Jake Butt Named to Big Ten Network's All-Decade Team
While at Michigan, Jake Butt left his stamp on the U-M record books as the program's all-time receptions and touchdowns leader from the tight end position. Fast forward to four years after his last snap in the winged helmet, and Butt is now a member of the Big Ten Network's All-Decade team as a result of his storied career.
Joining Devin Bush and Taylor Lewan, Butt becomes the third Wolverine to wind up on BTN's All-Decade squad, and the current Denver Broncos tight end was elated to hear about the news.
”It's a great honor,” Butt told BTN. “The Big Ten is obviously a prestigious conference. For me, when I first got to Michigan, I was just trying to find a way to get on the field. I was just trying to play, but over the course of four years I gained the respect of my peers, the people in the media, the fans, the coaches. To be selected to this, it's humbling. It's a great honor. “
While in Ann Arbor, Butt did much more than merely make his way on to the field. Rather, Butt strung together what is arguably the most productive stretch of tight end play in Michigan history. By the time his college career ended, Butt had posted 138 catches, 1,646 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns and was widely considered one of the team's top threats on an offense that also featured Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson.
But early on, Butt had to bide his time as a player used in spot duty during his freshman and sophomore seasons before Jim Harbaugh came aboard as head coach for his final two years.
“When Hoke and his staff left, I was really nervous, you know,” Butt said. “I wasn't sure what type of coach we were going to bring in. College football was trending a little bit more toward spread offenses, and I didn't know what to expect. I knew Jim was on our radar, but I didn't know whether or not we were going to be able to pull that off.”
And what Harbaugh and Butt pulled off for those final two years was a masterclass on how to utilize the tight end when many college offenses where opting to let the position meekly exist as a last resort. In 2015, Butt logged 51 receptions for 654 yards and three touchdowns before registering 46 catches for 546 yards and four scores during his senior year.
“You could say, certainly statistically, that Jake Butt is the greatest tight end in Michigan football history,” BTN's Mike Hall said. “All-time Michigan record holder for receptions and yards by a tight end. He won a John Mackey Award for best tight end in the country, and two-time was your Big Ten tight end of the year.”
In addition to that laundry list of accolades, Butt capped off his Michigan career as a co-captain for the 2016 season, which is an honor that not many Wolverines can claim. Rather, it showed that the former Ohio native had earned his role within the program and was excelling as a product of his work ethic and leadership. Those qualities, in addition to his physical talent, stood out to another prominent Ohio figure-- former Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer.
“Jake Butt, I saw him up close and personal. I thought he was a hell of a player for the team up north,” Meyer said. “A matchup nightmare because he could run, and he also brings size, just great ball skills, and they used him really well.”
Butt used those traits to his advantage throughout his college career, one that includes a two-touchdown outing against UCF in 2016 and a 102-yard effort versus Rutgers in 2015.
As a result of his production and talent, Butt was selected by the Denver Broncos in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft at No. 145 overall after suffering an ACL injury in college. Butt has since torn his ACL again, but Denver is showing patience as the Michigan legend continues his rehab.
Were you surprised to see Jake Batt named to the Big Ten Network's All-Decade team? What was Butt's most memorable game or play while at Michigan in your mind? Let us know!