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.
OH YOU BETTER BELIEVE I DID THIS WOO
Previously: Team 134
PACK YOUR BAGS
Players who will be starting unless injury derails them. Early entry possibilities are not taken into account because they're too unpredictable this far out.
1. OLB Jake Ryan, Sr*
By 2014, Jake Ryan's hair will reach the small of his back and his terror will reach former Yugoslav republics, spawning an incomprehensible evil only he can defeat.
2. ILB Desmond Morgan, Sr
Joe Bolden will spot him frequently but extremely hard to see anyone displacing him once he moves to a more natural MLB spot. May or may not be Demens++.
3. FLEX Devin Funchess, Jr
I mean surely this will be the year he breaks Jim Mandich's record, if it isn't slap me and call me Tressel what's that I couldn't read your very clear email detailing NCAA malfeasance
4. CB Raymon Taylor, Sr
At this point has learned what a zone is and drops into it impeccably. Still large, probably playing field corner, does not have to be covered up as much deep. I call this guy RAYMON because that's his name.
5. QB Devin Gardner, Sr.*
In retrospect ranked too low in the last piece since like dude is kind of on pace to be #1 in passer rating if given enough sample size and competition is true freshman. Quality fifth-year option not starting lol you crazy.
6. T Ben Braden, So*
Road-grading tackle will have competition from only then-redshirt-freshmen Chris Fox and Logan Tuley-Tillman; LTT is a project who will be at least a year from ready and Fox may be more of a left tackle type.
7. CB Blake Countess, Jr*
Should be fully healthy in 2014 and in the starting lineup no problem. Ligament stuff should be fully healed, and Countess is still the guy who locked down a starting job as a freshman and was headed on a stardom track before cruel fate intervened.
8. NT Ondre Pipkins, Jr
Would have to bust spectacularly to not ease into the starting lineup; only other competition is Willie Henry and maybe Maurice Hurst, and Pipkins is clearly ahead of Henry now.
9. G Kyle Kalis, So*
If Kalis isn't starting at guard by his sophomore year, some very strange things will have happened, or an injury, which is not strange. But really I call this guy TIGER TESTICLES because Brady Hoke is searching for him on the black market to acquire his toughness via sympathetic magic.
UNLESS SOMETHING STRANGE HAPPENS
10./11. K/P Matt Wile, Sr
Multi-purpose kicker has proven himself an adequate or better punter and displayed a big leg on kickoffs and certain long field goals. May lose one job to an as-yet-undetermined freshman specialist but should start at one spot or the other.
12. ILB James Ross, Jr
In 2014 James Ross sees the playcall in his head, Terminator-HUD style, and ruthlessly exterminates any living thing that gets in his way. His one weakness is Lou Holtz. In the distance, a wolf cries. Ross feels the same kinship he always does, scratching behind his ear.
13. FB Joe Kerridge, Jr.*
Hopkins will be out the door and Houma is always going to be smaller than Kerridge. When Michigan needs a linebacker plowed, Kerridge will get the call first. Fullback is a veteran's position.
14. S Jarrod Wilson, Jr
With Marvin Robinson and Thomas Gordon out the door, Wilson will be the most experienced safety on the roster; as a four-star he's got the cred and probably a year of starting under his belt. Does not know Aaron Paul; Still 'shopped, rookie.
15. TE AJ Williams, Jr
Presumably at this point he will be a sixth offensive lineman or on the bench behind year two Jake Butt; both will get playing time; Williams figures to get more. Fish fear still reading zero. Or thereabouts, fear may increase if blocking technique does not.
FAIRLY SAFE BET
16. T Erik Magnuson, So*
Touted Californian a better fit at left tackle than Braden and has a clear path to start. Name reminds Hoke of wearing a polo shirt on his trip to the North Pole, which will give him the edge on the redshirt freshmen.
