two #4's listed from last ranking.
27 Tickets To Team 134: Signing Day Edition
What is this? Folks who cover the USMNT drop lists like this projecting the 23 guys who end up on the next World Cup team. I have appropriated it. Regarding the number of tickets: 22 starters on offense and defense + 2 kickers + nickelback + FLEX TE + fullback.
This is the Signing Day Update. Certain recruits are added, NFL departures (or returns) are accounted for, and bowl performances are taken into account. Next update is after spring practice, which should see more significant movement.
PACK YOUR BAGS
Jake Long wannabe took second-to-last step to full clone by forgoing sure first-round status in this year's draft to return for senior year. Upside: shut off Clowney in bowl game, gives Michigan second returning starter, was All-American last year. Downside: has reportedly sold his twosie.
The Barbarian is Michigan's best defensive player and a lock for preseason first-team All Big Ten. Can change direction in a flash; consistently shocks opponents with his explosive acceleration.
Schofield came into his own midway through last year. Getting some NFL draft buzz now; shut down a talented SoCar bookend in the bowl. Could move to guard if necessary; ideally remains outside.
Groza semifinalist and hair enthusiast has turned his career around after early struggles. Hit 52-yarder last year en route to record accuracy for Michigan kicker. Likes brunettes and Keystone Light.
Should break out for real after a year to bulk up and work on his routes. Frequently targeted a year ago without effect, will need some outside threats to develop to truly annihilate defenses.
Former Rodriguez slot-dot is Michigan's leading receiver and should be again. Still a somewhat awkward fit as an outside receiver; a threat on end-arounds and screens. Punt return job may be up for grabs.
7. QB Devin Gardner, Jr.* [Last time: 12]
Late-season rankings slide of Shane Morris and solid bowl performance move Gardner from very likely to be Michigan's starter to a holy lock. No true freshman is supplanting him.
Safety attached to notorious six-pack has been a steady performer and a major contributor to Michigan's extreme lack of big plays allowed in the Mattison era.
Season surprise emerged into upper-echelon Big Ten nose tackle out of nowhere. Has the physical ability to be an NFL player. Requires your head, sorry, nothing personal.
Filled in admirably for Countess. Avery won't pass him, and it's doubtful any freshman will. Still needs to tighten up his zone coverage but has excellent size and athleticism for the position. Likely to move to boundary corner.
UNLESS SOMETHING STRANGE HAPPENS
Most college-ready OL out of the Midwest in years probably could have—probably should have—started last year. If he does not ascend to starting job will have been beaten out by a classmate, freshman, or walk-on. Not happening; cue Imperial March.
Sticky-fingered Louisiana gnome proved his mettle in 2012. If a pass is physically reachable by him, will be brought in. Feet will motor afterwards. Lacks top gear.
Converted OL Michigan's best bet at inline blocking TE sort; needs to work on his technique in a serious way. Could near 300 pounds after an offseason in the weight room. Fears no fish.
Pressed into service as a started his freshman year before settling into perpetual third-best-corner-on-rosterdom. Will see half of the defensive snaps, covering slots and the like.
Major drop from last time out; was overranked to begin with since Bolden is pushing from behind. Excellent frosh play in bowl game puts job under a bit more threat. Realistically it'll be hard to move out of the MLB spot.
Kugler buzz sees Miller slide a bit as his competition will come in far readier than most to start from day one. Still seems unlikely a guy with a labrum injury can find the strength as a freshman to displace him.
FAIRLY SAFE BET
With Courtney Avery seemingly comfortable in the slot, Countess is likely to reclaim the field corner job he locked down midway through his freshman season… as long as he isn't hampered by lingering effects of his injury.
Early enrollee groomed as the Kovacs heir apparent as soon as he arrived, playing in certain nickel and dime packages as a freshman. Has not appeared on The Price Is Right, that's 'shopped, rookie. Marvin Robinson may challenge.
The only thing keeping Ross so low is classmate Joe Bolden; the two freshmen split snaps with veterans and played well. Ross seemed more instinctive and gets the nod here; had a great day against Northwestern and just needs 20 pounds to be a quality option.
IN A BATTLE
Yep: making the switch here, as Fitzgerald Toussaint now has to deal with not only DeVeon Smith but a 220 pound slab of muscle coming in with as much hype as it is possible to garner. Tailback is an immediate-impact spot.
Beyer has nosed ahead of Frank Clark and Mario Ojemudia since he's a better run defender. Recruiting sites liked him best, too. Likely to split time with the other two contenders here even if given the green light as a starter.
