Cory McCartney lists his top ten players primed for breakout seasons in 2009.
One of those players is Brandon Minor. I've been saying since the spring of 2008 that Minor has all the makings of an excellent running back. Minor was rated as the #1 fullback in the country coming out of high school and had a torn ACL, so I think it's taken him a while to find his groove as a primary ballcarrier. But at this point, he seems to have hit his stride.
Minor had a wrist injury at the beginning of the 2008 season and thus suffered horrendous fumbling issues that reduced his playing time last season. But as the article points out, he had 447 yards and 7 TD's in the last five games. As the offensive line continues to adjust to Rodriguez's zone blocking schemes - and if Michigan's starting quarterback in 2009 can pose more of a running threat than Threet and Sheridan last year - I think Minor's production will continue to soar.
If Minor can stay mostly healthy for his senior season (every player suffers bumps and bruises), I think he's in line for 1,200+ yards and 12 TD's or so.
Meanwhile, McCartney's article lists Ryan Mallett as a breakout player for 2009 as well. Mallett transferred to Arkansas after Rodriguez got hired in December 2007. I don't like it when players transfer away from Michigan, but I usually don't hold a grudge against them. I hope Toney Clemons, Avery Horn, Zion Babb, Steve Threet, etc. find stardom elsewhere in college football. I do have a problem with Justin Boren transferring to OSU, but that situation was ridiculous.
This has nothing to do with Michigan's football team - I hope Ryan Mallett fails at football. I have never liked his cocky attitude, and I don't want to see players like that get publicity. He transferred for good reasons. There's not a lot of proof that shows Rodriguez knows exactly what to do with statuesque quarterbacks, so I'm fine with him leaving. I just hope that he gets a taste of humble pie and starts a career as an insurance salesman at 24 or 25 years old.