The Wolverine

January 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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JANUARY 2017 THE WOLVERINE 29 put together a strong body of work … like Miller, Butt has a chance to post solid catch numbers and decent touchdown totals, but he might lack the overall athletic traits that are typi- cally found in high-end pass-catching tight ends. "Miller was a rock-solid tight end for eight NFL seasons, and Butt should have a similar trajectory." He's still got one more game to play, however, and he hopes to go out on a high note with a win over Florida State in the Orange Bowl. Win or lose, he's been a huge part of the Wolver- ines' turnaround from irrelevance to a top-10 program, and he's helped set the table for even more success. "There's so much to say about Jake Butt," redshirt sophomore quarter- back Wilton Speight said following the Maryland victory. "When he came in as an early enrollee, he was a bean- pole. You wouldn't have looked at him and said, 'That guy is going to set records as a tight end in his career.' It speaks volumes about how much he's worked. "When I got here [in 2014] he had just finished his freshman year, and guys were already looking to him as a leader. He got the game ball to- night for breaking the record and had an unbelievable message about how we've accomplished a lot so far, but we have so much left to do. He's the type of player who will live on once he's done here at Michigan." That's a big part of the reason he decided to return for his senior sea- son, Butt said. There was still work to do, and they'd come so far under Harbaugh that he couldn't imagine not taking one more step with him. Though he and his teammates fell short of their ultimate goal — the playoff and a national championship — Butt will leave with no regrets. "Despite growing up in a Buckeyes household, and in the presence of a Notre Dame legend, I followed my gut — and my heart — to Michigan," he said. "It's crazy to think that the last four years have flown by so fast. Where does the time go? "I love this team. I love these coaches. I love this university. The classes and the education — it's not easy. But I love what this university has given back to me, on and off the field." He's assured it will love him back for the rest of his life. ❏ Michigan's Top Five Tight Ends Of All Time A subjective look at U-M's best tight ends in the school's history: 1. Ron Kramer (1954-56): The two-time All-American was ranked by's Mitch Sherman as the Big Ten's top tight end of all time last May. He's one of five Michigan players to have his number (87) retired, and finished eighth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1955 and was sixth in 1956. Kramer was later elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. Though he's not in the top five in any of U-M's tight end receiving categories, he had an all-around game as a receiver and a blocker that make him far and away U-M's best at the position. 2. Jim Mandich (1967-69): "Mad Dog" still ranks second on U-M's career receptions list for tight ends (119) and is second in receiving yardage (1,508). He caught 50 passes for 662 yards in a 1969 season that put Michigan football back on the map. That reception total is third all time for a single season by a U-M tight end, while his yardage number is still the second-best single-season total in program history. 3. Jerame Tuman (1995-98): A 1997 All-American and three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection (1996-98), he finished the 1997 season ranked second on the team with 29 receptions for 437 yards. He finished his career with 98 receptions for 1,279 yards, then the second-highest totals all time for a Wolverine tight end, and still ranks third in both. His 15 touchdown catches are U-M's tight end record. 4. Lowell Perry (1950-52): He was a two-way player who was a safety on defense and also handled punt returns for the Wolverines. He was a second-team All-American in 1951 and was also rated as the best defensive back in college football during the 1951 season. He was also an Associated Press first-team All-Big Ten selection. Perry finished his career with 71 receptions for 1,261 yards and nine touchdowns. His three-year career total of 1,261 re- ceiving yards was not exceeded by another Michigan player for a decade until receiver Jack Clancy eclipsed it with 1,917 yards in four years from 1963-66. 5. Jake Butt (2013-16): Though a strong case could be made for Bennie Joppru (1999-2002), Butt gets the nod after moving to the top of Michigan's record books this year. Jop- pru, however, still holds the single-season record for recep- tions with 53 in 2002. — Chris Balas Jerame Tuman was a three-time first-team All-Big Ten performer from 1996-98 and also was named an All-American in 1997. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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