Tarik Black, expected to be one of the top receivers for Michigan, suffered a right foot injury at practice on Saturday.
Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh confirmed Monday that Black, a redshirt freshman, suffered a fracture in the foot. Harbaugh said the program does not know whether Black will need surgery.
The program said Sunday that “no definitive time frame has been determined for his return to play.” On Monday, Harbaugh said Black will be sidelined for “weeks.”
Harbaugh says Tarik Black will be out for "some weeks" with a right foot injury. Says it's a fracture. Not sure if he needs surgery yet.
— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) August 27, 2018
Another injury for Tarik Black
Black, a top 100 recruit in the 2017 class, quickly moved up the depth chart and began the 2017 season as a starter for the Wolverines as a true freshman. In three games, he caught 11 passes for 149 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown in the season-opening win over Florida.
However, Black broke his left foot late in the Week 3 win over Air Force and missed the rest of the season. Because of the time missed, he was granted a medical redshirt.
After rehabbing the injury, Black worked back to full health by the time spring practice rolled around and was again working with the starting offense in preseason camp.
Now, it looks like he will miss Saturday’s season opener against Notre Dame, No. 13 in Yahoo Sports’ preseason top 25, and beyond.
What does this mean for Michigan?
The Wolverines have decent depth at receiver, but the loss of Black, no matter how long he ends up being sidelined, is a tough blow. With Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson in the fold at quarterback, the Wolverines are expected to be far more dynamic offensively. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Black was expected to have a big role.
With Black sidelined, the Wolverines will rely even more on Donovan Peoples-Jones, who arrived in the 2017 class with even more acclaim than Black. Peoples-Jones caught 22 passes for 277 yards last fall, and was UM’s top punt returner. In the Air Force game where Black was injured, Peoples-Jones returned a punt 79 yards for a score.
In 2018, Peoples-Jones could become Patterson’s top target. Other options at wideout include Nico Collins, Oliver Martin and Grant Perry. Tight end Zach Gentry also figures to be heavily involved in Jim Harbaugh’s offense.
Black was due for heavy targets in what is expected to be a more diverse offense with Patterson under center. His long-term prognosis is unclear, but if news comes out that he could return from injury by midseason, he still could be worth stashing on your roster.
Nonetheless, Peoples-Jones becomes a higher priority draft target. As does Perry, a senior with 52 career receptions. Gentry is an intriguing option at tight end. A former quarterback, the 6-foot-7 Gentry averaged nearly 18 yards per reception. Though he caught only 17 balls as a sophomore, he could develop into one of the Big Ten’s better tight ends in 2018.
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