University of Michigan
- Tight End
Jake Butt is a dedicated sociology major with a cumulative GPA of 3.035. He has grown in the classroom, even completing an internship for school credits over the summer with Thomson Reuters in Dexter, Mich. The company is a major multinational mass media and information firm and provided a challenging but valuable experience for Butt. Coach Harbaugh encourages his players to explore their interests outside of football, and he embraced that this past summer. To fulfill his language requirement, Butt worked to earn appropriate credits in Spanish, and he is scheduled to graduate this fall, ahead of schedule.
Butt’s character is evident in almost everything that he does. He is a team captain for Michigan this season and was selected by his teammates to represent the offensive side of the ball. He is a vocal leader and a spirited source of encouragement for his teammates. Early in his U-M career, Butt suffered a torn ACL, an injury that can be devastating for many athletes, especially in football. Instead of letting it get to him, Butt put his head down and went to work. In the end, he returned from the injury in a surprisingly quick timetable, working hard in the rehab room to make his return to the field of play ahead of schedule. He has represented our program in the spotlight of Big Ten Media Days and other high-profile media events. He also does so with class and poise, and is a tremendous representative of the University of Michigan, which is a responsibility he takes seriously. The character he has shown on the field, in the rehab room, in the classroom and in the media, makes him an excellent ambassador for Michigan.
Among our most active players in the community, Butt volunteers his time nearly every week at C.S. Mott’s Children’s hospital in Ann Arbor, visiting the pediatrics ward with other U-M student-athletes. There, he takes time to help these children just be kids and forget about their diseases and afflictions. Last year, he helped fulfill a Make-A-Wish request for a young boy who suffers from cancer, and instead of saying good-bye when the weekend was over, Butt gave the boy’s family his phone number, and they formed a lasting relationship, which continues to this day. When heroin overdose hit his hometown of Pickerington, Ohio, Butt went home to help raise funds and participate in a Charity 5K with proceeds going to families and individuals affected. Butt is also among U-M’s most dedicated members to the #ChadTough Foundation, which supports pediatric brain tumor research. The charity is special to the Michigan Football family, as it was founded by the Carr family, which lost young Chad Carr to cancer last year. Chad is the grandson of longtime U-M coach Lloyd Carr, now retired. Butt was among the players to visit Chad often.
Butt is an exceptional competitor who makes those around him better. In 2015, he was named a first-team All-American by SI and CBS Sports, and a second-team All-American by the AP and Sporting News. He also won the Kwalick-Clark Big Ten Tight End of the Year Award and was named to the All-Big Ten First Team.
Michigan runs some of the most tight end-heavy offensive schemes in the country. At a crowded position, it would be easy for an All-American standout to focus on himself, but the team comes first to him. He has taken the lead in the meeting room, taking younger players under his wing and teaching them all that he knows. Over the summer, Butt was working as hard as anyone, taking extra reps and working on his ball skills. It’s that competitive fire that has helped Butt re-write the Michigan record books for the tight end position. As of nomination time, he was only one TD shy of being second all-time among U-M tight ends. He also is eyeing the all-time receiving yards record and caught his 100th career pass earlier this year.
He is a team player, contributing regularly on special teams and exhibiting a work ethic that teaches younger student-athletes how things are supposed to be done.