Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Wolverine: Anonymous opponents talk about Michigan's defense

At the Big Ten Media Days, The Wolverine asked opponents anonymously what they thought of Michigan's defense.

Hit the jump for three good looking brunettes, plus a gif of Rachel McAdams's behind.

2014 Season Countdown: #26 Jourdan Lewis

Jourdan Lewis
Name: Jourdan Lewis
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 175 lbs.
High school: Detroit (MI) Cass Tech
Position: Cornerback
Class: Sophomore
Jersey number: #26
Last year: I ranked Lewis #71 and said he would play on special teams. He played in all thirteen games and had 17 tackles and 2 pass breakups.

Coming out of high school, Lewis looked slight and physically unready to play college football. When fall camp rolled around, he was 170 lbs. and looked the part of a guy who could see a little bit of time on the field. It became apparent in the middle of the season that Lewis has the coverage chops to make it at this level. He stuck to receivers well, and even on completed balls, he was rarely more than a step away. At times it took a perfect throw to beat him. By the time spring arrived, rumors were persisting that Lewis had supplanted Blake Countess as one of the starting cornerbacks. Then Lewis proceeded to make two interceptions of Devin Gardner in the spring game.

I do not believe that Lewis will start at corner this year, unless someone gets injured. Countess is an All-Big Ten player, and fellow corner Raymon Taylor has been starting for a couple years. What Lewis offers is the ability to come off the bench and play like a starter. He has good speed and awareness, and he can break on the ball as well as anyone on the team. He could also play in nickel situations. Michigan has a glut of cornerback options with Countess, Taylor, Lewis, Channing Stribling, and incoming freshman Jabrill Peppers, who has been reportedly been calling himself a safety while head coach Brady Hoke publicly insists he'll play nickel corner. I'm only half-joking when I say that Michigan's best lineup against the spread might be a dime look with four (or three) defensive linemen, Jake Ryan at linebacker, two safeties, and a quartet of Countess, Taylor, Lewis, and Peppers. At the very least, Lewis will establish himself as the heir to a starting spot in 2015.

Prediction: Backup cornerback; 20 tackles, 1 interception

Recruiting Update: July 31, 2014

Washington (DC) Gonzaga Prep cornerback Marcus Lewis
Saginaw (MI) Heritage wide receiver Brian Cole committed to Michigan (LINK). 

Washington (DC) Gonzaga cornerback Marcus Lewis decommitted from Florida. Lewis visited Michigan for the BBQ at the Big House last weekend and had a great time, according to all parties. It looks like the Wolverines might be on top in his recruitment, but he is also considering Florida (still), Miami, and Oregon. Lewis was attempting at one point to transfer to Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy, but those plans fell through and he will stay in D.C. for his senior year.

Destrehan (LA) Destrehan wide receiver Kirk Merritt was offered by Michigan. Merritt is a 5'11", 206 lb. prospect with offers from Alabama, Auburn, LSU, and Notre Dame, among others. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #3 all-purpose back, and #138 overall in the class. He recently won the SPARQ national championship at The Opening, which included a 4.46 forty and a nearly 46" vertical jump. Michigan is recruiting him as a wide receiver even though he's built like a running back or safety.

O'Fallon (IL) O'Fallon running back Kentrail Moran was offered by Michigan. He's a 5'10", 192 lb. prospect with offers from Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, and Syracuse, among others. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #18 running back, and #226 overall. As a sophomore in 2013, he had 1,140 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. Moran is built like a power back and has decent speed. The Wolverines have long seemed like a favorite for Moran, so he could be Michigan's back for the 2016 class.

Shreveport (LA) Calvary Baptist quarterback Shea Patterson decommitted from Arizona. Patterson was committed to Arizona prior to receiving a Michigan offer, and then pegged the Wolverines' as a dream offer. He never visited and Michigan got a commit at his position in the form of Ohio's Messiah DeWeaver. Patterson is more of a pocket guy than I would expect Rodriguez to truly want, though he does have some running ability. This may turn out as a positive for both parties, but Patterson is a quality prospect with offers from Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Notre Dame, and Texas, among others.

Fort Wayne (IN) Wayne defensive end Auston Robertson was offered by Michigan. He's a 6'5", 230 lb. prospect with offers from Indiana and Notre Dame, among others. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #14 weakside end, and #207 overall. Robertson camped at Michigan in June, where the coaches had a chance to evaluate him. He visited for the BBQ this past weekend and was told that he had an offer, and while Michigan is currently looking at him as a defensive end, he could play tight end, too. His childhood favorite school was Ohio State.

Huntersville (NC) Southlake Christian Academy running back Robert Washington was offered by Michigan. He's a 5'10", 210 lb. prospect with offers from Florida, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Stanford, and UCLA, among others. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #15 running back, and #174 overall. As a sophomore in 2013, he had 219 carries for 2,512 yards and 28 touchdowns. He also claims a 4.47 forty. Washington was previously committed to Mississippi State, but that ended in July 2013; he has visited Michigan unofficially numerous times, both before and after that commitment ended. Washington has developed a good relationship with area recruiter Roy Manning, but there are a lot of schools in play.

New London (NC) North Stanly running back Antonio Williams was offered by Michigan. He's a 5'10", 210 lb. prospect with offers from Florida and Wisconsin, and he decommitted from North Carolina earlier this month. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #10 running back, and #123 overall. As a sophomore in 2013, he carried the ball 239 times for 2,401 yards and 22 touchdowns. Williams is another guy who has developed a strong relationship with Manning.

Detroit (MI) Cass Tech defensive tackle Joshua Alabi committed to Ohio State. Alabi held an early offer from the Wolverines, but the coaches have since taken the stance that defensive tackle is not a need in this class. He never seemed to be high on Michigan, and they never seemed to be too high on him, but it still hurts some perceptions that another Cass Tech kid would choose the Buckeyes. They do have a bit of history with Cass Tech players, with the likes of Vernon Gholston and Damon Webb.

Richmond (VA) Benedictine wide receiver Scott Bracey, a 2016 prospect, committed to Duke. Bracey is a superstar compared to what Duke normally gets. His teammate is defensive end Clelin Ferrell, another Michigan offeree, but one who committed to Clemson already.

Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary's linebacker Daelin Hayes, another 2016 prospect, committed to USC. Hayes was considered a Michigan lean until recently, and he had previously set an announcement date for late April, when he was presumably going to choose the Wolverines. A strange thing happened when Hayes did not receive an invitation to the BBQ at the Big House, which frustrated him a little bit. It was reportedly an honest mistake on the coaches' part, but it may or may not be a coincidence that he visited Southern California and committed to the Trojans at roughly the same time he should have been attending the BBQ.

Houston (TX) Cy Falls defensive tackle Du'Vonta Lampkin committed to Texas. He had previously been committed to Oklahoma and never showed much interest in the Wolverines.

Tampa (FL) Sickles running back Ray-Ray McCloud III committed to Clemson. He was expected to commit to Florida for a long time until the tide started to turn in favor of the Tigers recently.

Rivals released their top 100 (LINK) and top 250 (LINK) lists for 2016.

ESPN updated their top 300 prospects for 2015 (LINK).

Here's a list of the BBQ at the Big House visitors (LINK). Some names were added late while I was on vacation, so not all names are partnered with write-ups.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fox Sports: Top 10 assistants who will be head coaches soon

Unfortunately (or fortunately), new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier is on Bruce Feldman's list of the top ten assistant coaches who look like they'll be head coaches soon.

Hit the jump for three good looking ladies.

2014 Season Countdown: #27 Ben Braden

Ben Braden (image via
Name: Ben Braden
Height: 6'6"
Weight: 322 lbs.
High school: Rockford (MI) Rockford
Position: Offensive tackle
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #71
Last year: I ranked Braden #23 and said he would start at left guard. He played in two games as a backup lineman.

Last year things were looking good for Braden coming out of the spring. He had every chance to play and spent the spring as the starting left guard. Then once the season started . . . nothing. I pegged him coming out of high school as too tall and stiff to be a guard, and maybe he was. That opened the door for Graham Glasgow (who eventually moved to center), Chris Bryant, Erik Magnuson, and Kyle Bosch to all start games at the left guard position. Even through that horrendous rotation, Braden remained on the sideline after the coaches appeared to realize that offensive guard just wasn't the right fit.

