, Jr.
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