Mountain-sized guard missed 2012 with a broken leg; will return for spring practice. Has to fend off freshmen and walk-ons, mostly. The non-Kalis guard spot will see a lot of intrigue.
Started to rack up meaningful snaps late in the year; will have to fend off challenges from Tom Strobel and possibly Chris Wormley and Jibreel Black, if he's not at three-tech. Injury-enforced retirement of Nate Brink means he's at least going to reprise his role this year.
Nominally in line to replace Will Campbell at starting three-tech but will be pushed hard by trio of redshirt freshmen, and may move out to SDE. May not have the size to start at his current position.
Someone large and leapy will have to pick up where Gardner and Roundtree(?) left off. Darboh did nothing as a freshman but seems likely to move in front of Jeremy Jackson and others to claim the other spot outside.
Stephen Hopkins' departure makes Kerridge the leader at fullback when face-smashing is called for; the additions of Khalid Hill and Wyatt Shallman may move Kerridge to the bench for periods of time when Borges wants pass-catchers at the spot. Houma?
Bowl suspension has Will Hagerup on thin ice, thin enough that it seems 50/50 he returns, at best. If Hagerup is out the door, Michigan won't miss much of a beat with Wile, who averaged 48 yards a kick in the bowl game. Picture may be slightly old.
PUSHING FROM BEHIND
QB Shane Morris—hopefully he redshirts.
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint—worst. year. ever.
RB DeVeon Smith—most likely to fit what coaches want at RB spot
RB Dennis Norfleet—MOVE HIM BACK MOVE HIM BACK
OL Erik Magnuson—third option at tackle.
OL Ben Braden—rumor is they may give him a shot at guard with Lewan back.
C Blake Bars—if Miller is just too too small.
C Patrick Kugler—the chosen center, but labrum injury hampers.
WR Jehu Chesson—should be ready to go after redshirt in search of bulk.
DE Tom Strobel—oversized end coming off redshirt, should be quality run defender.
NT Ondre Pipkins—get thee to the technique hut, son.
DE/DT Chris Wormley—has the size, has the hype, has the ACL recovery process.
WDE Frank Clark—rotated with Beyer last year.
WDE Mario Ojemudia—seemingly the best bet for an impact pass rusher at the spot.
MLB Joe Bolden—needs weight, but coming off meaningful freshman PT.
SLB Cam Gordon—spots Ryan.
CB Terry Richardson—weight weight weight weight weight
CB Jourdan Lewis—will a Cass corner ever meet the hype?
S Marvin Robinson—not sure if he'll ever be reliable enough to play.
S Josh Furman—ditto
to the actual World Cup qualifying team? Rather than just borrowing the idea, can Lewan play right back?
Jerald Robinson is no longer on the team so I hope Darboh moves ahead of him.
Help please. I have no idea what this means regarding QWASH:
"Has the physical ability to be an NFL player. Requires your head, sorry, nothing personal."
That confused me as well.
Brian is assuming that you are an opposing OL who is about to become a Conan-style trophy:
Requires [center/guard's] head, sorry, nothing personal."
Thank you. I would have never figured that one out.
Brian chose the pictures carefully
Jabreel Black will definitely start, but where depends on the best option next to him. I'll take Sophomore Pipkins over RS Sophomore Heitzman to compete for a starting job, and Black's better suited as an End, regardless.
Regarding AJ Williams: I heard Hoke say during the season; AJ would be best served by losing weight, so I don't think he will be approaching 300 lbs anytime soon, unless he wants to sit on the bench.
Derrick Green has to start.
If we have no running game like last year we will get the same results as last year.
FWIW I talked to Hagerup for about 20 minutes down here in Dayton at a bar (his gf goes here and knows my friend) and he seemed excited about next season.
I saw him on campus! He was at the Rec a few weeks ago, thought I was crazy but I guess it was really him. Why's he not at school? Suspended from there too?
When did Gibbons make a 52-yarder? I thought that was Wile in the Nebraska game.
Wile missed a 53 yarder earlier in the same game. He did, however, make a 48 yarder against State the previous week.
To be honest, there just simply aren't enough "MOVE HIM BACK"'s after Dennis Norfleet's name. IMO
Norfleet is not moving back.
Why, you may ask? We just brought in not only the #1RB in the country, but also a a second RB who was the #1 RB in Ohio. Both of these guys fit exactly what our staff wants to do with the offense. Also, there is a good chance that Fitz will return.
What leads you to believe that Norfleet can possibly crack the rotation? Last year, we has absolutely zero production from the RB spot, and he STILL couldn't get carries, so you think that he is going to pass Green, Smith and Fitz?