Michigan lost two offensive tackles (Taylor Lewan, Michael Schofield) to graduation, and fellow redshirt sophomore Erik Magnuson looks poised to take Lewan's spot at left tackle. That leaves a potential battle at right tackle, where Braden would seem to be the odds-on favorite. However, Glasgow spent some time at right tackle in the spring, and there's a chance that he could supplant Braden at tackle if Jack Miller or Patrick Kugler can provide consistency at center. Recent comments from last year's opponents and scuttlebutt from Schembechler Hall say that Glasgow is probably Michigan's best lineman, so it will be a priority to get him on the field once he returns from a one-game suspension. If Miller or Kugler is the starter at center in week two, then Braden will probably find himself on the sideline yet again. Regardless, Braden should be a valuable player as the #2 or #3 tackle; not only could an injury at tackle put him into the lineup, but an injury on the interior could cause a reshuffling that sends Glasgow back to the middle and Braden onto the field.

Prediction: Starting right tackle

Brian Cole, Wolverine

Saginaw (MI) Heritage wide receiver Brian Cole
Saginaw (MI) Heritage wide receiver Brian Cole committed to Michigan on Saturday. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and others.

Cole is a 6'2", 190 lb. prospect. Stats are nowhere to be found (EDIT: Cole had 1,200 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns on offense, plus 47 tackles and 5 interceptions on defense), and measurables are hard to come by because he has eschewed the camp circuit. For a highly touted recruit, he has kept mostly to himself and remained quiet on the trail.

ESPN: 4-star, 82 grade, #9 athlete, #139 overall, #1 in-state
Rivals: 4-star, #7 athlete, #107 overall, #2 in-state
Scout: 4-star, #5 wide receiver, #40 overall
247 Sports: 4-star, 97 grade, #2 athlete, #43 overall, #1 in-state

Back in January 2013, the Wolverines were the first to offer Cole, followed quickly by the Spartans and then Ohio State. Cole did not provide many interviews, and he didn't attend many camps where he might be in the spotlight, so it was hard for recruiting gurus to keep him in their sites. He made several unofficial visits to schools in the midwest, but it was thought that he would wait to sort through the process a little longer before making a selection. Word out of his "camp" suggested that he wanted to stay close to home, but neither the Wolverines or Spartans seemed to take a huge lead at any point. He finally pulled the trigger on his campus visit with 2015 quarterback commit Alex Malzone just prior to the BBQ at the Big House.

As far as strengths go, Cole has a lot of positive traits as an athlete (which is why he's ranked as an "athlete" by three of the four services). Cole plays running back, receiver, and safety for his high school team. He's a big kid who has some natural strength to glide through arm tackles. He has good speed and very good acceleration. His high school offense generally seems like a "Let's pitch it to Cole and watch him run" system, and Cole has a tendency to bounce everything outside. The competition at his level is not great, so his combination of speed and size makes him look like a man among boys. He also has very good feet and change of direction abilities in space, which will make him extremely difficult to corral in one-on-one situations.

On the negative side, Cole does not look like he has the ability to play running back (as some have suggested) because he bounces everything outside and tends not to drive his feet through contact. He will need to get better at powering through solid tackle attempts. I also do not see him as a defender due to a lack of tackling instincts; he just looks more comfortable being the prey rather than the predator. Perhaps the biggest adjustment needed will be the move to receiver, because while he shows some natural catching skills, he will have to familiarize himself with new stances, route running, coverages, etc.

Overall, I project Cole as a receiver, which is also where Michigan sees him playing. If he does end up playing defense, free safety looks like the strongest possibility due to his size and closing speed. The coaching staff plans to play him at slot receiver, and I think he could be very effective running after the catch. I also think he has some value as a kickoff returner due to his straight-line speed and even as a punt returner due to his impressive agility. It may take some time for him to adjust to the receiver position, but he has a very high ceiling.

Cole is Michigan's ninth commitment in the 2015 class and the first receiver. He follows a couple classes full of receivers, so he shouldn't be required to contribute extremely early. Michigan has zero senior receivers (although junior Devin Funchess is a possibility to enter the draft early), which means a redshirt may be available for him to transition to wideout. The Wolverines could conceivably be finished at the receiver position, though one more player is a possibility.

TTB Rating: 84 (ratings explanation)

Defensive highlights can be found on Hudl (LINK).

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

MLive: WR/TE preview - Will Funchess explode, is Canteen for real, and what about the TEs?

Nick Baumgardner looks at Michigan's receivers for 2014.

Hit the jump for three girls with nice rear ends.

ESPN 300 for 2015 updated

Saginaw (MI) Heritage wide receiver Brian Cole is the #139 player in the country.
ESPN released their updated top 300 players for 2015. Here's what it looked like back in June (LINK). Movement for Michigan commits:

- Chris Clark drops from #108 to #109
- Garrett Taylor drops from #110 to #111
- Brian Cole drops from #137 to #139
- Tyree Kinnel drops from #188 to #192
- Grant Newsome drops from #240 to #242
- Darrin Kirkland, Jr. drops from #263 to #266

1. Josh Sweat - DE - Virginia
4. Terry Beckner, Jr. - DE - Illinois
5. Kevin Toliver II - CB - Florida (LSU)
7. CeCe Jefferson - DE - Florida
8. Iman Marshall - CB - California
9. Kendall Sheffield - CB - Texas
10. George Campbell - ATH - Florida
11. Justin Hilliard - LB - Ohio (Ohio State)
15. Tim Settle - DT - Virginia
16. Blake Barnett - QB - California (Alabama)
17. Mitch Hyatt - OT - Georgia (Clemson)
18. Jashon Cornell - DE - Minnesota (Ohio State)

19. Josh Rosen - QB - California (UCLA)
22. Rasheem Greene - DT - California
27. Minkah Fitzpatrick - CB - New Jersey (Alabama)
28. Keisean Lucier-South - DE - California
30. Damien Harris - RB - Kentucky
31. Shy Tuttle - DT - North Carolina
32. Soso Jamabo - RB - Texas
33. Preston Williams - WR - Georgia (Tennessee)
36. Christian Kirk - WR - Arizona
38. Jarrett Stidham - QB - Texas (Texas Tech)
39. Malik Jefferson - LB - Texas
41. Jeffery Holland - LB - Florida
45. Keenan Walker - OT - Arizona (Arizona)
46. Jacques Patrick - RB - Florida
54. Arden Key - DE - Georgia
55. Deondre Francois - QB - Florida
58. Ronald Jones II - RB - Texas (Oklahoma State)
61. Matt Burrell, Jr. - OT - Virginia
63. Adonis Thomas - LB - Georgia
64. Drew Richmond - OT - Tennessee
69. Abdul Bello - OT - Florida (Florida State)
70. DaMarkus Lodge - WR - Texas (Texas A&M)
72. Jerome Baker - ATH - Ohio (Florida)
73. Hale Hentges - TE - Missouri (Alabama)
75. Devonaire Clarington - TE - Florida
79. Jaylon Lane - CB - Texas (Oklahoma State)
80. Rashad Roundtree - S - Georgia
82. Anthony Wheeler - LB - Texas
84. Dexter Williams - RB - Florida (Miami)
86. Johnny Frasier - RB - North Carolina
90. Jalen Dalton - DE - North Carolina
95. Jake Fruhmorgen - OT - Florida (Clemson)
98. Christian Pellage - OT - Florida
99. Hjalte Froholdt - DT - Florida
103. Sterling Jenkins - OT - Pennsylvania (Penn State)
105. Ryan Bates - OT - Pennsylvania (Penn State)
106. Clelin Ferrell - DE - Virginia (Clemson)
108. Tyler Jordan - OG - Florida (Florida)
109. Chris Clark - TE - Connecticut (Michigan)
111. Garrett Taylor - CB - Virginia (Michigan)
124. Osa Masina - LB - Utah
135. Ty'Son Williams - RB - South Carolina
136. Kirk Merritt - ATH - Louisiana
138. Jordan Whitehead - CB - Pennsylvania
139. Brian Cole - ATH - Michigan (Michigan)
141. Devante Peete - WR - Florida
150. Ray-Ray McCloud III - ATH - Florida (Clemson)
152. Marcus Lewis - CB - Washington, D.C.
161. Shaun Crawford - CB - Ohio (Notre Dame)
163. Joshua McMillon - LB - Tennessee
165. Darian Roseboro - DE - North Carolina
168. John Reid - CB - Pennsylvania
169. Michael Weber - RB - Michigan
191. Juwan Johnson - WR - New Jersey (Penn State)
192. Tyree Kinnel - S - Ohio (Michigan)
227. Rashard Causey, Jr. - CB - Florida (Florida Atlantic)
236. Isaiah Prince - OT - Maryland
238. Pat Allen - OT - Maryland
242. Grant Newsome - OT - New Jersey (Michigan)
256. Cameron Townsend - LB - Texas
259. Cameron Ordway - CB - Tennessee
266. Darrin Kirkland, Jr. - LB - Indiana (Michigan)

