The 10 best tight ends in the history of Michigan Football. The list starts below with #10 Tony McGee and continues on to #1. If you don’t agree with the list or think we’ve left a deserving player off, leave a comment and let us know what you think.
#10 – Tony McGee: McGee blossomed in his senior season at Michigan when he caught 38 passes for 467 yards and six touchdowns. McGee saved his best game for last. In the 1993 Rose Bowl McGee caught six passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns.
#9 – Eric Kattus: Kattus was a captain on the 1982 Michigan team and he earned All Big Ten honors that season. For his career Kattus hauled in 45 passes for 642 yards and 10 touchdowns.
#8 – Derrick Walker: Walker was also an outstanding blocker. He caught 33 passes for 446 yards and five touchdowns in his Michigan career. Walker was drafted in the 6th round of the 1990 NFL Draft and enjoyed a nine-year career in the league.
#7 – Sim Nelson: At the time he finished his Michigan career, Sim Nelson ranked fifth in school history with 84 career receptions. During his career, Nelson led the Wolverines in receptions and receiving yards in back-to-back seasons (1983 and ’84). In 1983, Nelson hauled in 41 receptions for 494 yards and three touchdowns. He followed that up in 1984 with 40 receptions for 459 yards and three touchdowns. Nelson was named All-Big Ten honorable mention in 1983.
#6 – Bennie Joppru: Joppru had a monster senior season in which he set a Michigan record for receptions by a tight end with 53 for 579 yards and five touchdowns. He was selected as an All-American that season. Joppru finished his Michigan career with 85 catches for 800 yards and eight touchdowns. Joppru was selected in the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans.
#5 – Jay Riemersma: Riemersma was originally a quarterback at Michigan before a rotator cuff injury necessitated a position change to tight end. That change paid huge dividends for Riemersma. 1994 was his first season as a tight end and he was Michigan’s third leading receiver behind stalwarts Amani Toomer and Mercury Hayes. As a senior in 1995, he corralled 41 receptions for 370 yards and one touchdown. He finished his career with 74 receptions, 706 yards and three touchdowns.
Riemersma was selected in the seventh round of the 1996 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills and played in the league for eight years.
#4 – Jerame Tuman: Tuman was a prolific receiving tight end at Michigan. He was a three-time All-Big Ten selection. During Michigan’s 1997 National Championship season, Tuman was selected as an All-American. In his career Tuman totaled 98 receptions, 1279 yards, and 15 touchdowns.
#3: Jake Butt: A two-time All-Big Ten first team selection and a 2016 consensus All-American, Butt is Michigan’s top tight end in terms of career receptions (138) and receiving yards (1,646). Butt was the recipient of the 2016 Senior CLASS Award which is awarded annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete who displays notable achievements in the areas of community, classroom, character and competition. Butt also won the 2016 John Mackey Award which recognizes college football’s best tight end. Butt’s 11 career touchdowns are second most in school history for a tight end, behind only Jerame Tuman.
Butt had a reception in 26 consecutive games during his last two seasons which is the seventh longest streak in school history. He is just the sixth Michigan tight end to gain 1,000 career receiving yards. In Michigan’s 2015 season opener at Utah, Butt hauled in a career best eight receptions which was the highest single game mark by a Michigan tight end since 1995 (Jay Riemersma). Butt’s final game as a Michigan Wolverine was in the 2016 Orange Bowl. In that game he caught three passes for 58 yards before leaving with a knee injury.
#2 – Jim Mandich: Mandich was a great receiving tight end and a great blocking tight end. He was elected team captain in 1969 and was also the team MVP that year, as well as an All-American. Mandich caught 119 passes for 1494 yards and seven touchdowns in his three year career at Michigan. Mandich was selected in the second round of the 1970 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins.
#1 – Ron Kramer: Kramer was a nine-time letterman at Michigan (three each in football, basketball, and track). Kramer was a two-time consensus All American (1955, 56) and his jersey number 87 is one of only five retired numbers at Michigan. In his career Kramer caught 53 passes for 880 yards and eight touchdowns. Kramer played in the NFL for Vince Lomardi and the Green Bay Packers and was the first in a new breed of tight ends. Sports Illustrated selected Kramer as the tight end on Michigan’s All Time Team.
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