Today’s post celebrates the career of a recent Michigan graduate named Jake Butt. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Jake D. Butt was born on this day in Pickering, Ohio. He was raised in Pickering and attended Pickering North High School. Jake was a four-star tight end by the time he graduated from high school. Butt had many good schools to choose from after high school. However, he chose to become a Michigan man.
Jake Butt arrived in Ann Arbor in the summer of 2013. He was big enough to compete and smart enough to learn the playbook. Butt earned nine starts and saw action in all 13 games in the 2013 season. He caught 20 passes for 235-yards and 2 touchdowns. Unfortunately, Michigan won 7 games and lost 6 and finished in 5th place in the Big Ten’s Legends Division with a record of 3 wins and 5 losses. Jake earned some personal accolades when he earned a spot on the ESPN All-Big Ten freshman team.
Butt suffered an ACL injury in spring football in 2014. He made an amazing recovering and only missed the first two games of the 2014 season. Jake played in nine games during the 2014 season and recorded 20 catches for 211-yards. Once again, he caught two touchdown passes. Of course, the season turned out badly for Michigan and Coach Brady Hoke. The Wolverines ended the campaign with a disappointing record of 5 wins and 7 losses and Coach Hoke was gone!
Jake Butt returned in 2015 to play for a new coach who had a reputation for using tight ends – a lot – in his offense. Yes, Jim Harbaugh probably had BIG plans for his BIG tight end in 2015. As it turned out, Jake Butt did not disappoint. He became Jake Rudock’s second favorite receiver with 51 catches for 654-yards and 3 touchdowns. Of course, Jim Harbaugh turned things around and Michigan won 10 games and lost 3. Although the Wolverines failed to win the Big Ten Championship, Jake Butt earned first-team All-Big Ten and All-American honors. Jake won the Ozzie Newsome Award which goes to the nation’s best tight end and he was also named the Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year. Yes, Jake Butt had a great season in 2015.
There was lots of speculation about whether Jake would return for his senior year. His draft stock was rising, and he looked like he was ready to play on Sundays. Instead, Jake decided to use his final year of eligibility and help the Wolverines win a Big Ten Championship.
Butt’s hard work from 2013 to 2015 earned him a lot of respect. He was named a co-captain (along with Chris Wormley) for the 2016 season. For the second straight season, the Wolverines finished with a record of 10 wins and 3 losses. Yes, Jake fell short of his goal of being a Big Ten Champion. However, he was Michigan’s second leading receiver with 42 catches totaling 518-yards. He scored 4 more touchdowns and finished his career as a record setting tight end with 136 career receptions for 1,646 yards.
Jake earned first-team All-Big Ten and All-American honors for the second straight season in 2016. He repeated as the Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year and also became the first Wolverine to win the John Mackey Award.
Unfortunately, Jake Butt was not the luckiest man to ever play football at Michigan. He decided to play in the 2016 Orange Bowl game and tore his ACL for the second time in his career. The good news is that the Denver Broncos drafted him anyway. Jake sat out the entire 2017 NFL Football season to fully recover from his ACL surgery. The good news is that he is looking good so far in Bronco workouts in 2018.
Bottom line – I think that Jake Butt was the best tight end in the history of Michigan Football. Please take time to appreciate his dedication to Michigan. I hope that Jake Butt has a very “Happy Birthday” today on his special day. Go Blue!
Who is the oldest man to earn All-American honors at Michigan?
Alvin Wistert, the third Wistert son to play at Michigan, played for the Wolverines from 1947 to 1949. Wistert played tackle and wore #11 like his famous brothers. He also earned All-American honors just like he was expected to do. In fact, Alvin was named an All-American in 1948 at 32-years of age. He repeated in 1949 at 33-years of age. Yes, Alvin Wistert was a very special player at Michigan. Oh, did I mention that he played on back-to-back National Championship teams in 1948 and 1949?
Who are the only two Michigan players to be named Michigan’s MVP and Big Ten MVP in back-to-back seasons?