Butt, who came back from his initial ACL injury in Michigan’s 31-0 week 3 loss at Notre Dame last season, admits he didn’t realize his health was an issue till this past spring. That’s when he says he started to play like the player he was before he got injured – and not the player who played in 10 games, starting five as sophomore in 2014.
“It wasn’t in the back of my mind,” Butt said of injury last season. “I wouldn’t say I was tentative. But I didn’t feel as good as I feel now. I just didn’t know. I thought I was 100-percent. I didn’t know I wasn’t a 100-percent till I started feeling 100-percent again.”
That, of course, happened this spring, Butt says, who still finished his sophomore campaign with 21 catches for 211 yards and two receiving touchdowns, all while re-injuring his knee, which happened in U-M’s 10-9 road win at Northwestern.
“Well, I re-tore my meniscus Northwestern week,” Butt said. “It nagged me a little bit for a while. I cleaned it up before spring ball. Once I cleaned that up and got rehabbed, and conditioned, I felt really, really good. I started feeling good and noticing a difference, I felt like myself again this past spring.”
Adding: “Throughout the summer I have just got progressively better and better.”
Now with his knee fully healthy, Butt expects this to be a different season offensively in Michigan’s offense.
“I think the opportunity is going to come more frequently this year,” Butt said. “I’m going to have a lot more balls thrown my way. I think that can benefit this team.”
And the thought of playing under coach Jim Harbugh’s offense that features multiple tight end sets, has Butt excited to get the season going.
“I think that gets everyone at tight end fired up,” Butt said. “We’ll have lot more guys on the field, rotate more guys, a lot more blocking and a lot more catching things.”
Michigan opens up its season at Utah on Sept. 3.