Rivals 250 for 2016 released

Messiah DeWeaver
Rivals released its top 250 players for 2016 this morning. Yesterday they released the top 100 (LINK). Offensive tackle commit Erik Swenson was #70, and Michigan's only other pledge in the class is quarterback Messiah DeWeaver, who comes in at #210 overall. Here's a list of the rest of Michigan's offerees:

109. Joseph Jackson - DE - Florida
115. Binjimen Victor - WR - Florida
130. Elijah Holyfield - RB - Pennsylvania
133. Shaquille Quarterman - LB - Florida (Miami)
136. Kyree Campbell - DE - Virginia
145. Michael Menet - OT - Pennsylvania
146. Justin Layne - WR - Ohio
147. Michael Onwenu - DT - Michigan
157. Antonio Williams - RB - North Carolina
165. Luke Farrell - TE - Ohio
170. Austin Mack - WR - Indiana
182. Kentrail Moran - RB - Illinois
186. Dele' Harding - LB - Maryland
197. Kaden Smith - TE - Texas
201. Steven Smothers - WR - Maryland
204. Richard Merritt - OG - Washington, D.C.
210. Messiah DeWeaver - QB - Ohio (Michigan)
213. Robert Washington - RB - North Carolina
216. Auston Robertson - DE - Indiana
222. Lavert Hill - CB - Michigan

Rivals 100 for 2016 released

Erik Swenson (image via MGoBlog)
Rivals released its top 100 prospects for 2016. There are a number of Michigan targets on the list, including offensive tackle commit Erik Swenson at #70. Other offerees on the list include:

1. Nate Craig - WR - Florida (Auburn)
2. Jacob Eason - QB - Washington (Georgia)
3. Ben Cleveland - OT - Georgia (Georgia)
4. Dexter Lawrence - DT - North Carolina
6. Gregory Little - OT - Louisiana (Texas)
8. Rashan Gary - DT - New Jersey
9. Malik Henry - QB - California
11. Kareem Walker - RB - New Jersey
14. Levonta Taylor - CB - Virginia

17. Daelin Hayes - LB - Michigan (USC)
18. K.J. Costello - QB - California
23. Scott Bracey - WR - Virginia (Duke)
29. Sam Bruce - WR - Florida (Miami)
31. Janarius Robinson - DE - Florida
32. Brandon Jones - S - Texas
33. Jake Hausmann - TE - Ohio
36. Ben Bredeson - OT - Wisconsin
39. Collin Johnson - WR - Texas (Texas)
40. Shea Patterson - QB - Louisiana (Arizona)
42. Miles Sanders - RB - Pennsylvania (Penn State)
48. Cameron Chambers - WR - New Jersey
50. Josh King - DE - Illinois
51. E.J. Price - OT - Georgia
54. Naseir Upshur - TE - Pennsylvania
59. Dylan Crawford - WR - California
62. Dwayne Haskins, Jr. - QB - Maryland
63. Isaac Nauta - TE - Georgia
70. Erik Swenson - OT - Illinois (Michigan)
74. T.J. Chase - WR - Florida
80. Ahmir Mitchell - WR - New Jersey
92. Jauan Williams - OT - Washington, D.C.

2014 Season Countdown: #28 Ondre Pipkins

Ondre Pipkins
Name: Ondre Pipkins
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 306 lbs.
High school: Kansas City (MO) Park Hill
Position: Defensive tackle
Class: Junior
Jersey number: #56
Last year: I ranked Pipkins #31 and said he would be the backup nose tackle. He made 7 tackles as a backup nose tackle before tearing his ACL.

Last year was a tough year for Pipkins, who was a 5-star to ESPN coming out of high school. In what perhaps should have been a breakout second year, he tore his ACL in early October against Minnesota. Even up to that point, he was not living up to that 5-star status and was playing behind fifth year senior Quinton Washington, who was also underperforming a bit. Between those two guys, the nose tackle position was somewhat underwhelming, and the coaching staff at times had to resort to walk-on Ryan Glasgow and the undersized Jibreel Black, a DE-turned-DT. Nose tackles typically don't put up great numbers, but the difference between someone like Mike Martin - who graduated after the 2011 season - and last year's rotation was stark.

Pipkins should be ready to go for the opener on August 30th, but ACL injuries are tricky, especially for big guys. Ideally, the centerpiece of the defense would be able to be ranked higher than #28 in this sort of thing, but the position is a huge question mark right now. Michigan had a lackluster run defense last season, often seeming soft in the middle. They have moved outside linebacker Jake Ryan to the middle, but both projected starting defensive tackles (Pipkins and Chris Wormley) have had ACL tears within the last two years, and nobody on the interior defensive line has proven himself as a legitimate starter in the Big Ten. The hope is that Pipkins can hold his ground in the middle, but I am not confident that his burst - which was perhaps his most impressive trait coming out of high school - can return ten months after that kind of knee injury. He will probably be the first one on the field, but there will be plenty of rotation with the likes of Glasgow, redshirt freshman Maurice Hurst, Jr., redshirt sophomore Willie Henry, Glasgow, and freshman Bryan Mone. The Wolverines have plenty of bodies, but production is lacking.

Prediction: Starting nose tackle; 20 tackles, 1 sack

MLive: RB position preview - Green, Smith compete while Isaac waits

Nick Baumgardner previews the running back position for 2014.

Hit the jump for three girls with nice behinds.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

2014 Season Countdown: #29 Derrick Green

Derrick Green
Name: Derrick Green
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 227 lbs.
High school: Richmond (VA) Hermitage
Position: Running back
Class: Sophomore
Jersey number: #27
Last year: I ranked Green #16 and said he would be the #2 running back with 100 carries for 500 yards and 6 touchdowns. He started one game and had 83 carries for 270 yards and 2 touchdowns.

It's tough to tell whether Green was overrated or rated accurately for last year. On the one hand, he showed up overweight (~240 lbs.) and out of shape, stumbling to just 3.3 yards/carry. On the other hand, Michigan's failure to run the ball contribute heavily to the disappointing 7-6 record. It's tough to blame that crappy running game on the backs, since they were attempting the impossible: success behind a porous offensive line. And yet Green seemed to take college success lightly by not being in shape. That's a huge reason why freshmen are often untrustworthy, because they have to adjust their diets, workouts, technique, work ethic, intensity level, and mental preparation for college. Some kids get it immediately, and some kids don't. Green didn't.

This year Green seems to be starting to get it a little bit. He has pared himself down to 227 lbs., which is roughly where he was in peak high school condition. Of the available running backs on the roster (not counting transfer Ty Isaac), Green looks to me like the most physically talented back. He has light feet, good acceleration, and pretty good speed for a power back. The thing that has always concerned me about Green is his lack of balance and an inability to stay on his feet when 230-pounders should be able to do so. If Michigan can open holes like Michigan teams of yesteryear could, then Green is the best bet because he can get out in the open field and outrun people. If the line continues to struggle - which it probably will - then I think Green will probably be the #2 option. De'Veon Smith is the most physical back and the most capable of shaking off tackles in the hole, so he would be my choice to start until the line comes around.

