Michigan tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh says junior Jake Butt is as reliable as ever, expectations high.

Michigan tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh says junior Jake Butt is as reliable as ever, with expectations getting higher and higher by the game.

Plain and simple, junior tight end Jake Butt is having a tremendous season for Michigan.

Through 10 games, Butt is second on the Wolverines in catches with 38, receiving yards with 500, and average yards per catch at 13.2.

Despite only getting in the end zone one time since his second half score in the season opener at Utah, Butt has emerged as a huge threat in Michigan's revamped passing attack.

"He's gotten much better as a blocker," Harbaugh said. "His aggressiveness, his pad level, the placement of his hands on defenders has improved. And his route running was good and is still improving even further. Just everything."

Part of the reason for Butt's success has been the emergence of senior quarterback Jake Rudock.

Although able to spend the summer together working to form chemistry, it's clear as games go by the comfort level between Rudock and Butt increases.

Take Saturday's win at Indiana for example, with a defender draped all over Butt down the left sideline, Rudock lofted the ball up trusting No. 88 would be sure handed enough to come down with it. Butt did, for a gain of 29-yards.

"As you guys are getting at, there's a comfort level that grows in that regard in terms of throwing to specific receivers," Harbaugh said. "I think with him that's one that's grown over time and he realizes where Jake likes it.

"He prefers high balls and he's 6-foot-5 or so and has decent jumping ability and good reach. It's a tough throw to defend, for sure."

At 6-foot-6, 248-pounds, Butt only appears to be getting better, not only as a receiver but in every other area of the game.

Asked how many drops Butt is charted for on the season, Jay Harbaugh struggled to come up with any great or glaring examples. Harbaugh found two instances in which Butt had the pass broken up by a defender.

Still, both coach and player feel if he can get his hands on a ball, it should almost be a certainty that it's a catch.

"It's a high standard in the room and he holds himself to as high a standard as anybody," Harbaugh said. "I can't recall which two teams those were, maybe Maryland and Northwestern.

"But he has such strong hands, as do Jehu and Darboh that you're almost spoiled as a coach cause any ball that's contested you're like, 'why didn't you come down with it?'"

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