This past offseason, the Michigan Wolverines lost a lot of talent.

The playmakers that Michigan lost from last year’s team were primarily defensive talent. However, the Wolverines did lose their top-3 pass catchers this offseason as well–Amara Darboh, Jake Butt and Jehu Chesson. Those three players combined for 69.2 percent of Michigan’s receiving yards last year.

So, coming into 2017, the Wolverines had to find a new go-to receiver in the passing game.

It took less than two quarters into Michigan’s season for true freshman Tarik Black to prove he was more than deserving of his 4-star status and to establish himself as the Maize and Blue’s primary receiver.

Against the Gators, Black recorded two catches for 83 yards and a touchdowns. And despite the lackluster quarterback play from the Wolverines against the Florida Gators, Black was able to make several highlight-reel catches against a good secondary.

Black’s first collegiate catch was a 46-yard touchdown. Even though Black did not have to do much on the play, the corner allowed him to go by thinking he had safety help over the top, it was still impressive to see him burn Florida’s secondary like that.

 

While Black’s first reception was striking, that was not his best catch that game.

On his second career reception hauled in pass along the sideline while enduring a big hit by the safety.

 

Black followed up his impressive debut with a less than spectacular four catches for 11 yard outing against the Cincinnati Bearcats. However, is out to prove he is not a one-trick pony.

Coming into Michigan, Black was not the highest rated wide receiver in the Wolverines’ recruiting class. That honor went to Donovan People-Jones, who was the No. 1 2017 wide receiver. But currently, Black is the only one with collegiate receptions.

People-Jones called his teammate and roommate the most underrated receiver in the country. And Black has probably earned that title from his fellow freshman due to the chip on his shoulder he plays with.

 

Last Saturday, Black went from playing in front of 100 fans at his high school’s stadium to 100,000 fans in the Big House.

“I’ve always had that chip on my shoulder coming from Connecticut,” Black said to Rival’s The Wolverines. “But I just wanted to go out there and play my game, no matter who I was going up against. And I think I did a pretty good job of that

“I think I expected it to be a lot harder when I came here. Once I realized I was able to make plays I made in high school, I just knew I was able to do it at this level.”

The thing that has probably contributed the most to Black’s early success was him enrolling early. That allowed him to get accumulated to a college level strength and conditioning program which advanced his game by the time spring ball came around. And then in practice, he worked on his route running, ability to make the difficult catches and getting in sync with quarterbacks Wilton Speight and John O’Korn.

Putting in the work has helped Black be so effective early on in his Michigan career. It also has made people within the program believe that he could be only the second receiver in Wolverine football history to lead the team in receiving as a true freshman.

Black certainly appears to be well on his way to becoming one of the best receivers to ever come through Ann Arbor. However, he is focused on improving game currently. Black wants to work on explosiveness and blocking as the season progresses.

For now, Black has the attention of everyone will walk into the Big House on Saturday’s game against Air Force at noon on BTN. But in a year or two, Black could be among, if not the best receiver in the B1G.