Historical TE recruiting trends

Submitted by Big Boutros on November 10th, 2015 at 7:09 PM
We all know that Michigan is gunning for TE Isaac Nauta. He's the #1 TE on the board and a consensus 5-star. I thought it was rare that a recruit at that position would be awarded five stars, so I did a little research.
While 5-star tight ends aren't a guaranteed annual feature, they're not as rare as I thought; Nauta is the 7th such prospect since 2002, the beginning of the Rivals database.
What is more surprising is the incredible success rate of 5-star tight ends. Here are the six 5-stars before Nauta since 2002:
Marcedes Lewis
Tony Hills
Greg Olsen
Martellus Bennett
Kyle Rudolph
OJ Howard
That's four NFL Pro Bowlers. OJ Howard is still in school, starting for Alabama. The least successful five-star TE recruit of the past 15 years is Tony Hills, who moved to tackle at Texas and started 31 games, winning a national championship in 2005.
Even in the years where the #1 TE recruit didn't receive five stars, there's still a lot of success. 
2004, Zach Miller
2006, Jermaine Gresham
2007, Rob Gronkowski
2009, Logan Thomas
Three more Pro Bowlers and a successful college quarterback.
The numbers strongly suggest that Isaac Nauta is a future Pro Bowler. His overall rank at #9 is the highest since #8 Martellus Bennett in 2005.



November 10th, 2015 at 11:36 PM ^

Nauta just visited Bama this past weekend and came away with rave reviews because it''s alabama. You can never count them out. I wish hope he comes to ann arbor one more time before he commits because we are no longer fresh in his mind. 


November 10th, 2015 at 7:20 PM ^

He could absolutely come in and see time week 1 freshman year with his size, provided his blocking technique is decently sound. It would be an enormous pick up should Butt leave, but even if he comes back it'd add a lot to the offense right away.

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November 10th, 2015 at 7:25 PM ^

Doesn't matter what his blocking is like.  Nauta is an elite level receiver as it is.  His floor is basically Devin Funchess.  He will play as a freshman if he comes to Michigan, no doubt about it.  He might be our best TE too, even if Butt stays.  He's that good.


November 11th, 2015 at 1:17 AM ^

I only seen his 1 game on espn, but he looked a bit over rated to me. I'm seriously asking here, what have you seen that would make you call him a Peppers level TE. I mean come on, Peppers is probably our best player on offense, special teams, and at worst our 2nd or 3rd best player on Defense... all as a RS FR


November 11th, 2015 at 12:40 PM ^

Hard to say (and forever under Harbaugh will that be the case), as Jim observes his right to reveal nothing about injuries.

Bunting has looked great. But at 6'7", I'm guessing he's still working on his blocking. That kind of length can absolutely work against you if you don't know how to use it well. Especially since the TE effectively becomes the Left or Right tackle in a blocking scheme. He's both the TALLEST and LIGHTEST tight end not named Jocz or Winovich.

But, as a WR, he's looked AWESOME. I remember him fighting for 5-7 more yards against BYU when everyone expected him to go out of bounds and he just bowled/juked out 2 defenders.

The future is bright at TE under Jim!



November 11th, 2015 at 2:04 AM ^

hes a nice prospect and would certainly help the squad.  i like nautas game better than chris clark as prospect but hes not oj howard or a total freak athlete like that thatll immediately challenge very good college players with speed.  

hes not an immediate mismatch in the passing game vs essentially any team which is what guy like howard presented from day 1.  still think hell be pretty good, i just dont see him as top 10-20 type player


November 10th, 2015 at 7:44 PM ^

With Butt's production this season and Funchess before him I don't believe any other team utilizes the TE position as well as Michigan.  Not one other program.


November 10th, 2015 at 9:49 PM ^

Mecole Hardman?


Reading between the lines, I don't think Alabama is a real contender.  They got the courtesy "Yeah, this moved them up" line.  I genuinely think he has strong interest in coming up to play for Harbaugh.  What athlete wouldn't want to with how we utilize Peppers?

That being said, I'm never completely comfortable competing with Ole Miss for recruits.  I guess if he comes here, his integrity is not in question.

EDIT: By the way, that's a BR link.  Good article, though.