Monday, June 16, 2014

2014 Season Countdown: #66 Wyatt Shallman

Wyatt Shallman
Name: Wyatt Shallman
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 243 lbs.
High school: Novi (MI) Catholic Central
Position: Fullback
Class: Redshirt freshman
Jersey number: #33
Last year: I ranked Shallman #85 and said he would redshirt. He redshirted.

Coming into his freshman year, there were varying reports on where Shallman would play. As expected, he redshirted, but he was seen at varying times warming up with the running backs and the tight ends (a position group that includes H-backs at times). He was listed by recruiting sites anywhere from 225 to 245 lbs., but the official roster had him at 243 lbs. this spring when he was working mostly with the tight end/H-back position group.

Not much more should be expected of Shallman this fall. Michigan's top two fullbacks (Joe Kerridge, Sione Houma) return, and Michigan should be able to make do with their other tight ends, especially once Jake Butt returns. Shallman should find himself no higher than third on the depth chart, but at his size, he may be an asset as a blocker on punts or kickoff returns.

Prediction: Backup H-back


  1. Totally fair ranking, but I think he'll be more important than this for a couple reasons.

    1. H-backs are going to be used a lot more often. Nussmeir doesn't use FBs much and WR and TE depth is limited. H-back is similar to FB, but with different skillsets; H-backs tend to be taller and better pass threats. Kerridge's role will be reduced a bit, as a result of this shift.

    2. Shallman is the closest physical match to a prototypical H-back. A couple other young players fit as well - Houma is a bit more FBish, Hill is a little more TEish. I'm guessing that, with his athleticism, the coaches hope Shallman emerges as the top option at H-back.

    Everything hinges on him blocking well, and he's a bit young to excel in that area. So, the edge goes to the TEs (Williams/Heitzman/Butt) and Houma, just for being veterans. But, if Shallman can prove to be capable in the blocking department, he represents just the sort of Aaron Shea dual-threat potential the coaches would like, IMO.

    The opportunity is there. It's probably a year early for him, but I expect he'll climb much higher on this list next year.

    At the very least though, I'd expect Shallman to emerge with a prominent special teams role.


    1. There's an opportunity out there, but Shallman will need to stand out in some facet in order to earn playing time. Nuss will only use the HB extensively if he believes the player is a true blocking or receiving weapon. Otherwise, they're better off putting the 3rd WR on the field. Unlike Borges, I know that Nussmeier understands this principle.

      Houma, Hill, Shallman, and perhaps Kerridge are all competing for one set of part-time snaps. He is also competing against Heitzman in a way - if Heitzman looks competent at TE, they may give Butt snaps in the HB role.

    2. I'm really doubtful he'll beat out Houma for that role if we're not just using tight ends. Houma's seen plenty of game action and is an excellent athlete in his own right. That said, an eventual Aaron Shea 2.0 would be nice.

    3. .....Based on his athleticism? The athleticism that you've seen when he redshirted last season?

      .... WR depth is limited? Chesson Funchess Darboh are very capable, we have 3 talented freshmen with Jones and Norfleet waiting for a chance to steal some reps.

      Young athletes can't block? Not true for everybody. Bosch and Butt did fine last year.

      At the very least Shallman emerges with a special teams role? Based on what? How effective he's been so far? What is a special teams role? Punter? Kicker? Return man? Just being on special teams?

    4. Some good questions buried under your hostility anon 5:31 PM, but you can't call someone out for projecting RS Freshman if you do it too. You call Darboh "very capable" even though he is the same class as Shallman, has played the same number of snaps as Shallman (zero), and has practiced even less (due to injury).

      For completeness, I'll answer your questions.

      1. Yes, the athleticism. And the size. Shallman got some good offers and was targeted aggresively by the staff. His recruiting profile and practice reports are positive.

      2. Chesson didn't do much and Funchess has to prove he can be the man without Gallon around. After that, it's all hope because none of these guys have played - just like Shallman.

      3. Didn't say young athletes can't block, but generally it takes time to figure out. From OL to RB, it's typically upperclassmen who are better blockers. The more 'blocking' your position does, the more likely you are to red-shirt.

      4. See 1.

      Next time, do better anon.

    5. @Anon,

      You can't knock someone for talking up a redshirt freshman who hasn't seen the field if you do it too. Shallman at least got to practice all season, while Darboh was hurt.

    6. @ BB

      Houma and Kerridge are pretty short for H-backs. Not a deal-breaker, but they might want people who look a little more like TEs. The prototypical H-back is somewhere in between - 6'3/250ish like Shallman.

      Good article on the subject here:

      I think Houma will get some time at H-back, but Kerridge will be relegated to straight-up old-school FB. Houma, Hill, and Shallman seem like the primary H-back candidates to me. Houma has the experience edge, Hill (presumably) is the best pass-catcher but reportedly struggled to block, Shallman seems like he may have the most upside as dual-threat H-back. Like I said before, he may not be ready this year, but I think he'll play a big role on this team at some point in the next couple years and be a quasi-starter.

    7. My bad, Darboh is a RS Soph, not a RS Fresh like Shallman. Still, he hasn't caught a pass and missed a year due to injury. He's unproven, just like Shallman.

    8. Don't know if this clarifies or further adds to the who the hell is who with relation to TE's,H,F, dudes. Ferrigno was interviewed by Sam Webb during spring practice near the end. I was kind of surprised that he specifically called out Hill as really not doing what he needed to this spring. It was quite targeted in this area.

  2. I think you will see some separation by the end of the season in particular direction(s) for him. I was able to chat with Nuss at the ladies camp just by chance and I asked about Shallman as well as the combination of TE/FB/H/ etc. He was very polite and fairly open. His answer: several of these positions are not interchangeable. I'm reading into this that in his system there are essentially blocking TE's, TE's, and H. Fullbacks will be the H's. To his credit Shallman practiced specifically with the RB's and TEs during spring and it was intentional. He is the youngest and least experienced so there are definitely game skills he'll have to get experience with but he's taller and should soon if not already be the heaviest of the H's. As to his athleticism, Webb talked about it extensively in his recruitment and it was reported he had the 2nd or 3rd best vertical in testing last summer. I would bet he gets some early time in dedicated packages perhaps so Nuss can get some experience at this role in his system