Prediction: Backup running back; 120 carries, 500 yards, 5 touchdowns

Saturday, July 26, 2014

It's Still the Weekend!

I'm on the road, so here are about 25 good looking ladies to tide you over until your regularly scheduled programming returns.

2014 Season Countdown: #30 Joe Bolden

Joe Bolden
Name: Joe Bolden
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 225 lbs.
High school: Cincinnati (OH) Colerain
Position: Linebacker
Class: Junior
Jersey number: #35
Last year: I ranked Bolden #30 and said he would be a backup middle linebacker. He made 54 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks.

Bolden turned in a solid sophomore campaign, starting four games and finishing as the fifth-leading tackler for the Wolverines. He really came on against Michigan's tougher opponents, posting 8 tackles against Michigan State and 1 sack each against Ohio State and Kansas State. Bolden was the top backup inside linebacker, filling in for both middle linebacker Desmond Morgan and weakside linebacker James Ross III. Bolden seemed to genuinely improve throughout the season after looking a little overwhelmed as a freshman, so I think it's safe to state - and not just guess - that Michigan has some quality depth at the linebacker positions.

Coincidentally, Bolden is once again the #30 player on the list. I might be underrating him, because he started the spring game at WILL linebacker and seems to have closed the gap between himself and Desmond Morgan. I have always thought that Bolden had higher upside, but right now I think they both offer different strengths in different situations. I would be more inclined to play Morgan in run situations or against traditional running scehemes, whereas Bolden is probably the better bet against teams that spread it out. Both linebackers will play a significant number of snaps, but I have hard time seeing a junior leapfrog a senior, three-year starter in Morgan.

Prediction: 50 tackles, 3 sacks

Friday, July 25, 2014

Welcome to the Weekend!

Start enjoying the weekend with some good looking women, including a runway model gif!

2014 Season Countdown: #31 Delano Hill

Delano Hill (image via
Name: Delano Hill
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 205 lbs.
High school: Detroit (MI) Cass Tech
Position: Safety
Class: Sophomore
Jersey number: #44
Last year: I ranked Hill #72 and said he would see some special teams action. He played on special teams in every game and saw action in one game on defense, making 1 total tackle.

Hill came into college as somewhat of a physical freak, with his high school coaches talking about his speed and hitting ability. What he lacked was technical refinement. Last year he was deemed worthy of running downfield on coverage teams, but he made just 1 tackle. Starting free safety Thomas Gordon graduated, backup Josh Furman transferred, and cornerback/safety Courtney Avery graduated, too. By the time spring rolled around, the door had opened for Hill to run with the first unit alongside junior Jarrod Wilson at safety.

This fall will be very interesting in the defensive backfield, where Michigan has a glut of capable cornerbacks and a bunch of unproven safeties. Wilson has one spot all but locked down, but the strong safety position comes down to Hill, redshirt sophomore Jeremy Clark, sophomore Dymonte Thomas, and perhaps freshman Jabrill Peppers. While the coaches have rotated defensive linemen, linebackers, and even cornerbacks rather freely, the safeties have generally been every-down players. Scuttlebutt out of Schembechler Hall this spring suggested that Hill was the most trusted safety by the coaches. Personally, I have doubts that his discipline has been shored up in just one year of college, but regardless of which safety wins the job, he's going to be young and/or inexperienced. This looks like a job that might be in flux throughout the year, but with Hill as the potential starter, he's potentially valuable.

Prediction: 30 tackles, 1 interception

Thursday, July 24, 2014

MLive: Position preview - Quarterback job is Gardner's to lose

Nick Baumgardner previews Michigan's quarterback situation.

Hit the jump for three nice looking ladies and an Alison Brie gif.

2014 Season Countdown: #32 Scott Sypniewski

Scott Sypniewski
Name: Scott Sypniewski
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 226 lbs.
High school: Ottawa (IL) Marquette
Position: Long snapper
Class: Redshirt freshman
Jersey number: #43
Last year: I ranked Sypniewski #94 and said he would redshirt. He redshirted.

Sypniewski was offered a scholarship out of high school for his long snapping prowess. That's rare for long snappers, and unheard of (as far as I know) for Michigan in the modern era of the 85-scholarship limit. Last year the Wolverines could afford to redshirt him since they had the near-flawless Jareth Glanda to snap on both the field goal/extra point team and the punt unit. Now Glanda has graduated, and Sypniewski is the only long snapper on the roster. That means there's a premium on keeping him healthy and getting him prepared for high-pressure situations. The coaches will probably be adding some walk-ons this fall, at least one or two of whom will be able to long snap. We always see a game or two each season come down to the difference between a made field goal and a missed one, and bad punt snaps can be disastrous. Let's hope that Sypniewski proves he was worth giving a scholarship.

Prediction: Starting long snapper

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

MLive: Position preview - Will the offensive line improve?

Nick Baumgardner previews Michigan's offensive line.

Hit the jump for Kelly Brook and a couple random good looking girls.

2014 Season Countdown: #33 Mario Ojemudia

Mario Ojemudia
Name: Mario Ojemudia
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 250 lbs.
High school: Farmington Hills (MI) Harrison
Position: Defensive end
Class: Junior
Jersey number: #53
Last year: I ranked Ojemudia #32 and said he would be a backup weakside end. He made 20 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and 1 fumble recovery.

Ojemudia had an okay year for a backup defensive end last season. He has yet to harness the potential that had a lot of Michigan fans excited coming out of high school, but he has made plays here and there - an interception against Nebraska as a freshman, a forced fumble against South Carolina, a fumble recovery against Kansas State. He has mostly been a fresh body coming in to spell the starter (or the starter's backup).

This year he should see an increased role, and now is his time to shine. The Wolverines are roughly two deep at each defensive end spot, and Jake Ryan (now a middle linebacker) and Cameron Gordon (graduated) will likely not be available for nickel duty as weakside ends. Ojemudia will be Frank Clark's backup, and the next man up would likely be raw freshman Lawrence Marshall. I'm guessing that Marshall will see snaps, but he probably will not be particularly effective. I believe Michigan will have an improved pass rush this season with a quicker defensive front and more blitzing, and hopefully that will lead to guys like Ojemudia getting freed up by confused and overwhelmed offensive lines. He is a solid player but has yet to show whether he can be a star or not.

Prediction: Backup weakside end; 30 tackles, 3 sacks

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Big Ten Blog: Five Big Ten players, coaches to root for

Josh Moyer runs through five players and coaches within the conference to root for, including Michigan captain Jake Ryan, coming off a torn ACL.

Hit the jump for three ladies who are well endowed.

2014 Season Countdown: #34 Will Hagerup

Will Hagerup (with Erin Andrews)
Name: Will Hagerup
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 225 lbs.
High school: Milwaukee (WI) Whitefish Bay
Position: Punter
Class: Redshirt senior
Jersey number: #43
Last year: I ranked Hagerup #95 and said he would sit out the year because he was suspended. I was right!

Hagerup was the Big Ten's best punter the last time we saw him. Unfortunately, the last time we saw him was in 2012. Which was two years ago, for you calendar junkies. It really was 2012, too, because he was suspended for the New Year's Day bowl game in 2013 against South Carolina, plus the whole 2013 season. Hagerup has had some undisclosed issues with staying on the right side of the rules.

This might actually be too high (heh...too high) for Hagerup, who has a couple suitable backups in senior Matt Wile and redshirt sophomore Kenny Allen. Wile would probably be better served concentrating on kickoffs and placekicking, the former of which he has been doing, and the latter of which he will take over full-time from the departed Brendan Gibbons, who had his own legal issues. Allen has a lone punt to his credit, although that punt traveled a long way. Still, Hagerup can be a weapon with his booming punts. The hope is that Hagerup has turned over a new leaf and can weed out the sticky inconsistencies of his personal life, potentially resulting in a veritable pot of gold for his teammates, who will be racing down the green field in a joint venture to nip opponents' punt returns in the bud. If Hagerup plays in every game this season, it will be the first time in his five years that he will not have been suspended for at least one contest.

