Saturday, July 4, 2015

2015 Season Countdown: #57 Tyrone Wheatley, Jr.

Tyrone Wheatley, Jr. with Tyrone Wheatley (image via Maize and Blue News)
Name: Tyrone Wheatley, Jr.
Height: 6'7"
Weight: 286 lbs.
High school: Manlius (NY) Canisius
Position: Tight end
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: #8
Last year: Wheatley was a senior in high school. He caught 11 passes for 182 yards and 2 touchdowns; he also made 68 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 3 pass breakups, and 2 blocked punts. He was a 247 Composite 4-star, the #12 tight end, and #313 overall.
TTB Rating: 82

Wheatley is obviously a legacy player who chose the Wolverines after a long and difficult recruitment. He was a Michigan lean, and then he wasn't, and then he didn't hear from Michigan's staff for a while, and then it looked like he might sign with UCLA, and then he didn't. His dad spent the past couple seasons coaching for the Buffalo Bills, and competition isn't great in New York. Despite a lot of athletic talent in the state (at least for basketball), it's tough to judge high school football players. Even for an obvious big-time talent like Wheatley, his 182 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns as a senior were far from overwhelming. Personally, I like the way he looks on defense better than on offense.

However, Jim Harbaugh is a tight end guru, and Michigan needs size at the tight end position. Senior A.J. Williams has good size and junior Jake Butt is a good all-around player, but the other guys are H-back types or need some time to add weight. Not so for Wheatley, who checked in recently at 6'7" and 286 lbs. There are even some who think he might grow into an offensive tackle. In the meantime, I think he probably needs to whittle away some weight and play tight end, if only until some of the other guys get onto campus and/or round into playing shape. At the very least, I expect Wheatley to play some this year as a blocking tight end in two- or three-tight end sets. Williams has not been good as a blocker, so Wheatley may be used to challenge or simply to complement him.

Prediction: Backup tight end


  1. hopely he can get his redshirt, but i have a feeling that he might see some time in 2015.

  2. I can't believe how big he looks next to Wheatly. I hope he gets a shot at DLine

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  4. Agree that his quickest path to playing time is at blocking TE. But the kid is well on his way to 6'7" 300 lbs. Just don't see a kid his size in HS winding up anywhere other than OT in college. I guess if he does not get too big, he could stick it out as a better version of AJW at TE. Although Wheatley looks like he'll wind up even bigger than AJW. Looks like someone Beilein could use in the paint.

  5. If I'm this kid, I'm pulling up a chair right next to Jourdan Lewis in front of the Jugs machine and I'm not leaving until somebody in authority tells me I have to. If he catches the football his future is incredibly bright ..... especially around here.

  6. How do you think Wheatley projects as a OT? Seems that a lot of the first round OTs come into college at TE size and athleticism and bulk up from there. Would be great if he could grown into the next #77. Could he do a year as a backup TE while they need depth then redshirt and bulk up to OL size?

  7. He will play this fall, I have no doubt of that. He size alone in positions of need will warrant the consideration. No RS I'm afraid.

  8. In thinking that he'll drop 10-15 pounds and stick as a blocking TE, I appear to be in the minority. I don't know if he'll beat out Williams, but I think he's probably the leading candidate for the backup role with a decent shot at beating him out.

    Nobody knows exactly what this Harbaugh-Drevno offense will look like.without David Shaw and Andrew Luck, but I'll guess that somebody with Wheatley's size and athleticism plays a prominent role over the next 4 years.

    I doubt he red-shirts, but that wouldn't be the wrong thing to do for a blocking TE under normal circumstances. If he does, it would be an early indicator that he might be headed toward the OT track that so many seem to think he's headed towards.

  9. I agree. TE is the only viable position for him. He is too big for DL. Not explosive enough for DE. A bull rusher but Gary is better at that role.

    I love Wheatley as a short yardage blocking TE.