The Wolverine

February 2024

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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FEBRUARY 2024 ❱ THE WOLVERINE 57 ❱  COMMIT PROFILE E li Owens always had a hunch Mich- igan was the right fit for him. The three-star 2025 tight end from Al- coa (Tenn.) High thought long and hard about committing following his visit for The Game in November but ultimately decided to wait. Owens, however, felt like the time was right in early January and announced his pledge to the Wolverines. "I couldn't give you an explanation," Owens said. "I just woke up feeling like Michigan was right for me. I just wanted to get this whole thing started. Michi- gan was the right fit because of the way they use their tight ends. I think I would be able to fit into that system specifi- cally with what they do and the amount of tight ends they use. "Michigan has one of the best educa- tions in the country. I'm thinking of ed- ucation or kinesiology. They have great paths for both. At the end of the day when football is over and you tell peo- ple you have a degree from Michigan, it holds more power than other schools from around the country." At 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, Owens is more of an H-back than a traditional tight end. On film, Owens is a devastat- ing run blocker in the same mold as cur- rent Michigan tight end Max Bredeson. However, Owens offers more as a pass catcher and, unlike Bredeson, has the potential to be a valuable weapon in the passing game. As a junior last season, Owens had 35 receptions for 415 yards and 8 touch- downs en route to leading Alcoa to a state title. "I think the plan for me is to redshirt my freshman year and take over for Max right after," Owens said. "What they tell me and envision for me is to be a Max that doesn't come off the field. Hope- fully, that will be able to be me one day." Michigan tight ends coach Grant New- some led the way in Owens' recruitment and is a big reason the Wolverines beat out the likes of Alabama, Kentucky, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Tennessee and Wisconsin. "Coach Newsome is a great guy," Ow- ens said. "He's very personable. I think his coaching style is great. He's a coach that you would want to play for. He loves all of his kids like his own. The way he's been able to help the tight end room excel in his time there has been unbelievable. It's what made me choose Michigan." There have been plenty of rumors about the status of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, who is once again at- tracting interest from the NFL. How- ever, Owens is not concerned. "I know Coach [Sherrone] Moore would take over and do just fine," Owens said. "He did a great job in those couple of weeks as the interim coach. I believe if Coach Harbaugh goes to the NFL, Michigan will be perfectly fine. I like that Coach Moore loves his team. He looks like the type of guy you want to play for." With his commitment out of the way, Owens, the No. 23 tight end and No. 367 overall prospect nationally in the On3 In- dustry Ranking, is now looking forward to recruiting others and continuing to build the 2025 Michigan recruiting class. "Come play for the best team in the country," Owens said. "Have the best time. Come play with the best kids in the best atmosphere. There is really nothing more to say. I'm going to try my best to recruit these guys." — EJ Holland 2025 Tennessee Tight End Eli Owens Pledges To Michigan Owens, rated by On3 as the No. 24 tight end in the 2025 class, committed to Michigan Jan. 4, three days after the Wolverines' victory in the Rose Bowl against Alabama. PHOTO BY EJ HOLLAND PLAYER EVALUATION STRENGTHS: Eli Owens has a thick build in both halves and is a punishing blocker in the run game. He has terrific brute strength and knows how to finish blocks. He also offers plenty of versatility with experience lining up at fullback, tight end, H-back and splitting out wide. He is an adequate pass catcher and comfortable running routes out of the in-line spot or from the slot. AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT: Owens is a true tweener at the tight end position, which makes it difficult to rank him any higher than a high three-star or low four-star prospect. Owens will never be a true in-line tight end for Michigan and will likely need to serve as more of a fullback or H-back. He's not the most athletically gifted prospect and can continue to work on his speed. MICHIGAN PLAYER COMPARISON: Michi- gan recruited Owens specifically to fill the role of Max Bredeson. The Wolverines utilize multiple tight ends in their offensive scheme, and Bredeson is often used as an H-back that exclusively blocks in the run game. Owens should excel in that role and offers more as a receiving threat. The expectation is for Owens to be an improved version of Bredeson. — EJ Holland

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