Prediction: Starting punter; 44-yard average

Visitors: 2014 BBQ at the Big House

Lincolnton (NC) Lincolnton defensive end Darian Roseboro
This year's BBQ at the Big House for 2015 prospects will be on July 27th. Last year Michigan did two separate barbecues for seniors and then underclassmen, but I believe this year's will be one combined event.

Jalen Bates - DE - Kaplan (LA) Kaplan: Bates is a 6'4", 240 lb. prospect with offers from Michigan, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech, among others. He's a 247 Composite 3-star, the #22 weakside end, and #499 overall. Michigan is one of his top few schools, and his cousin is former Wolverine linebacker Jonas Mouton. Bates is aiming to visit Ann Arbor sometime around June 24-26, so he may miss the actual BBQ but will be in town at roughly the same juncture.

Chris Clark - TE - Avon (CT) Old Farms: Clark committed to Michigan in June (LINK).

Brian Cole - WR - Saginaw (MI) Heritage: Cole is a 6'2", 190 lb. prospect with offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Tennessee, among others. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #5 athlete, and #65 overall. Cole may not be able to stay for Sunday's BBQ, but he will be at Michigan on at least Friday and Saturday.

Kengera Daniel - DE - Raleigh (NC) Millbrook: Daniel is a 6'5", 250 lb. prospect with offers from Alabama, Miami, Michigan, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wake Forest, among others. He's a 247 Composite 3-star, the #21 strongside end, and #503 overall. He claims a 4.89 forty and had 89 tackles, 13 sacks, and 1 interception as a junior in 2013.

Jack Dunaway - DE - Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice: Dunaway is a 6'3", 212 lb. prospect with no offers at this time. He's the teammate of Michigan quarterback commit Alex Malzone. Dunaway is also the son of Craig Dunaway, a tight end at Michigan from the mid-1980's.

Joshua Ellison - WR - Flint (MI) Carman-Ainsworth: Ellison is a 5'11", 185 lb. prospect with no FBS offers at this time, as far as I know. He is a potential walk-on candidate.

Damien Harris - RB - Berea (KY) Madison Southern: Harris was committed to Michigan, but he then de-committed in January (LINK) after offensive coordinator Al Borges was fired. Michigan is still under consideration but is believed to have fallen behind Ohio State, if not Alabama and Kentucky. UPDATE: Harris no longer plans to attend the BBQ.

Amari Henderson - CB - Charlotte (NC) Mallard Creek: Henderson is a 6'1", 182 lb. prospect with offers from Kansas State, Kentucky, Penn State, and Wake Forest, among others. He's a 247 Composite 3-star, the #111 safety, and #1481 overall. He claims a 4.46 forty, a 41" vertical, a 255 lb. bench, and a 355 lb. squat. He has not been offered by Michigan, but he has been in contact with area recruiter Roy Manning. The Wolverines are searching for someone to replace Shaun Crawford, who decommitted in favor of Notre Dame. UPDATE: Henderson committed to Wake Forest on July 19, but still wants to attend the BBQ.

Tyree Kinnel - S - Huber Heights (OH) Wayne: Kinnel committed to Michigan in August 2013 (LINK).

Darrin Kirkland, Jr. - LB - Indianapolis (IN) Lawrence Central: Kirkland committed to Michigan in May (LINK).

Marcus Lewis - CB - Washington (DC) Gonzaga: Lewis is a 6'1", 187 lb. prospect who committed to Florida in April. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #8 athlete, and #118 overall. He claims a 4.38 forty and will be at The Opening this month. Lewis has said that, while he remains committed to Florida, he wants to explore his options, and one of them is playing in Ann Arbor. There was recently some news that he would transfer to IMG Academy in Florida for his senior year, but it appears he will remain at Gonzaga Prep.

Alex Malzone - QB - Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice: Malzone committed to Michigan in May (LINK).

Iman Marshall - CB - Long Beach (CA) Poly: Marshall is a 6'1", 170 lb. prospect with offers from LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Stanford, UCLA, and USC, among others. He's a 247 Composite 5-star, the #2 cornerback, and #8 overall. He will also be attending The Opening. Marshall's presumed leader is USC, but he worked out with Michigan freshman Freddy Canteen in the off-season and wants to check out Michigan's campus. He attends the alma mater of former Michigan corner Donovan Warren. UPDATE: Marshall did not make the trip.

Joshua McMillon - LB - Memphis (TN) Whitehaven: McMillon is a 6'3", 230 lb. prospect with offers from Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt, among others. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #16 outside linebacker, and #215 overall. He visited Michigan this spring and is very high on Michigan, although the SEC pull is strong in the state of Tennessee. UPDATE: McMillon will not be attending the BBQ because his parents can't come, but he will try to visit with them prior to his August 22nd announcement date.

Tyrone Miller - S - Saline (MI) Saline

Grant Perry - WR - Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice: Perry is a 6'0", 185 lb. prospect with offers from Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, and Kent State. He's a 247 Composite 3-star, the #131 wide receiver, #1051 overall, and #15 in the state of Michigan. He camped at Michigan and did well, although the Wolverines have not extended an offer. He is Malzone's top receiving target at Brother Rice.

Patrice Rene - CB - Alexandria (VA) Episcopal: Rene is a 6'1", 180 lb. prospect with offers from Indiana, Ohio State, Rutgers, and Syracuse, among others. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #27 cornerback, and #212 overall. Rene is moving from Ontario to Virginia for his senior season.

Mook Reynolds - CB - Greensboro (NC) Northern Guilford: Reynolds is a 6'0", 175 lb. prospect who committed to Virginia Tech in February; he also has offers from Georgia, Michigan, and Notre Dame, among others. Despite being committed to the Hokies, he wants to explore his options and has made a good connection with cornerbacks coach Roy Manning. UPDATE: Reynolds did not make the trip but remains interested in the Wolverines.

Drew Richmond - OT - Memphis (TN) University School: Richmond is a 6'5", 320 lb. prospect with offers from Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, and Tennessee, among others. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #6 offensive tackle, and #75 overall. Richmond will likely not be in attendance at the BBQ, but he has mentioned an interest in visiting, despite Michigan not making his initial top 10 list. UPDATE: Richmond did not make the trip.

Darian Roseboro - DE - Lincolnton (NC) Lincolnton: Roseboro is a 6'3", 293 lb. prospect with offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Duke, Michigan, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Ohio State, and Tennessee, among others. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #8 strongside end, and #122 overall. As a junior in 2013, he made 125 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, and 11 sacks. Michigan recruiting guru Sam Webb has been speaking very confidently about Michigan's chances of landing Roseboro, who has developed a solid relationship with his recruiter, cornerbacks coach Roy Manning.

Jon Runyan, Jr. - OG - Philadelphia (PA) St. Joseph's: Runyan committed to Michigan in June 2013 (LINK).

Auden Tate - WR - Tampa (FL) Wharton: Tate is a 6'4", 195 lb. prospect with offers from Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Michigan, and South Carolina, among others. He's a 247 Composite 3-star, the #40 wide receiver, and #319 overall. As a junior in 2013, he caught 49 passes for 815 yards and 5 touchdowns. Michigan may have been in front at one point, but an offer from the Seminoles in late May might have changed the tide in his recruitment. Tate is a possibility to attend the BBQ but has not yet purchased airline tickets, so it is unlikely. UPDATE: Tate did not make it to the BBQ.

Garrett Taylor - CB - Richmond (VA) St. Christopher: Taylor committed to Michigan in March (LINK).

Tyriq Thompson - LB - Detroit (MI) King: I wrote a scouting report on Thompson in January (LINK).

Michael Weber - RB - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: Weber is a 5'10", 205 lb. prospect who has a top group that includes Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #13 running back, and #108 overall. Over the last two seasons, he has 3,359 rushing yards and 45 touchdowns. Weber is visiting USC this weekend and is attempting to fly back in time for the BBQ. UPDATE: Weber did return from California in time to get to the BBQ.

