Thursday, July 25, 2013

2013 Season Countdown: #35 Jehu Chesson

Jehu Chesson
Name: Jehu Chesson
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 193 lbs.
High school: St. Louis (MO) Ladue Horton Watkins
Position: Wide receiver
Class: Redshirt freshman
Jersey number: #86
Last year: I ranked Chesson #47 and said he would be a backup wide receiver. He redshirted.

Chesson came to Michigan last year as a very skinny and speedy character, and Michigan has been lacking some speed at receiver for the past few years. I thought that would get him on the field at least a little bit, but classmate Amara Darboh earned those snaps while Chesson stood on the sideline. This spring he showed up on some of those spring highlight videos making diving catches and beating the defense deep, which was somewhat promising for him.

This year he's a little bit bigger, and Roy Roundtree's graduation means someone else has to step up. Based on Darboh's experience, that might be the guy. But I think Chesson's physical talents are a little more tantalizing, since he's perhaps the fastest of the entire unit. Jeremy Gallon will be the primary deep threat, but Chesson could take on some of those deep routes and open up some things underneath for Gallon, who's excellent after the catch. With Devin Gardner taking on the quarterback job this year, I expect that to open up the passing game a little bit and create more opportunities for someone like Chesson.

Prediction: Backup wide receiver; 12 catches, 150 yards, 1 touchdown


  1. Chesson could make us a great offense this year because he can take top off the defense. Everyone will look to take away Gallon from the passing game so somebody will have to step up. Next year the wide receiver competition will be exciting to watch. Who will be our top 3 receivers then what with Drake Harris enrolling early and all the young receivers in the mix

    1. Well, I think we need a few more pieces in place before we have a "great" offense, most especially proven talent and experience on the Oline, and at least one (ideally two) really good running backs. I think our pass catching will be good, though probably not outstanding.

  2. I think his playing time will depend upon how many snaps they are willing to give to Jeremy Jackson. I am guessing that Chesson will be a more effective weapon out there. Jackson has probably gotten more than his fair share of snaps in past seasons, so we will see if that continues. Gallon, Darboh, and Dileo should be fixtures out there.

    1. Agreed..I would not be at all surprised if Chesson gets more snaps and catches than Jackson, possibly a lot more. Jackson hasn't shown any production in 3 years, and he certainly doesn't have Chesson's speed.

    2. I'm generally pessimistic concerning Jackson losing snaps to more effective players, and this has nothing to do with the abilities of him or any other receiver.

    3. It discouraged me a bit that Jackson was the target on like 50% of the passes during the spring game.

  3. DJ Williamson, Daryl Stonum, Jerald Robinson, Je'Ron Stokes were all fast guys who (to varying degrees) were disappointments. I get the feeling that some lessons learned from the Rodriguez era are being quickly forgotten. The idea seems to be that short WR were the problem, but it was the taller guys that were the real let-downs while the Roundtrees, Dileos, Odoms, and Gallons proved to be quality players.

    The bottom line is that being a good receiver is a lot more than the sum of your physical traits. At QB, it's taken as a given that skills matter more than measurables (at least for pro-style) but at WR there is much more focus on 40 time and height. I've argued this before, but hands, route-running, and instincts are the more important than straight-ahead speed and height.

    While Thunder's statistical estimate is pretty rational, it seems like most fans have high expectations for him and/or Darboh. While I'm intrigued by Chesson's skills being added to the mix, I'm not encouraged by his red-shirt year given the lack of competition. If you can't beat out Reynolds and Jackson, even as a frosh, that's not a great sign for your potential to be an impact player.

    I don't see him as any different from the big group of true freshman other than (obviously) the edge of being there an extra year. That's not a big edge - WRs often play right away.

    Not writing him off by any stretch, but doubts about his contributions this year are warranted. I'm looking forward to seeing how the other WRs rank on this list.

  4. In response to Lank,
    Its worth noting that a redshirt was expected for Chesson regardless not due to lack of talent but due to lack of strength, a flaw that appears to have been corrected. Also, and this is just my opinion, but Hoke doesnt appear to like playing true freshmen unless he absolutely has to (I think you could say that the decision to play Funchess was one of these) or the freshman in question is fairly advanced for his level (James Ross), at least in terms of non ST play.

    Big Nate

    1. @Nate

      Valid point about strength. Michigan WRs have to block to see the field. So, even if he has a Funchess-level receiving ability he could have sat out in favor of the others. Generally, that is true, but last year we put our backup QB out there who couldn't block and hadn't played WR before. Some of that was wanting to play Gardner, but it also demonstrated how lacking in star-power our WRs were beyond Gallon. If Chesson was an impact receiving target he should have seen the field, at least in limited action.

      Hoke has played a lot of freshman he didn't have to. He used guys like Darboh, Richardson, Jenkins-Stone who barely saw the field. A ton of guys were backups on D who were true freshman too, not to mention the impact guys (Pipkins, Ross, Funchess, Williams) that he "had" to play. Like any coach, Hoke prefers to play an upperclassmen, but it doesn't seem to me that he minds playing freshman either.