Michigan to lose top TE Luke Schoonmaker to 2023 NFL draft

Michigan’s Luke Schoonmaker, one of the top tight ends in college football, told ESPN he’s leaving school to declare himself for the 2023 NFL draft.

Schoonmaker is a fifth-year senior with one year of eligibility remaining. Several NFL scouts told ESPN that he’s a good choice for a second-round pick because his ability to both heavily influence running play and act as a pass-catching threat makes him attractive to NFL teams.

“Trainer [Jim] Harbaugh and many of the offense coaches have given me confidence that I’m ready for the next level and I’ve progressed into a complete tight end,” Schoonmaker told ESPN. “I’m at the point where I can now start the process for the next level. With this guidance and the guidance of others, the time has come.”

At 6-foot-6, 250 pounds, Schoonmaker caught 35 balls for 418 yards and three touchdowns this year. Opposing coaches credited his role as essentially the sixth offensive line player for Michigan, which won the Joe Moore Award for the nation’s best offensive line for the second straight year.

Schoonmaker said he takes great pride in both aspects of the game and appreciates his minor role in Michigan’s dominant offensive line identity. Michigan offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore switched from tight ends coach two seasons ago, which added to the symmetry of Schoonmaker’s role.

“I think I have to give a lot of credit to Coach Moore and Coach [Grant] Newsome, my tight ends coach,” Schoonmaker said. “Anyone who really developed me. I think they just set a standard for offensive line space and tight end space – to be selfless and play with and for each other and play blue collar.

Schoonmaker proved to be an annoying matchup for the opponent due to his dual threat ability. A veteran opposition coach called him one of the best bottlenecks he’s faced in his entire coaching career.

“He can outperform a linebacker, physical safeties or defensive backs,” the coach said. “He can also work in the running game. A lot of guys are ‘either or’ about the passing game and the running game. The best are the guys who can do both.”

This duality will help Schoonmaker stand out in what is expected to be a loaded tight end draft class. He said he’s looking forward to competing with a class that is set to include Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer, Oregon State’s Luke Musgrave, Utah’s Dalton Kincaid and Georgia’s Darnell Washington.

Schoonmaker was plagued by a sprained right shoulder late in the season, but he said the injury will soon heal with rest and he’ll be fully in for the NFL combine and his pro day.

“These next few months are the most exciting for me,” Schoonmaker said. “It’s a chance for all of us to come together and compete and do different things against each other. It’s a chance for me to show what I can do. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Schoonmaker said his ability to be a powerful blocker and dynamic downfield passcatcher is something that can potentially separate him in the drafting process. He said he enjoys studying both defenses for holes and defenders for tendencies, also with mastering the blocking aspects of the position.

“I’m just very proud to be constantly improving on both aspects and developing them every day,” he said. “They are both big components for the position. From what I’ve been told by a lot of people, it’s rare to combine that. If I can continue to be that person who excels in both, it can only be to my advantage.”

Schoonmaker expressed appreciation for his time in Michigan as the Wolverines went to the college football playoffs in back-to-back seasons. They finished the last two years with a 25-3 record.

“Honestly, going to Michigan was the greatest experience I’ve ever had,” he said. “I was part of a great family that grew over the five years I worked there. I’ve met great coaches and players who feel like far from home fathers and brothers that I will have for the rest of my life.”

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/35411887/michigan-lose-top-te-luke-schoonmaker-2023-nfl-draft Michigan to lose top TE Luke Schoonmaker to 2023 NFL draft

Emma Bowman

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