Tyrone Wheatley, Jr. - TE - Manlius (NY) Canisius: Wheatley is a 6'6", 275 lb. prospect with offers from Alabama, Miami, Michigan, UCLA, and USC, among others. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #10 tight end, and #231 overall. While he has grown to a mammoth size, Michigan is still recruiting him as a tight end, although he could play defensive end or even offensive tackle if he continues to grow. UPDATE: Wheatley will miss the BBQ.

Hit the jump for 2016 and 2017 prospects.

Monday, July 21, 2014 Q&A with Nick Baumgardner did a question-and-answer session with MLive writer Nick Baumgardner to introduce Rutgers fans to Michigan.

Hit the jump for three ladies in bikinis.

2014 Season Countdown: #35 Royce Jenkins-Stone

Royce Jenkins-Stone (#52)
Name: Royce Jenkins-Stone
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 221 lbs.
High school: Detroit (MI) Cass Tech
Position: Linebacker
Class: Junior
Jersey number: #52
Last year: I ranked Jenkins-Stone #41 and said he would be a backup linebacker and special teamer. He made 5 tackles while playing in thirteen games, mostly on special teams.

Jenkins-Stone's biggest impact last season was when he initiated a minor brawl against Ohio State, for which he was booted out of the game (along with Buckeyes Marcus Hall and Dontre Wilson). It was a somewhat ugly incident, and despite inciting it by ripping off Wilson's helmet during a routine tackle, Ohio State came out looking worse after Wilson threw a punch and Hall flipped off the crowd on his way to the tunnel. Either way, the other parts of Jenkins-Stone's 2013 season were pretty forgettable. He couldn't pierce the rotation at linebacker, and he made fewer special teams tackles than a wide receiver (Jehu Chesson) and a fullback (Sione Houma).

This year brings a modified defense, the 4-3 Over, and some new hope for Jenkins-Stone. Recruited as a middle linebacker, he's too light at 221 lbs. to be the thumper in the middle that was expected of him. Instead, he's a special teamer who has shown an ability to slash downhill but not much else. While I normally wouldn't expect much of a guy who has essentially only contributed on special teams, I am making an exception for him. I have never viewed him as a read-and-react guy, so his new position as a SAM linebacker in the Over fits well - he should be able to blitz from that position and play downhill if flow comes his way. There were some rumblings in the spring that he had leapfrogged incumbent starter James Ross III (who bumped over from WILL in the shakeup), but I find it hard to believe that last year's second-leading tackler will lose his job to a special teamer with 11 career stops. However, I like how Jenkins-Stone fits at SAM, and I think he will get a fair amount of playing time on the defensive side of the ball, not just on specials.

Prediction: Backup SAM linebacker; 20 tackles, 1 sack

Recruiting Update: July 21, 2014

This is Ben Cleveland, perhaps the largest high school baseball player in the country (image via Maxpreps)
Cleveland (OH) Benedictine linebacker Jerome Baker committed to Florida. Baker made noise about visiting Michigan several times, but then his visit got canceled every time. I don't believe he ever made it to Ann Arbor. On the plus side, he was considered an Ohio State lean for a long time, so it's probably a good thing that he ended up choosing the Gators.

Fort Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas wide receiver Sam Bruce, a 2016 prospect, committed to Miami. A diminutive slot type of receiver, Bruce never visited Michigan, but he was always expected to stay down south, anyway.

Toccoa (GA) Stephens County offensive tackle Ben Cleveland, a 2016 prospect, committed to Georgia. Cleveland is listed at 6'6" and 327 lbs. and is just a rising junior. He is consistently mentioned as one of the most impressive looking prospects that recruiting gurus have seen in a long time . . . and the kid (pictured above) won't turn 16 until August.

Lake Stevens (WA) Lake Stevens quarterback Jacob Eason, another 2016 prospect, also committed to Georgia. He's the son of Tony Eason, a former wide receiver for Notre Dame. Jacob is the 247 Composite #2 pro-style quarterback and the #14 overall player in the country.

Randleman (NC) Randleman wide receiver Juval Mollette committed to North Carolina. Mollette claimed a high level of interest in Michigan despite never visiting, and he reportedly connected well with area recruiter Roy Manning. However, he was expected to stay in the general geographical area, so this wasn't a surprise.

Pittsburgh (PA) Woodland Hills running back Miles Sanders committed to Penn State. Sanders was offered by Michigan recently and reportedly had the Nittany Lions and Wolverines as his top two, so this was a near miss. This leaves two running backs on the board for 2016: New Jersey's Kareem Walker and Georgia's Elijah Holyfield.

Many (LA) Many offensive guard Garrett Thomas committed to Texas. Michigan had relatively recently re-ignited some interest on Thomas's part, but he was still going to be a tough pull from so far away.

Here's a list of visitors for the BBQ at the Big House (LINK).

Tennessee linebacker Joshua McMillon (August 22nd) and North Carolina defensive end Darian Roseboro (August 29th) have both set announcement dates, and Michigan is a top choice for both. It would be somewhat disappointing if the Wolverines didn't pull in at least one of the two.

Over on Recruiting Season, I profiled Lapeer West's Hunter Andrews, Farmington Hills Harrison's Devon Cook, U of D Jesuit's Bryce Brand, and Lansing Catholic Central TE Tony Poljan; updated the profiles of Joshua Alabi, David MoormanBrian Cole, John Kelly, and Alex Malzone; and added commitments for Southfield's Ray Buford (Minnesota) and Avondale's Joshuwa Holloman (Cincinnati).

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Big Ten Blog: Preseason projections - East Division

Josh Moyer looks at the odds for each team in the East Division. The numbers suggest that Michigan will go 9-3 and have a 12.7% chance of winning the Big Ten.

Hit the jump for three ladies with enticing cleavage.

2014 Season Countdown: #36 Sione Houma

Sione Houma
Name: Sione Houma
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 240 lbs.
High school: Salt Lake City (UT) Highland
Position: Fullback
Class: Junior
Jersey number: #39
Last year: I ranked Houma #52 and said he would be the backup fullback and special teams player. He had 2 catches for 14 yards, 1 kickoff return for 19 yards, plus 8 tackles.

Houma was a part-time starter (two games) last season, as he was locked in a battle with Joe Kerridge. Both played decently well, but neither stood out. It's tough to be a standout fullback, though. Houma looked pretty quick on a 9-yard catch against Akron, returned a short kickoff 19 yards against Iowa, and caught a 5-yard pass against Kansas State. He has always looked like the best athlete of the fullbacks, but Kerridge has supposedly been the better blocker.

This is the year I'm expecting the tide to turn at the position. When Houma was a freshman in 2012, you could see the inexperience and tell that he wasn't really ready for college football. Things were moving too fast for him, and Kerridge was the best option. Last year Houma seemed to catch up mentally. This year the edge Houma has on Kerridge physically should help him win the job, relegating Kerridge to a backup role. Based mostly on my gut, I think new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier will prefer a more athletic fullback on the field (whenever the position itself is deemed necessary). Nussmeier likes to spread the field a little more than the departed Al Borges, and Houma has running skills that Kerridge lacks. I wouldn't expect either to touch the ball very much, but I think Houma is a guy you can play as an H-back type and hit in the flat occasionally with positive results.

Prediction: Starting fullback; 3 catches, 20 yards, 1 touchdown

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Big Ten Blog: Preseason position preview - DL

Brian Bennett previews the best defensive lines in the Big Ten for this season, and Michigan makes an appearance on his list.

Hit the jump for three good looking ladies.

2014 Season Countdown: #37 Ben Gedeon

Ben Gedeon (image via Toledo Blade)
Name: Ben Gedeon
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 236 lbs.
High school: Hudson (OH) Hudson
Position: Linebacker
Class: Sophomore
Jersey number: #42
Last year: I ranked Gedeon #68 and said he would be a backup linebacker and special teamer. He played in all thirteen games and made 19 tackles with 1 sack.

If there was any question about whether Gedeon would burn his redshirt or not, it was answered in the first game of the season when he made 4 tackles. From the beginning, he looked physically developed and prepared to play linebacker in the Big Ten. He proceeded to make 6 tackles (5 solo) against Ohio State and another 5 in the bowl game against Kansas State. He looked quick and sharp and aggressive despite being the third-string middle linebacker behind Desmond Morgan and Joe Bolden.

