AJ Barner began his career at Indiana and succeeded Peyton Hendershot as the team’s leading tight end during the 2022 season. Unfortunately, those numbers for Barner last season were still just 28 catches for 199 yards and 3 touchdowns.

In a conversation with Alejandro Zuniga of The Michigan Insider, Barner addressed his offseason transfer from the Hoosiers to Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan program. The TE shared excitement about winning a lot of games and focusing on becoming an all-around TE with the Wolverines.

“Winning a bunch of games and having fun doing it,” said Barner about expectations for 2023. “And just becoming the best player that I can be, an all-around tight end, and doing everything that the coaches want me to do and to be the best teammate.”

As for his time at Indiana, Barner admitted playing in the up-tempo style of offense was not great for TEs. He’s looking forward to playing in the more methodical approach employed at Michigan this season.

“That was really tough. Yeah — Definitely wasn’t optimal for tight ends,” Barner said of the Hoosiers. “I feel like this offense will be better for that.” 

Michigan’s TE outlook for 2023

Under Harbaugh, the offense of the Wolverines has integrated the TE regularly in the passing game. Last season, Luke Schoonmaker was the team’s second-leading receiver with 35 catches while going for 418 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Schoonmaker is now off to the NFL but the TE group should still be a strength for Michigan. Along with Barner, the Wolverines return Colston Loveland who had 16 catches for 235 yards and 2 touchdowns as a true freshman a season ago.