The Fence the Mitten Project: Tight Ends

The Fence the Mitten Project: Tight Ends


April 15, 2020
Tony Poljan (image via CMU Athletics)

What if Michigan out-hustled Michigan State and every other program trying to invade the Great Lakes State? What if Michigan landed the top 25 prospects within its borders every year? I previously posted about quarterbacks (LINK) and running backs (LINK).

Now let’s take a look at some tight ends.

2019 DEPTH CHART

  1. Bryce Witham (RS Sr.): 3-star, #60 TE, #1578 overall
  2. Tony Poljan (RS Jr.): 3-star, #19 dual-threat QB, #714 overall
  3. Bryce Wolma (RS So.): 3-star, #33 TE, #742 overall
  4. *Keegan Cossou (RS So.): 3-star, #44 TE, #946 overall

*Switched positions to defensive line

HOW DID THESE REAL-LIFE PLAYERS FARE IN 2019?

Bryce Witham (Minnesota) made 2 catches for 12 yards as a backup. Tony Poljan (Central Michigan), after having spent some time at quarterback during his career, became a season-long starter at tight end and was named Second Team All-MAC after reeling in 33 passes for 496 yards (15 yards/catch) and 4 touchdowns. In an offense that didn’t use the tight end much, Bryce Wolma (Arizona) made 5 catches for 62 yards and 1 touchdown.

THE HYPOTHETICAL MICHIGAN TEAM IN 2019

We know Jim Harbaugh loves tight ends, and this is probably the most competitive position group so far, but it’s thin. Michigan would have its in-line tight end with Tony Poljan (6’7″, 258 lbs.) and its off-the-line guy in Bryce Wolma (6’4″, 245). Bryce Witham is a big 6’4″, 265-pounder without a lot of athleticism, so Michigan might need to adjust its attack and maybe cross-train running back Ben VanSumeren to help out at H-back. Despite the program’s love for tight ends, though, it’s noteworthy that none of these prospects was offered by Michigan during Jim Harbaugh’s tenure. The State of Michigan just hasn’t had the kind of long, athletic types that the Michigan program wants.

CONCLUSION

Good tight ends come from everywhere. They’re not like other skill positions that might be heavily concentrated in the south or west or perhaps the east coast. If you look at the NFL today, Travis Kelce is from Ohio, Georgia Kittle is from Iowa, Zach Ertz is from California, Hunter Henry is from Arkansas, Darren Waller grew up in Maryland/Colorado/Georgia, Mark Andrews is from Arizona, etc. Heck, Will Dissly of the Seahawks is from Montana. When recruiting tight ends, it makes sense to cast your net far and wide to try to find the best guys.

One comment

  1. gobluetwo
    Comments: 55
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    gobluetwo
    Apr 15, 2020 at 11:21 AM

    These are fun. Thanks!

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