Sunday, June 28, 2015

2015 Season Countdown: #63 Wyatt Shallman

Wyatt Shallman
Name: Wyatt Shallman
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 244 lbs.
High school: Novi (MI) Catholic Central
Position: Running back
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #33
Last year: I ranked Shallman #66 and said he would be a backup H-back. He had 1 carry for 5 yards while playing in nine games.

Shallman has bounced around a little bit so far in his career, playing some running back, fullback, and H-back. He came out of high school as somewhat of an athlete, and that's still the category he inhabits. Even the coaches seem a little bit confused, as both Hoke's staff and Harbaugh's staff have bounced him around. The majority of his playing time in 2014 came on special teams.

In this year's spring game, Shallman was used quite a bit as a tailback. Despite pretty good overall numbers at the position, injuries and such left Michigan short-handed, so Shallman and cornerback Ross Taylor-Douglas each got several snaps. Harbaugh has experience using jumbo-sized running backs in college, such as Toby Gerhart at Stanford. The Wolverines seem to have a stable of big running backs: De'veon Smith, Derrick Green, Ty Isaac, and Shallman are all between 228 and 244 lbs. Since Shallman is the least athletic of the bunch, I do not expect him to get a lot of carries. But if he can prove to be difficult to bring down, then he could be the staff's go-to guy in short yardage situations and near the goal line.

Prediction: Backup running back


  1. Anybody else see "tweener" when they look at Shallman? He reminds me of Ross Taylor-Douglas in that way.

  2. The imminent move away from RB doesn't look so imminent anymore. The position is wide open for this new coaching staff, especially the 3rd down role. Meanwhile, we have two senior fullbacks plus an interesting specialist in Pallante, and potential recruits on the way. TE is also filling up with options pretty quickly assuming Wheatley sticks there, Bunting isn't a WR, etc. Butt, Williams and Hill have all played a lot and/or looked like good players.

    So what will they do with Shallman? - I think our best guess has to be RB at this point, though that could change next year. Shallman's a very good athlete reportedly and should be a key special teams contributor. On offense -- guess we'll just wait and see how things shake out at RB.

    I'm guessing Shallman sticks at RB this year and then next year shifts to the H-back role he always seemed destined for. That said, if Ty Isaac sticks around, he might get beat to the bunch of position-switching jumbo RBs and be left a man without a position. We'll see. Shallman's a kid that I'm glad we got to redshirt.

  3. I would like to see if he can catch the ball out of the backfield somewhat.

  4. Not a good sign when a guy is only moving from 66 to 63 between their second and third year in the program. That screams perennial marginal player, rather than a guy about to break out and become a serious contributor.

    1. There are two seniors ahead of a him at FB (the position everyone has been pegging him for since he committed) and FB is a position where you'd rather have upperclassmen. You could easily argue he's right on track to fulfill his destiny.

      But if you him as a pure RB - yeah.

    2. Who on the team has ever said he was going to be a fullback?

    3. ?? Neither Kerridge nor Houma are talented enough to keep a good player off the field. Shallman is going into his 3rd year - that is plenty experienced for a guy like Harbaugh who favors talent and effort over all other factors. If Shallman is not ready to make an impact at FB this year, that does not bode well for his future there.

    4. I'm not sure how much 'talent' has to do with it. FB is a position that is about blocking (i.e., guys who are willing to shrink). Effort, technique, and consistency/experience are more important.

      Kerridge and Houma are good blockers. Shallman offers the potential to be a bigger offensive threat, but as a pure blocker it's no surprise that a walk-on and upperclassmen would slot in ahead of a guy still working at RB.

      FB is wide open next year and Shallman could have 2 years there as a starter if that's something he wants to go after. (Not saying that's going to happen, just pointing out it's still on the table.) BJ Askew and others have evolved from RB to FB so this is very far from being unprecedented. I would actually say MOST of our memorable FBs were guys who started off as RBs.

  5. This is what's great about the countdown—and what's so odd about this year's team.

    Shallman could wind up anywhere from the 5th to the 85th-most important person on this year's team, and it wouldn't be shocking. It isn't just that we have a new staff; it's that so few players have proven anything. Even guys whom people are assuming are quality players haven't done all that much. Drake Johnson has had 2.5 good games his whole career. Amara Darboh has topped 50 yards receiving three times—two of those against Miami (Ohio) and IU.

    To put it another way: Who on this team would you bet money on to play a big role (health aside)? Peppers; Lewis; Rudock, M. Cole and Wilson by default. I could see any other presumed starter becoming marginalized. Fascinated to see how it all works out.

    1. It would absolutely be a complete shock if Shallman is anywhere near the 5th most important player.

      There's definitely some proven players on this team - Rudock, Butt, Glasgow, Glasgow, Henry, Morgan, Bolden, Lewis, Wilson. It obviously lacks superstars, but there are also very few obvious weaknesses across the lineup. The biggest questions are DE (where a senior - Ojemudia - projects to start) and Safety (where highly regarded Peppers and Hill are fighting for snaps). Unlike the last 3 years there's not really a position to fret about. It's more about who will break out. I will take that over last years team - where we had "stars" in Gardner, Funchess, Ryan and Clark but glaring issues and uncertainty at several positions - most notably along the OL where a true freshman had to start.

      We have a good coaching staff, we have a lot of veteran talent, we have no major deficiencies. I think people are over-emphasizing the lack of proven stars and under-emphasizing how solid and consistent this football team can be with a good coaching staff.

      We saw what a few key upgrades in personnel and health paired with better coaching could do to the defense in 2010 vs 2011. Our offense won't have THAT dramatic of a shift in 2015, but we can expect dramatic improvement. Pair that with a potentially top 20 defense and this a team that can finish in the top 20 by the end of the year, if they can make it through the tougher early part of the season alive.

      Also don't forget that we'll have an element of surprise in our favor. No one can be sure what this coaching staff will run.