QB Shane Morris: Morris was 5/9 for 65 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 1 interception in obviously limited duty behind starter Devin Gardner. He played a bit in the opener against Central Michigan and then one series against Michigan State, but generally, his snaps could have been handled by a walk-on like Brian Cleary. However, the most productive thing might have been Morris's snaps with the first and second teams in practice, which may accelerate his progress for when Gardner departs; furthermore, Morris might be needed in the bowl game if Gardner's turf toe is too problematic to overcome. Overall, this was a frustrating burning of a redshirt, but it was probably necessary since Michigan made a mistake in not taking a quarterback in the 2012 class.
RB Derrick Green: Green came in a little overweight, but we all knew he was going to play, and it was necessary. Starting running back Fitzgerald Toussaint has had just one healthy season in his career (2011), and the other backups hadn't done much in their time on campus. Green has responded with 82 carries for 265 yards and 2 touchdowns thus far.
RB De'Veon Smith: Smith is one of the more frustrating redshirt burnings on this list. While he did have a decent game against Ohio State, his production up to that point included 15 carries for 54 yards. His snaps probably could have been taken by Thomas Rawls or Justice Hayes, and that would have separated him from Green by a year. If Green leaves after his third year like many top-rated tailbacks do, Smith might have just one year as the lead back.
WR Da'Mario Jones: Jones is perhaps the biggest disappointment on this list. While I have high hopes for him as a receiver, he was limited to special teams duty. His only significant contribution was when he failed to locate a punt while blocking, which bounced off his foot and was recovered by UConn.
WR Csont'e York: York played as a backup in the first game of the year against Central Michigan and then didn't see any other game action. I'm guessing he'll end up getting a redshirt for this season, but technically, any amount of playing time burns a redshirt. I think York can be a decent wideout down the road, so losing a year of eligibility for a couple plays against CMU would seem silly.
TE Jake Butt: With Michigan thin at tight end, Butt was bound to play, and as the year went on, he earned more and more time. He ended the regular season with 17 catches for 202 yards and 2 touchdowns, saving his best performance for the season finale against Ohio State (5 catches, 85 yards, 2 touchdowns).
OG Kyle Bosch: Freshman linemen should usually stay on the sidelines, but there was a good chance that at least one of the six freshmen would see the field. Bosch enrolled in the spring and was the most college ready, so he entered the lineup once Joe Burzynski tore his ACL against Indiana. Bosch did an okay job, and while he eventually lost his starting gig, he did provide some competition that may have helped Michigan shore up the offensive line a little bit toward the end of the year. It's disappointing that Bosch needed to play, but this was necessary.
DE Taco Charlton: Charlton had 2 tackles and .5 tackles for loss throughout the year as the third-string weakside end. The team could have gotten by without him, but most teams need at least their top three guys on the defensive line to play at some point. It would have been nice for someone like Brennen Beyer to have been available and for Charlton to redshirt, but Jake Ryan's injury forced Beyer to play SAM linebacker.
LB Ben Gedeon: This coaching staff hasn't been shy about playing freshman inside linebackers, and all four guys in the rotation played as freshmen - Desmond Morgan, James Ross III, Joe Bolden, and now Gedeon. Gedeon leapfrogged sophomore Royce Jenkins-Stone for the #2 WILL job when Ross got hurt late in the year and ended up with 14 tackles and 1 sack of Braxton Miller.
CB Jourdan Lewis: Lewis and Channing Stribling were in a yearlong fight for the nickel corner job, with Lewis earning the slightly more impressive stats (17 tackles, 2 pass breakups). The Wolverines had a solid top two corners in Blake Countess and Raymon Taylor, but with senior Courtney Avery injured, somewhat ineffective, and needed at free safety sometimes, at least one freshman was going to be needed at corner. Lewis jumped over junior Delonte Hollowell and sophomore Terry Richardson for playing time.
CB Channing Stribling: Stribling put up 15 tackles and 1 forced fumble in a consistent battle with Lewis for the nickel corner job. He had some frustrating plays down the stretch in the loss to Penn State, but generally, he had pretty solid coverage and didn't look overmatched. Again, it would have been nice to see one of these two corners redshirt, but they both played decently enough for me to shrug my shoulders at the decision to play them.
S Delano Hill: Hill was exclusively a special teams coverage guy and ended the regular season with just 1 tackle. I don't like the idea of burning redshirts just for special teams, but it happens sometimes with safety/linebacker types. Hill looks the part of a college safety already, and he was around the ball more than his statistics indicate.
S Dymonte Thomas: Thomas flashed his talent in the season opener against Central Michigan with a blocked punt that resulted in a touchdown for Michigan. He added 5 tackles on what turned out to be mostly special teams duty. It was a little surprising he didn't play more, because early practice buzz had him pegged as the starting slot corner. Overall, it's tough to argue with playing him.
FB Wyatt Shallman: With a scholarship fullback in the class ahead of him (Sione Houma) and an established walk-on starter (Joe Kerridge), there was no need to throw Shallman into the fire this year. He could also be a U-back player and compete against the likes of Khalid Hill for playing time.
WR Jaron Dukes: Dukes, whose weakness is foot speed, didn't really have the bulk to be a blocking wide receiver, either.
TE Khalid Hill: Hill was expected to redshirt coming into the year, and that's what happened after being beaten out by fellow freshman Jake Butt for the U-back position. It will be an uphill battle to get on the field next year, too, with all the tight ends returning and the potential for Shallman to take Hill's playing time.
OL David Dawson: Dawson was a freshman offensive lineman, and most of them redshirt. This was expected and likely warranted.
OL Chris Fox: Fox tore his ACL at the end of his senior year, so big guys coming off of knee injuries are unlikely to play, especially in their first year of college.
OL Patrick Kugler: Kugler had shoulder surgery in the spring, so most people expected him to redshirt. The fact that he plays center, one of the most difficult positions on the field, only further necessitated the redshirt.
OL Dan Samuelson: Samuelson, again a freshman offensive lineman, was bound to redshirt unless lots of bad things happened. And while a lot of bad things did in fact happen, it wasn't quite that bad.
OL Logan Tuley-Tillman: Tuley-Tillman is a guy who came into college needing to reshape his body. He was up around 330 last winter, slimmed down to 285 by the spring, and settled in at 300 by the beginning of the year. Plus he was a raw prospect coming out of high school.
DT Maurice Hurst, Jr.: Hurst arrived on campus around 270 lbs., so it was pretty much inevitable that he would sit out for at least a year.
DT Henry Poggi: Poggi came in even lighter than Hurst, at 260 lbs. Also inevitable.
CB Reon Dawson: At 6'2", 170 lbs., Dawson was reed-thin coming into the year, and he was also deemed a raw prospect. Add to that the fact that Michigan had a couple established corners and a couple more refined freshmen, and the writing was on the wall.
CB Ross Douglas: Douglas had decent size at 5'10", 176 lbs. as a freshman, and was seen as a feisty competitor in the spring and summer, but his services weren't needed.
LS Scott Sypniewski: With fifth year senior Jareth Glanda handling the long- and short-snapping duties, Sypniewski wasn't needed this year.