Michigan junior tight end Jake Butt said Monday that he’s considering foregoing his senior season and entering the NFL Draft.
Butt, who was named the Big Ten Tight of the Year last week, said his decision will come in the near future, likely “in the next week or so.” As of now, Butt is 50-50 on his decision. He recently made a pros and cons list with his father, he said, and staying at Michigan and going to the NFL had arguments on each side.
Before he makes up his mind, Butt plans to seek advice from Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh. Butt plans to rely heavily on Harbaugh and the rest of Michigan’s coaching staff in regard to this upcoming decision because of the extensive NFL experience many of the Wolverines’ coaches have.
“Really, it’s going to come down to … a lot of it’s going to be based on what Coach Harbaugh says,” Butt said.
There are two main reasons Butt is considering leaving early. The first is that it’s possible that his NFL stock will never be higher. The second is risk of injury. Butt has had knee operations in the past, including one for an anterior cruciate ligament tear that affected him for much of the 2014 season.
Butt said if he didn’t believe he would be selected in the first three rounds of the draft, he would definitely come back to Michigan. So far, he has been hearing that he would be selected within that range after a junior campaign in which he caught 48 passes for 620 yards.
Still, the decision isn’t an easy one. Another year with the Wolverines could further establish Butt as one of the greatest tight ends in program history, and playing for Harbaugh — with his NFL pedigree and penchant for developing tight ends — could help Butt improve even more.
“Coming back, there’s so many reasons why I want to come back: To try and break some of these tight end records, I love my roommates, my teammates, we haven’t accomplished what I came here for as a team to do,” Butt said. “That’s beat Michigan State, beat Ohio State, win a Big Ten championship.”
Butt has spoken to former Michigan teammates Jake Ryan, Devin Funchess and Taylor Lewan about their experiences in the NFL. He knows that the NFL is a different world, one in which the entirety of your focus is on football. He compared it to Michigan’s intense fall camp this season, but he noted with a grin that the football this time around would come with a “nice paycheck.”
Butt had more receptions this season than he previously had in the rest of his Michigan career combined. Coming off a 2014 season in which he caught 21 passes for 211 yards, Butt never imagined that a breakout year could lead to this dilemma.
“It’s still all crazy to me that I even have to make this decision,” Butt said. “At the beginning of the year, it wasn’t even in my vision or thoughts.”