2024 Spring Football Preview: Tight End

Tag: Zack Marshall

12Mar 2024
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2024 Spring Football Preview: Tight End

Colston Loveland

2023 Starters: Colston Loveland, A.J. Barner
Losses: Barner (NFL), Matt Hibner (transfer)
Returning players: Max Bredeson (RS Jr.), Loveland (Jr.), Marlin Klein (RS So.), Zack Marshall (RS Fr.), Deakon Tonielli (RS Fr.)
Newcomer: Brady Prieskorn (Fr.)
Projected starters: Klein, Loveland

The tight end position is the one that has perhaps separated Michigan from so many other teams over the past several years. Not only has Michigan had some quality players in the role, but the number, usage, and motion of the tight ends have become staples of Michigan’s offensive approach.

Probably the best tight end to come along during Jim Harbaugh’s tenure was Colston Loveland (45 catches, 649 yards, 4 touchdowns), a rising junior who has the athleticism of some of the elite tight ends playing in the NFL. He’s good enough that this is probably his last season in Ann Arbor before getting drafted in 2025.

One-time Indiana transfer A.J. Barner (22 catches, 249 yards, 1 touchdown) was an excellent blocker and underrated pass catcher, but he’s headed to the NFL in next month’s draft. It appears the next guy in line to play a bunch of snaps in Barner’s place is Marlin Klein, a 6’6″, 250-pounder who had just 1 catch for 8 yards last fall. He needed to put on some weight early in his career, but he seems to finally be reaching a good playing weight to handle some of the blocking duties.

It’s also important to mention quasi-starting tight end Max Bredeson, who plays more of a fullback position but nonetheless started four games last season. He caught 2 passes for 19 yards altogether, but he’s a bruising blocker. At 6’2″ and 240 lbs., he’s unlikely to move into a true tight end role and will probably carry on as a fullback.

Redshirt freshman Zack Marshall (6’4″, 232) played in two games last year while redshirting, and classmate Deakon Tonielli (6’5″, 251) has some decent size already but did not get any experience. The most likely returning player to step into Klein’s role as the #3 tight end seems to be Marshall, who should be a little bigger this spring (and fall).

One of the most intriguing names, though, is freshman early enrollee Brady Prieskorn (6’6″, 220), who was a 4-star and the #129 overall player in the class of 2024. He’s an all-around tight end somewhat in the mold of Loveland in that he’s a good athlete who’s not afraid of contact. His physical development is going to be key in determining how ready he is to step on the field this fall. But if he’s even borderline ready from a physical standpoint, we could see him begin to emerge this spring as someone who could jump over Marshall and Tonielli to become that #3 tight end.

11Jul 2023
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2023 Season Countdown: #81 Zack Marshall

Zack Marshall (image via Wolverines Wire)

Name: Zack Marshall
220 lbs.
High school: 
Carlsbad (CA) Carlsbad
Tight end
Jersey number: 
Last year: 
Marshall was a senior in high school (LINK). He made 23 catches for 284 yards and 5 touchdowns.
TTB Rating:

Michigan landed Marshall last August, but I didn’t write a commitment post for him until the beginning of February. So I had a chance to view his senior film before writing up my post. He missed a third of his senior year due to transferring schools and having to sit out for four weeks, so his stats don’t represent a full season. But when I watch Marshall, he seems like just an adequate athlete to play tight end in the Big Ten. There’s nothing that really stands out about him, whether it’s his size, speed, hands, athleticism, blocking, etc.

Reports coming out of spring were positive in regards to Marshall. The coaches apparently like his attitude and toughness, so that’s good. But it’s tough to play tight end much as a freshman, especially as someone coming in at 220 pounds. Even though Michigan lost several tight ends last season, Colston Loveland and A.J. Barner should get a majority of the reps, with guys like Matt Hibner, Max Bredeson, and Marlin Klein also mixing in.

Prediction: Backup tight end

8Feb 2023
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2023 Recruiting Grades: Tight End

Deakon Tonielli


On Saturday I covered the quarterback position, followed by the running backs on Tuesday. Now for a look at the tight ends.

