August 20, 2013
Deon Butler talks about the switch to TE
Tight end has been a interesting story for Central Michigan the past eight years or so, as the Chippewas are probably most famous for a tight end that left the program. Back in 2007, CMU added a 6-foot-5 and 240 pound true freshman from Pewaukee (Wisc.) named J.J. Watt. After starting most of his freshman season he would famously leave CMU and walk-on at Wisconsin. Of course it's there that he eventually switched to DE and became a first round draft pick and subsequently is now the most feared defensive player in the NFL.
Part of the reason Watt looked elsewhere was that the offense under Butch Jones didn't feature the TE much, but that wouldn't have been a problem under current head coach Dan Enos. The problem Enos faced was the lack of tight ends on the roster, and under his regime he has tried to slowly build that position up. Due to some unfortunate injuries to players such as Jarrett Fleming and Caleb Southworth, along with Joe Sawicki being kicked off the team, the depth was not where it
needed to be.
Enter wide receiver Deon Butler. Butler entered the spring in a crowded wide receiver group, and despite turning down the position switch to TE on numerous occasions, decided he was going to give it a go.
Listed at 6-foot-3 and 217 pounds, Butler has since got himself up to 238 pounds and he is right in the mix at the tight end spot for the Chippewas.
"It's going good, it's a big move for me but it's been going great," said Butler on the switch. "It's a big adjustment because I'm gaining all this weight and I'm going against guys that are bigger and stronger than me. But I've got toughness, I'm strong and I'm competitive, so that type of stuff comes naturally."
Known as a dependable receiving threat, Butler changed numbers from #15 to #85, and his receiving skills are among the advantages he believes he has.
"I think I have an advantage just a little bit because I know some technique from the coaches with the wide receivers, and now I'm just incorporating that with the tight ends," added Butler. "Right now I'm going against linebackers and safeties, so I can get out of my breaks a little faster and I feel like I'm a step ahead of the linebackers"
Hailing from Inkster (Mich.) High School, Butler has a unique connection to the Chippewas first week opponent as the Michigan Wolverine's starting quarterback, Devin Gardner, is his former high school QB.
"I've talked to him a couple of times. Devin Gardner is a competitive person and he's a good man off the field and on the field. Every time we talk it's just to say good luck this season or hope you make it to the next level. But I'm very excited about that game, I know a couple other players on that team. I know we've been working hard and it's a big step for us."
While we all know who will be starting in week one for the Wolverines under center, who will have that spot in the Maroon and Gold is still an unanswered question.
"I like them all," added Butler on the QB completion. "Who I would have to pick is Coop (Cooper Rush) because he doesn't talk a lot and I like to give him a hard time. But in the running for the quarterback position, all three of them, I'll even go farther and say all four of them, have done a great job."
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