This is not a post trashing Norfleet. He is a very fast kid. But speed alone does not translate to RB success. If it were that easy, every sprinter would be making NFL $$. Norfleet is seriously undersized, which could be a problem when he has to block. Also, from his returns (which I have been generally happy with), he does appear to lack vision to make the right cut. That, of course, could be a youth thing.
So, all of that said, why are you so eager to see Norfleet return to RB and sit behind numerous others on the bench?
Well, we still need to fill the role Vincent Smith had as a 3rd down back. It would either be Nofleet or Hayes. I can't speak towards either of their blocking ability (guaranteed to be a step down from "pound-for-pound the toughest blocker on the team,") but I'm not convinced it's impossible for him to claim that role.
I think that you may be a bit confused as to what a 3rd down back is.
First off, many teams do not use a 3rd down back - if their regular every down RB has the requisite skill set, teams tend to roll with that one back.
Second, just b/c V. Smith was a tiny guy, that does not mean that every 3rd down back has to be tiny. As I have always understood it, a 3rd down back is one who is a good blocker, and who can catch passes / screens dump-offs, etc. Why does that limit our options to Norfleet or Hayes? Why not Green. Smith, Shallman or Fitz?
When I said "3rd down back," I meant is as a general term for more of a change-of-pace type back. With a back like that, the most important aspects are blocking and elusiveness after the catch in instances of dump-offs. While one of our starters may be able to fill that role, I think it's beneficial to have a back that excels at catching balls out of the backfield and make defenders miss, especially since we're moving towards more of an interior-running, brute force style offense.
I figured that's how you meant 3rd down back - I use the two somewhat interchangeably, as well.
And I do like the idea of having an elusive RB for certain situations, but I am not sure why people assume that just because Norfleet is fast he is elusive? I like the kid, and think that he has potential to be a good return man (especially if he improves his vision and decisions-making), but I just don't see him playing a role in our offense going forward.
He is simply a return man...I can't see him seeing the field in any other way, well maybe a 3rd down change of pace back
He can't become Darren Sproles... but Fast!
At least to be coming from behind. Could really use his speed plus the whole EE thing. Maybe Bosch then too?
Looking at that list, it is really impressive how quickly Hoke and company have managed to re-stock our depth and restore our talent levels.
Gone are the days of being forced to start undersized, under-talented players. Gone are the days where the back-up at any given position was a walk-on or air.
This is the most talented and balanced (aside from WR) our roster has been in 5 years.
As freshman contributors I feel Funchess : Michigan Football :: Staukus : MBB.
Devin's production dropped dramatically in Big Ten Play. Stauskas not so much besides the poor Indiana outing. He is still around 50 percent from 3's and looked great against OSU this weekend.
Unknown freshman weapon who wasn't as successful once opposing offenses realized his threat?
Stauskas production has dropped off a good chunk since entering B1G play. He was shooting like 50% out of conference, now its like 38% within conference.
I meant to say that although they've struggle somewhat in conference play, I'm most excited about the continued development and utilization as "x-factors" by both coaches. I'd say these two are my favorites among each freshman class.
I'm not giving up on this kid at all. IMO, he's the top choice to replace Vincent Smith as a third-down back.
I mentioned this in a post above, buy aside from being tiny, why do you believe that Hayes would be a good 3rd down back? Is he a good blocker? Does he have good hands? Because those are the key criteria for a 3rd down back. Being tiny is not.
Hayes is six feet talk, no? There was also talk of him moving to the slot at one point - he's a very good receiver. So if he can block, he'd make a lot of sense as a third down back.
the top of the list is offensive heavy and the bottom (pushing from behind) is defensive heavy.
Time will tell. Go Blue!
I don't think we should sleep on Dymonte Thomas. I have a feeling his talent could hit the field earlier than we think.
Dude Lewan even Redshirted. Just because an offensive lineman doesn't start as a true freshmen ,regardless of competition, doesn't mean he won't live up to the hype.
I think it's possible that the coaches are just pretty adamant about redshirting offensive linemen, but maybe we're as little star struck by Kalis. Totally agree with regard to Gallon, though - apparently no one will give him credit for his ability as a downfield threat until he grows four inches.
I am feeling good about next season. It will come down to us and OSU for the B1G (for years to come).
" Folks who cover the USMNT drop lists like this projecting the 23 guys who end up on the next World Cup team"
Judging from yesterday such a list might be presuming a lot.
I'm pretty sure Tom Gordon is a redshirt senior, not redshirt junior, FYI.