|Tyrone Wheatley, Jr. with Tyrone Wheatley (image via Maize and Blue News)|
Weight: 286 lbs.
High school: Manlius (NY) Canisius
Position: Tight end
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