2023 DEPARTURES: 4 (Erick All, Louis Hansen, Joel Honigford, Luke Schoonmaker)

2023 NEEDS: 2

2023 COMMITMENTS: Carlsbad (CA) Carlsbad TE Zack Marshall, Oswego (IL) Oswego TE Deakon Tonielli


  • Kade Eldridge – Lynden (WA) Christian: USC
  • Cooper Flanagan – Concord (CA) De La Salle: Notre Dame
  • Jaden Hamm – Eudora (KS) Eudora: Kansas
  • Nyckoles Harbor – Washington (DC) Archbishop Carroll: South Carolina
  • Luke Hasz – Bixby (OK) Bixby: Arkansas
  • Chico Holt – Houston (TX) Strake Jesuit: Northwestern
  • Jaxon Howard – Minneapolis (MN) Robbinsdale Cooper: LSU
  • Matthew Klopfenstein – Scottsdale (AZ) Horizon: Baylor
  • Ty Lockwood – Thompson’s Station (MO) Independence: Alabama
  • Walker Lyons – Folsom (CA) Folsom: USC
  • Mac Markway – St. Louis (MO) DeSmet: LSU
  • Brett Norfleet – St. Charles (MO) Francis Howell: Missouri
  • Andrew Rappleyea – Milton (MA) Milton: Penn State
  • Jelani Thurman – Fairburn (GA) Langston Hughes: Ohio State
  • Riley Williams – Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy: Miami
  • Preston Zinter – Cambridge (MA) Buckingham Browne & Nichols: Notre Dame


REASON FOR THE GRADE: Michigan needed to restock the tight end position in the class of 2023 after suffering heavy losses from the group following the 2022 season. Not only did Erick All (Iowa) and Louis Hansen (UConn) transfer, but second string tight end Luke Schoonmaker departed for the NFL, blocking tight end Joel Honigford ran out of eligibility, and a decent walk-on in Carter Selzer also graduated. All, Schoonmaker, and Honigford all played a ton. Tight end is a position where players typically need at least one season of strength and conditioning development before being relevant, so it’s important to keep a steady string of players coming.

Unfortunately, the Wolverines whiffed on most of their top targets, which is surprising considering how often tight ends are used in Michigan’s offense. Tonielli (4-star, #20 TE, #411 overall) was the tenth highest ranked guy at the position that Michigan offered, and Marshall would be the thirteenth highest ranked offeree if he were listed as a tight end (he’s an “athlete” according to the 247 Composite). Tonielli is really a big receiver being converted to tight end, and Marshall does not look like much of a difference maker when it comes to his athleticism.

Overall, Michigan supplemented its numbers decently at the position, but the talent level drops off. All and Schoonmaker are both NFL-caliber tight ends and Hansen was a well regarded 4-star recruit, though he hadn’t made an impact on the field during his first two seasons; Marshall is not on their level as an athlete, and Tonielli has good upside even if he doesn’t have the body and skills to play immediately. Michigan did take a strong swing at 5-star Nyckoles Harbor, but ultimately, NIL drove Harbor to South Carolina. Massachusetts product Andrew Rappleyea was committed to the Wolverines at one point, but he flipped to Penn State.

1Feb 2023
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Zack Marshall, Wolverine

Carlsbad (CA) Carlsbad tight end Zack Marshall (image via Twitter)

Carlsbad (CA) Carlsbad tight end Zack Marshall committed to Michigan way back in August 2022. And since I was in the throes of fall camp for football, I didn’t write up a commitment piece at the time . . . and then it slipped my mind until now. Marshall picked Michigan over offers from Arizona, Cal, Utah, and Washington State, among others. He signed with Michigan in December and enrolled in college in January.

Marshall is listed at 6’4″ and 220 lbs. His Hudl profile lists him with a 4.79 forty, a 4.41 shuttle, a 32″ vertical, a 265 lb. bench press, and a squat of 315 lbs. As a senior in 2022, he caught 23 passes for 284 yards and 5 touchdowns.

ESPN: 3-star, 78 grade, #24 TE-H
On3: 3-star, 89 grade, #28 TE
Rivals: 3-star, 5.7 grade, #28 TE
247 Sports: 3-star, 88 grade, #46 ATH

Hit the jump for more.

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