This is the fifth in an eleven-part pre-season series in which I introduce all eleven members of the Michigan football coaching staff between now and the season opener, starting with the lowest-profile and building up to head coach Jim Harbaugh.
3rd, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd. Those are where Michigan?s primary tight ends have ranked among the team?s yardage leaders in the Harbaugh era.
Vernon Davis, Zach Ertz, Coby Fleener. Those are three of the tights ends Harbaugh tutored in his tenures with the 49ers and Stanford.
Got the picture? In case you didn?t, it?s this: tight end is an extremely important position in Harbaugh?s offenses. So when he brought in Sherrone Moore to run the Wolverines? tight ends unit, it was not the meaningless hire many might make it out to be. Instead, Moore will be entrusted with a major part of Harbaugh?s offense, both in the receiving game and on the offensive line.
Moore has spent his entire coaching career working with tight ends but his background comes on the offensive line, where he played guard for Oklahoma in 2006 and 2007 after two seasons at Butler County Community College.
After graduating from Oklahoma, he spent three years at Louisville, earning a Master?s in sport communication while working as an offensive graduate assistant for the Cardinals. He worked specifically with the offensive line but was brought on to the staff full time as the tight ends coach in 2012.
But when then-head coach Charlie Strong left for Texas, Moore was left job-hunting, and ended up at Central Michigan. He spent his first three years in Mount Pleasant working exclusively with tight ends before expanding his role in 2017 to assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator.
Though Central Michigan may be considered a step down from Louisville, Moore flourished in his four years there. The Chippewas earned bowl berths every year and on a personal level, he helped develop walk-on tight end Tyler Conklin into an NFL draft pick after catching for over 500 yards in back to back seasons.
As recruiting coordinator, he helped Central Michigan capture top-five recruiting classes in the MAC for both the 2017 and 2019 classes. He has already secured two commitments since moving to Michigan, including 2020 four-star defensive tackle Denver Warren.
?I love basketball players (when recruiting tight ends). The more basketball players, the better for me,? Moore said in a spring interview. ?If they play basketball, they got a green light blinker for me.
?I?m trying to look at those guys because that all translated to ball skills, body control, and all the things that really translate to the passing game. If they?re willing blockers and they?re willing to put their face in there, I think we can teach them to block.?
The biggest story for Moore?s season will undoubtedly be the continued development of senior Zach Gentry and junior Sean McKeon. Both played a key role in Michigan?s passing game last season, catching for over 300 yards apiece ? second and third on the team in yards.
But while expectations were low a season ago following Jake Butt?s departure, both Gentry and McKeon will be expected to be difference makers this time around.
The two had two catches in 2016, with Gentry, a former three-star, playing out his freshman season and McKeon transitioning from quarterback to tight end. During his transition, McKeon was seen as more of a blocking specialist before his breakout 2017, while Gentry was a forgotten man.
If the two can continue the level of improvement they displayed last season, though, they could be critical in helping break Patterson into the Michigan offense. For his part, Gentry will be trying to boost his NFL draft stock and become the second Wolverines tight end drafted in three seasons. To attain that goal, Moore will need to step right in for now-running backs coach Jay Harbaugh and continue his fantastic development with this group.
What they?re saying
Zach Gentry on working with Moore: ?(Moore) is a heck of a guy. He?s been super organized and gets going every day and really knows what he?s talking about. I thought it was pretty cool that he played offensive line at Oklahoma when Adrian Peterson was there. So he?s obviously a very knowledgeable guy and has us ready to go every day.?
Jim Harbaugh, on bringing Moore in: ?I?m thrilled with the new additions. Sherrone Moore, Al Washington, I think are fantastic. I?ve had the chance to go out on the road and be in meetings with both, and they?re tremendous.?
Then-Central Michigan head coach, on hiring Moore: ?Sherrone was a part of one of the top staffs in the country during his time at Louisville and I feel extremely fortunate that we were able to add him to our staff. As both a coach and a player, he has great experience at both tight end and on the offensive line. He is a great teacher who brought out the best in his players while at Louisville.?
Tyler Conklin, on playing for Moore: ?He’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever had. Probably the best coach I’ve ever had.”