College football: Jake Butt named nation's most outstanding tight end
NEW YORK, N.Y. — Senior tight end Jake Butt of the sixth-ranked University of Michigan football team was announced on Wednesday (Dec. 7) as the recipient of the John Mackey Award presented by the Friends of John Mackey. The award honors the most outstanding tight end in college football and was established in 2000 to recognize NFL Hall of Famer and the first president of the NFLPA, John Mackey.
"It's a great honor first and foremost, especially for this team," said Butt. "One thing Coach Harbaugh says, 'A rising tide raises all ships.' So it's great to win this award. I want to thank the guys in this group; this is our award, really it's not a one-man award. I really thank everyone on this team, this coaching staff, my position coach Jay Harbaugh, my family and everyone that's helped me achieve this great award. I'm really appreciative of that."
Through the 2016 regular season, Butt has hauled in 43 receptions for 508 yards (11.8 avg.) and four touchdowns. Twenty-nine (29) of his 43 receptions have netted first downs, including eight catches that moved the chains on third down. Butt has collected at least one reception in 34 of his last 38 games and is the team's second-leading receiver on the season, just behind wide receiver Amara Darboh (52 receptions for 826 yards).
With 135 receptions for 1,618 yards on his career, Butt is the Michigan football program's all-time leading receiver in receptions and yards by a tight end. With 11 career touchdowns, Butt is four shy of tying Jerame Tuman (15, 1995-98) for the program touchdown record by a tight end, as well.
Selected as a co-captain by his teammates, Butt devotes a great amount of time and effort to not only his tight end position but to the team as a whole. He has helped lead the Michigan offense to the second-ranked scoring offense, rushing offense and total offense in the Big Ten Conference, with 5,272 total yards and 59 touchdowns. The Wolverines boast one of the most balanced offensive attacks in the nation, averaging 222.3 rushing yards and 216.1 passing yards per contest.
A semifinalist for the Mackey Award in 2015, Butt also earned first team All-America honors when he caught 51 passes for 654 yards and three touchdowns on the year. Opting to stay at Michigan for a final season, Butt was named the 2016 Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year by the Big Ten for the second consecutive season. He is currently a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award as well -- a recognition given to an NCAA Division I FBS senior that displays notable achievements in the areas of community, classroom, character and competition.
Butt will be presented the John Mackey Award during the ESPNU Red Carpet Show prior to the Home Depot College Football Awards Show from the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta on Dec. 8.
Butt on accomplishing this as a personal goal ... "Yeah, it means a lot. You set goals to help push yourself and become a better player or a man or a student or really whatever in life. This was a goal of mine. I knew if I had my name in there to win it that would mean that I'm having a really good season helping my team, so that means a lot in that aspect."
Butt on being the first Michigan winner and his place in U-M history ... "That means everything again too; it's something that it seems like a long shot when you get into school but through consistent sacrifice and hard work, doing it each and every day and on the off days coming in here and getting extra work in and bringing teammates along throughout four years, it's an honor to have some of those records and win some awards."