Michigan Luke Schoonmakerone of the best tight ends in college football, told ESPN that he dropped out of school to draft for the 2023 NFL Draft.
Schoonmaker is a fifth year student with one year of eligibility remaining. Several NFL scouts have told ESPN that he plans to be a second-round pick, as his ability to aggressively influence both the running game and his formation as a pass-catching threat makes him attractive to NFL teams.
Bus coach [Jim] Harbaugh and a lot of the offensive coaches have given me confidence that I’m ready for the next level, and I’ve developed into a tight end completely,” Schoonmaker told ESPN. I am at that point where I can now begin the process to the next level. And with that guidance and guidance from others, the time has come.”
At 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, Schoonmaker caught 35 balls this year for 418 yards and three touchdowns. Opposing coaches recognized his role as Michigan’s sixth offensive lineman, who won the Joe Moore Award for the second year in a row as the best offensive lineman in the country.
Schoonmaker said he takes great pride in both sides of the game, and appreciates his additional role in Michigan’s dominant offensive line identity. Michigan offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator Sherron Moore moved on from head coach two seasons ago, adding consistency to Schoonmaker’s role.
“I think I have to give a lot of credit to Coach Moore and the coach [Grant] Tight ends coaches said Shoemaker, Newsom. “Everyone who really developed me. I think they set the standard for offensive line room and tight end room—to be selfless, to play with each other, and play blue collar.”
Schoonmaker proved an annoying rivalry opponent due to his dual threat ability. One veteran opposing coach called him one of the best tight ends he has faced in his entire coaching career.
“He can outsmart a linebacker, physical safety or defensive back,” said the coach. “He can work in the running game too. A lot of guys are ‘either or’ in terms of the passing and running game. The best are the ones who can do both.”
This duality will help Schoonmaker stand out in what promises to be a tight, loaded final draft class. He said he is excited to compete with a class that is set to include Notre Dame Michael MeyerOregon Luke MusgraveUtah Dalton Kincaid and georgia Darnell Washington.
Schoonmaker was upset late in the season with a sprained right shoulder, but said the injury will soon heal with rest, and he’ll be fully ready for his NFL collections and pro day.
“The next few months are the most exciting for me,” Schoonmaker said. “It’s an opportunity for all of us to come together and run against each other and do different things against each other. It’s an opportunity for me to showcase what I can do. I’m really excited about that.”
Schoonmaker said his ability to be a strong blocker and dynamic pass-down tackler is something that could separate him in the draft process. He said he enjoys studying gap defenses and leaning defenders, as well as mastering the blocking aspects of the situation.
“The thing I’m most proud of is trying to improve in both aspects all the time and developing them every day,” he said. “Both are two huge components of this position. From what I’ve been told from many people, it’s rare that they combine. If I can continue to be that person to excel at both, it will only be to my advantage.”
Schoonmaker appreciated his time at Michigan, as the Wolverines went to the College Football Playoff in back-to-back seasons. They finished with a 25-3 record the last two years.
“Honestly, going to Michigan was the greatest experience I’ve ever had,” he said. “I was part of an amazing family growing up in the five years I was there. I met amazing coaches and players who felt like fathers and brothers far away from the home I will live in for the rest of my life.”