17. WR Amarah Darboh, Jr.
Dileo, Gallon, and Jackson graduate, leaving Jerald Robinson, Darboh, and Chesson plus whoever ends up in the incoming recruiting class. Darboh did not redshirt and is the most likely guy to be a starter on the outside.
18. C Jack Miller, Jr*
A rare downgrade from a projected starting job on 134, Miller's competition gets fierce in 2014 with Bars and Kugler both pressing from behind. He should hold onto the job but if he's smaller than the other guys and that's just not changing…
19. RB Deveon Smith, So.
Smith is currently the best bet to see a majority of the carries in 2014. Rawls may be a fullback, and Smith fits the MANBALL paradigm better than Hayes or Norfleet. Derrick Green may supplant him here.
20. S Dymonte Thomas, So
Furman and Gordon exit, leaving Thomas fending off Jeremy Clark and Allen Gant. Thomas is the most-hyped safety Michigan's brought in for a long while and has the athleticism to bump Wilson (back?) down to strong safety. The job is his to lose
IN A BATTLE
21. WDE Brennen Beyer, Sr.
Time will not thin out the WDE battle here; in fact it may make it murkier with 6'6" pass rusher Taco Charlton presumably coming off a redshirt this year. Whoever wins the job will have earned it.
22. NICKEL Terry Richardson, Jr
By 2014 the Cass Tech alum should be less tiny and prepping for a shot at a starting job in 2015; more likely he ends up in the Avery role for the duration as Michigan seeks out bigger guys on the outside.
23. G Chris Bryant, Jr*
Competition will be fierce at this point with Blake Bars and Kyle Bosch pressing; Bryant retains a size and experience edge but if Bosch is what he's supposed to be this will be a tight tight battle.
24. SDE Tom Strobel, So*
By this point his career, Strobel should pass the smaller Heitzman for the starting job, but candidates will be thick on the ground in 2014. Has a better recruiting pedigree, as well.
25. DT Chris Wormley, So*
I've heard from multiple folks that Wormley was going to play extensively this year before his ACL injury. In 2014 he will be fully healthy and huge and coached up and should fend off Matt Godin and others. May be at SDE.
26. WR Jehu Chesson, So*
The second starting wide receiver slot is anyone's guess. Chesson has the experience edge and an endorsement from the near-flawless MGoBlog Sleeper of the Year award. Fast, lanky leaper will hopefully be Braylon to Darboh's Avant.
27. SLOT Justice Hayes, Jr*
Potentially 404 FILE NOT FOUND here due to MANBALL. If they do have a smallish receiver who specializes in screens and end arounds, they'll have converted Hayes or it'll be an incoming freshman.
PUSHING FROM BEHIND
QB Shane Morris—raring to go after hopeful redshirt
RB Dennis Norfleet—make this man make plays
RB Thomas Rawls—Kevin Grady 2.0
WR Jaron Dukes—Junior Hemingway 2.0?
WR Pick An Apostroph'd Michigan Sleeper—one of Csont'e York or Da'Mario Jones will play
TE Jake Butt—strapping lad will be a matchup problem
C Blake Bars—could also play G if needed
C Patrick Kugler—son of Steelers OL coach should be ready to go early.
G Kyle Bosch—reportedly the most ready of the 2013 class to compete right away
T Chris Fox—will have to wait on LTT so should be the third tackle
DE Keith Heitzman—in the rotation for sure
NT Willie Henry—late add from Glenville will be a major wild card
DT Matt Godin—run stuffer sort
WDE Frank Clark—will rotate with Beyer.
WDE Mario Ojemudia—will either be an impact rusher or off the radar by now
MLB Joe Bolden—probably a quasi-starter by this point.
ILB Royce Jenkins-Stone—Ross backup probably.
ILB Ben Gedeon—hanging around
CB Jourdan Lewis—Cass guy but bigger than most.
CB Delonte Holowell—will push at nickel. Has stopped tweeting : (
S Jeremy Clark—prospect of a 6'4" free safety entices