Unfortunately for Gedeon, his path to playing time is now blocked by Butkus Award candidate Jake Ryan. With Morgan and Bolden off to the WILL position in the new 4-3 Over, Ryan moves over from SAM and Gedeon is still on the outside looking in. Michigan's coaching staff likes to keep defensive guys fresh, though, so he should find plenty of snaps; additionally, Ryan is a guy who can play outside linebacker or defensive end in certain packages, so defensive coordinator Greg Mattison may be able to find ways to get them on the field at the same time. Either way, Gedeon looks the part of a future Michigan starter, and possibly even a star.

Prediction: Backup middle linebacker; 30 tackles, 1 sack

Friday, July 18, 2014

Welcome to the Weekend!

Start enjoying your weekend with some lovely ladies, including a gif of a girl opening a refrigerator door or something like that.

BTN: Ten new Big Ten starters poised for big seasons

Sean Merriman (not that Shawn Merriman) profiles ten new/fairly new faces on the Big Ten scene, and Michigan's representative on the list is probably not who you think.

Hit the jump for some good looking ladies, including an Arianny Celeste bikini gif.

2014 Season Countdown: #38 Taco Charlton

Taco Charlton and Mario Ojemudia
Name: Taco Charlton
Height: 6'6"
Weight: 275 lbs.
High school: Pickerington (OH) Central
Position: Defensive end
Class: Sophomore
Jersey number: #33
Last year: I ranked Charlton #46 and said he would be a backup weakside end. He played in ten games and made 2 tackles with .5 tackles for loss.

Charlton was a bit player last season when Michigan had pretty solid depth at weakside end. He found himself behind Frank Clark - a second team all-conference player - and an experienced backup in Mario Ojemudia. The big question mark about Charlton has always been his technical refinement, but his athleticism is enough to make up for some of his deficiencies. This spring he moved to strongside end, which is more fitting of a guy who's 6'6" and 275 lbs.

Unfortunately for Charlton, he's still behind senior Brennen Beyer, who moved from the weak side to the strong side late last year. Michigan's move to the 4-3 Over means the strongside end is more of an edge guy than an end/tackle hybrid, and that fits Michigan's defensive end personnel, which consists of a bunch of semi-proven weakside ends and a handful of (unproven) end/tackle hybrids. Consequently, the Wolverines' top four defensive ends are all current or former weakside guys. Charlton should get plenty of run as a second-stringer this year; he has a higher upside than Beyer, but the coaching staff is partial to seniors, so the younger man's superiority must be blatantly obvious before he can supplant Beyer.

Prediction: Backup strongside end; 20 tackles, 2 sacks

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Athlon Sports: Is it time to panic at Michigan?

Is it time to panic at Michigan? My answer is no, but it won't stop people from speculating about the future of Michigan football.

Hit the jump for three very attractive ladies.

2014 Doak Walker Award watch list

Chris Perry
The 2014 Doak Walker Award watch list was released on Thursday morning. The award is given to the nation's top running back. Chris Perry (2003) is the lone Wolverine to have won the award. There are a number of players of interest on the list:

Ameer Abdullah - RB - Nebraska
Bill Belton - RB - Penn State*
Marcus Cox - RB - Appalachian State
Josh Ferguson - RB - Illinois
Melvin Gordon - RB - Wisconsin*
Johnathan Gray - RB - Texas*
Bronson Hill - RB - Eastern Michigan#
Jeremy Langford - RB - Michigan State
Jonathan Williams - RB - Arkansas*
Zach Zwinak - RB - Penn State

*Offered by Michigan
#Eastern Michigan!

2014 Season Countdown: #39 Jehu Chesson

Jehu Chesson goes bowling (image via Gregg Henson)
Name: Jehu Chesson
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 195 lbs.
High school: St. Louis (MO) Ladue Horton Watkins
Position: Wide receiver
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #86
Last year: I ranked Chesson #35 and said he would be a backup wide receiver with 12 catches for 150 yards and 1 touchdown. He started two games and finished with 15 catches for 221 yards and 1 touchdown; 2 carries for 1 yard; 2 kickoff returns for 36 yards; and 9 tackles.

Chesson's 2013 season seemed to represent a steady uphill climb, in my opinion. Early in the season, he had trouble adjusting to the ball in the air, but he made his presence felt as a devastating blocker (see the above gif). As the season wore on, he improved his route running and ball skills, but by that point, quarterback Devin Gardner had two very effective favorite targets in wideouts Jeremy Gallon and Devin Funchess. He had a nice 33-yard catch-and-run against Akron where he bounced off a tackle attempt before sprinting down the left sideline, and he also had a standout 58-yard catch against Michigan State. On top of blocking and receiving, he made 9 tackles on special teams coverage. He appears to be a pretty well rounded football player going into his redshirt sophomore season.

Chesson does not appear to be a potential breakout star this fall, but he should be a quality third or fourth option for the Wolverines. Funchess returns and is a Biletnikoff Award candidate, but the other possibilities are unproven in redshirt sophomore Amara Darboh (sidelined last year with a broken foot) and freshman Freddy Canteen (a freshman, I say!), plus a whole host of redshirt freshmen (freshmen!) and true freshmen (when I was young, I knew everything). Darboh was a Gardner favorite until his injury, and Canteen was the darling of spring practice. I hesitate to call for Chesson to break out, because Gardner - for better or worse - seems to really trust his synergy with certain guys, and Chesson does not appear to be one of those guys. But slow and steady wins the race, so I expect to see the Missourian catching, blocking, and tackling like the solid football player he is.

Prediction: 18 catches, 220 yards, 2 touchdowns

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Big Ten Blog: Big Ten Media Day preview - Michigan

Brian Bennett previews the major lines of questioning that Michigan's players and coaches will face going into the season.

Hit the jump for three good lookin' ladies.

2014 Davey O'Brien Award watch list

Devin Gardner
The 2014 Davey O'Brien Award watch list was released this morning. The award is given to the top quarterback in the country. No Wolverine has ever won the award. There are a number of players on the list who are of interest to Michigan fans:

Connor Cook - QB - Michigan State
Devin Gardner - QB - Michigan
Everett Golson - QB - Notre Dame*
Christian Hackenberg - QB - Penn State
Brett Hundley - QB - UCLA*
Braxton Miller - QB - Ohio State*
Joel Stave - QB - Wisconsin
Jake Waters - QB - Kansas State
Jameis Winston - QB - Florida State

2014 Season Countdown: #40 Keith Heitzman

Keith Heitzman
Name: Keith Heitzman
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 271 lbs.
High school: Hilliard (OH) Davidson
Position: Tight end
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #92
Last year: I ranked Heitzman #26 and said he would start at SDE with 25 tackles and 2 sacks. He started seven games and made 8 tackles and .5 tackles for loss.

I overestimated Heitzman's contributions last year. I thought his defensive tackle-ness would make him a solid 5-tech starter, and his high-effort attitude would make him a poor man's Ryan Van Bergen. Unfortunately, Heitzman isn't quite as bulky or athletic as Van Bergen. He began the year as the starter, but by the end of the season, weakside end Brennen Beyer had taken over the gig.

Heitzman moved to tight end in the off-season, partly because Jake Butt tore his ACL and Jordan Paskorz left with a year of eligibility remaining. He lacks some natural athleticism, so it would be a mistake to expect him to turn into a receiving threat. However, I think he's more aggressive and stronger than the other tight ends, including A.J. Williams. Williams has more experience, but by the end of the year, I believe Heitzman will be the more effective blocker of the two. Even if he's not, the challenge to Williams may spur both their efforts in a competition for playing time.

Prediction: Starting "blocking tight end" by end of season; 1 catch for 8 yards

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

MLive: Michigan, Oklahoma agree to home-and-home in 2025 and 2026

That's right, Michigan and Oklahoma will be playing each other when the class of 2015 kids are retiring from pro football.

Hit the jump for some ladies with nice cleavage.

USA Today College Football Countdown: #56 Penn State

Paul Myerberg previews the Penn State Nittany Lions for 2014.

