BRADENTON, Fla. -- There's no hiding the fact that Jake Butt's return to Michigan for his senior season is a big win for the Wolverines in the offseason.
Butt, one of the best playmakers on U-M's offense last season, saw his output grow exponentially courtesy of head coach Jim Harbaugh's tight end-friendly offense he installed last season. While may find it Butt's decision to return an easy one he prepares for one last push to get his draft stock higher, it wasn't exactly the easiest decision he's had to make.
"A lot (of thought went into returning)," Butt said. "That's a huge decision but, at the end of the day, I think I made the right decision coming back here and getting another chance to learn under this great coaching staff. Another year in the weight room and another year to kind of hit some of these team goals we haven't quite hit yet. One last go around, I have to make the most out of it."
Butt certainly made the most out of his opportunities last season, as did other tight ends on the roster. Now, with another year of the coaching staff under way, Butt has seen growth from the rest of the younger players jockying for playing time as the offseason progresses.
"We're talented from bottom to top," Butt said of the tight end position group. "It's great having these guys. We're young, too, that's a great thing. Each day they're going to come out here and just be a little bit better. Right now they're growing exponentially, it's unbelievable how fast they're getting better. Ian (Bunting) is just coming on so strong, Zack (Gentry) is a physcial freak. He's huge, he's going to step up a lot this year. Of course, Sean is coming in and doing his thing, he's one of the smartest guys I know. He's so intelligent."
Just how much does a tight end mean to the U-M offense? Just peruse the stat sheet after season to learn more about the impact that position had on the offensive side of the ball.
Or, if its easier, just allow Butt to sing its praises instead.
"Oh my gosh yeah, it speaks for itself," Butt said. "I think our production speaks for itself, I don't know even know how much it went up. Even when you see A.J. Williams, I think he tripled or quadrupled his career stats in just one season primarily as a blocker still. It's exciting, it's an exciting time to be a tight end at Michigan."