The Wolverine

January 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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28 THE WOLVERINE JANUARY 2017 talk about right now is the officials. I've never blamed a game on the refs. I haven't come across a game, even one I didn't play in, that I watched where I can say the refs cost some- body the game. "You look back at the film, and I know there were things we could have done regardless of whether the refs were for us, against us or neutral. We could have won that game. That being said, that game is going to be talked about. That will be one of the most historical games in this rivalry and in college football for a very long time, and it's going to hurt being on the wrong side of that one." He's grateful, however, to have got- ten the chance to play in the battle. He blew out his knee the spring before his sophomore season of 2014, but re- habbed so diligently that he was able to return for U-M's game at Notre Dame and fulfill his late grandfather's wish to have his ashes spread on the field at Notre Dame Stadium. That alone would have made his ca- reer worth it. Two years later he leaves U-M as one of the most accomplished Wolverines of all time at his position. "It means a lot," Butt said after ac- cepting the Mackey Award. "You set goals to help push yourself and be- come a better player, or a man, or a student … or really whatever in life. "This was a goal of mine. I knew if I had my name in there to win it, that would mean that I'm having a really good season helping my team. So that means a lot in that aspect." MORE TO COME He's not done yet. Projected by many as a third-round NFL Draft pick this April, Butt has the makings of a potential longtime contributor at the next level. analyst Lance Zierlein recently compared him to for- mer Arizona State second-round pick Zach Miller, who caught 328 passes for 3,804 yards and 20 touchdowns in eight seasons. "Like Miller, Butt has the size and pass-catching ability to become a combination tight end[effective pass catcher and blocker], but he'll have to sharpen his routes and become more aggressive as a blocker," Zierlein re- ported. "When Miller came into the league, he was overshadowed by guys like Tony Gonzalez, Dallas Clark and An- tonio Gates, but he still managed to Butt was ranked the No. 31 player in all of college football during the 2016 season by ESPN. com; no other tight end made the top-50 countdown. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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