2014 Biletnikoff Award watch list

Devin Funchess
The 2014 Biletnikoff Award watch list was released this morning. The award is given to the nation's top wide receiver. The only Wolverine to have won the award was Braylon Edwards in 2004. There are a number of interesting names on the list for Michigan fans:

Nelson Agholor - WR - USC*
Kenny Bell - WR - Nebraska
Geremy Davis - WR - UConn
Stefon Diggs - WR - Maryland*
Devin Funchess - WR - Michigan
Rashad Greene - WR - Florida State*
Christian Jones - WR - Northwestern
Tyler Lockett - WR - Kansas State
Breshad Perriman - WR - Central Florida#
Devin Smith - WR - Ohio State*
Laquon Treadwell - WR - Ole Miss*
Shane Wynn - WR - Indiana*

*Offered by Michigan
#Random fact, but he's the son of former Detroit Lion Brett Perriman

2014 Rotary Lombardi Award watch list

Jake Ryan
The 2014 Rotary Lombardi Award watch list was released on Monday morning. The only Wolverine to have won the award was LaMarr Woodley in 2006. It is given to the most outstanding down lineman (on offense or defense) or linebacker. There are a number of interesting names for Michigan fans on the list:

Henry Anderson - DE - Stanford*
Chi Chi Ariguzo - LB - Northwestern
Michael Bennett - DT - Ohio State*
Austin Blythe - C - Iowa
Joey Bosa - DE - Ohio State*
Shilique Calhoun - DE - Michigan State
A.J. Cann - OG - South Carolina*
Carl Davis - DT - Iowa
Devonte Fields - DE - TCU*
B.J. Finney - C - Kansas State
Randy Gregory - DE - Nebraska
Rob Havenstein - OT - Wisconsin
Kaleb Johnson - OG - Rutgers
A.J. Johnson - LB - Tennessee*
Nick Martin - OT - Notre Dame
Josue Matias - OG - Florida State*
Ryan Mueller - DE - Kansas State
Andrus Peat - OT - Stanford*
Jake Ryan - LB - Michigan
Brandon Scherff - OT - Iowa
Jaylon Smith - LB - Notre Dame*
Max Tuerk - OG - USC*
Cody Whitehair - OG - Kansas State

*Offered by Michigan

2014 Season Countdown: #41 Maurice Hurst, Jr.

Maurice Hurst, Jr.
Name: Maurice Hurst, Jr.
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 277 lbs.
High school: Westwood (MA) Xaverian Brothers
Position: Defensive tackle
Class: Redshirt freshman
Jersey number: #73
Last year: I ranked Hurst #82 and said he would redshirt. He redshirted.

Putting Hurst at #41 is perhaps the gutsiest ranking of the whole countdown, since he's jumping up 41 spots from last year and has yet to play a down of college football. I often choose not to believe the practice hype, but Hurst has been earning some buzz since last season when coaches and players were talking about his quickness off the ball. He also played some running back in high school, and I think his burst offers something that other nose tackles (Ondre Pipkins, Bryan Mone, Ryan Glasgow, Brady Pallante) lack, perhaps with the exception of Willie Henry. I bumped Hurst up the list a little bit because of the uncertainty surrounding Pipkins, who is recovering from a torn ACL. Regardless, I like a nose tackle who can penetrate and cause some havoc, and I also think Hurst could play some 3-tech tackle. His listed weight (277 lbs.) might be a drawback if accurate, but he looked bigger than that in the spring. I look for Hurst to start to make a name for himself and perhaps work his way into the lineup on passing downs, where his lack of bulk won't be as much of a hindrance and his quickness can force quarterbacks out of their comfort zone.

Prediction: Backup nose tackle

Monday, July 14, 2014

MLive: Gardner spending weekend at Manning Passing Academy

Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner spent this past weekend at the Manning Passing Academy.

Hit the jump for a few good looking ladies and a gif.

2014 Butkus Award watch list

Jake Ryan
The 2014 Butkus Award watch list was revealed today. The award is given to the country's top linebacker each year. Handed out since 1985, the lone Wolverine to win the award was Erick Anderson in 1991. A number of notable players are on the list for Michigan fans' interests:

Trey DePriest - LB - Alabama*
Kris Frost - LB - Auburn*
Jarrett Grace - LB - Notre Dame
Curtis Grant - LB - Ohio State*
Jordan Hicks - LB - Texas*
Mike Hull - LB - Penn State
Jordan Jenkins - LB - Georgia*
A.J. Johnson - LB - Tennessee*
Taiwan Jones - LB - Michigan State
Mason Monheim - LB - Illinois
Jake Ryan - LB - Michigan
Jaylon Smith - LB - Notre Dame*

2014 Season Countdown: #42 Justice Hayes

Justice Hayes
Name: Justice Hayes
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 190 lbs.
High school: Grand Blanc (MI) Grand Blanc
Position: Running back
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #5
Last year: I ranked Hayes #55 and said he would have 15 carries for 60 yards as a backup. He had 2 carries for 6 yards, 6 catches for 40 yards, and 1 kick return for 8 yards.

Hayes had quite a roller coaster of a year last year. To begin the season, he was buried on the depth chart at running back. In the middle of the year, the coaches stated publicly that Hayes would move to wide receiver permanently. At the end of the year, he started the bowl game against Kansas State - at running back. Despite starting a game at running back, he finished the year with 2 carries. How many running backs in history have started a game but finished with fewer than 3 carries in the whole season?

Hayes's problem seems to be that he's not quick enough to be a scat back, and he's not big enough to power through tackles. And while Michigan hasn't exactly been rife with running back talent over the past couple years, they have had guys who were either quick or big, who were enticing enough to put on the field regularly. One big obstacle in his way was Fitzgerald Toussaint, who is now trying to make it in the NFL. Another medium-sized obstacle was Thomas Rawls, who will be pounding away behind Central Michigan's line this season. That leaves two boulder-sized barriers (and a potential third) in sophomores Derrick Green and DeVeon Smith (and Ty Isaac, who will probably be forced to redshirt after transferring from USC). Normally, I would probably put the third-string running back lower in the countdown, but Hayes is supposedly the best pass protector of the bunch and could carve out a role as a Vincent Smith-style blocker and designated screen guy. Redshirt freshman Ross Douglas is a small, quick guy and Dennis Norfleet could catch some screens, but both are inexperienced at playing running back in college. Hayes will probably once again have more receptions than carries.

Prediction: Backup running back, third down guy; 10 carries for 35 yards, 12 receptions for 100 yards and 1 touchdown

Sunday, July 13, 2014

2014 Season Countdown: #43 Dymonte Thomas

Dymonte Thomas
Name: Dymonte Thomas
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 191 lbs.
High school: Alliance (OH) Marlington
Position: Safety
Class: Sophomore
Jersey number: #25
Last year: I ranked Thomas #33 and said he would be Michigan's nickel corner. He made 7 tackles and blocked 1 punt.

Thomas was an Army All-American, enrolled early in January 2013, got lots of hype, and was pegged as the starting slot corner going into the fall. In the season opener again Central Michigan, he won the Brandon Herron Award, which is given out once every today to reward a guy who plays very well in a season opener only to fall off the face of the planet. Thomas made brief appearances for the rest of the season, but fellow freshman defensive backs Jourdan Lewis and Channing Stribling kept him off the field while Blake Countess would move into the slot in nickel situations.

Brady Hoke said this off-season that they would be moving Thomas to safety and letting him concentrate on one position, which indicates that things were moving a little too quickly for him last year. Indications are that he has been getting reps at free safety, which scares me in much the same way as it did with the now departed Josh Furman - anytime you move a guy back in the defense, bad things are likely to happen. Thomas, a high school linebacker, should be playing nickel corner or in the box as a safety. The starting free safety will be Jarrod Wilson, but the strong safety situation is unsettled - Delano Hill appears to be the front-runner with Jeremy Clark as another option. I place Thomas here because he could play either safety position, he could help out at nickel corner if there's a need, and he can also be a valuable asset on special teams with his speed, athleticism, and physicality. I believe his physical assets are unmatched by any defensive back on the team besides Jabrill Peppers, but it remains to be see how exactly he fits.

Prediction: Backup safety, special teams ace