Thursday, July 17, 2014

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


  1. For his first year seeing the field, Chesson had a pretty productive season. If he works hard to improve, no reason he can't grab 20-30 passes as a third or fourth option. And a strong downfield blocker is invaluable to a running game (assuming our Oline can get people downfield, of course).

    1. And Gardner improves in terms of seeing the field and his receivers, rather than locking on to one or two. But that's probably a function of the Oline and the time he has.

      I don't think Gardner needs a ton of time. He needs a *little* more time than he had. Get him that extra bit of time and I think we'll see some really good stuff.

  2. Kid seems like a perfect role player. He is fast and physical, good on special teams, and I'm guessing the coaches like him. 3rd or 4th WR is a good spot for Chesson and that will give him the opportunities to make plays like he did in the ND game. It's nice that he has the speed too, because defenses won't key on him. So he may be able to quietly spring free down the field, now and then.

  3. He's a RS sophomore, not RS freshman.

  4. Why does it seem like we have half our roster filled with WR's and DB's yet are so weak in the trenches??
    Not impressed with Hoke!

  5. No real qualms with the ranking, but I'd put him ahead of Darboh. That's a guess though - they seem extremely similar and therefore could replace each other ..."Darboh was a Gardner favorite until his injury" You mean in offseason workouts? Stats or it didn't happen!

    I liked what I saw from Chesson. Hoping that translates to being a very quality player.
    My initial impression from their recruiting profiles was that Chesson had more upside but Darboh was more ready to play. The injury seems to have closed the gap. but I say that with a low level of confidence. For now, I can't tell the difference between Darboh, Chesson, and Jerald Robinson... I'd bet at least one of them turns into a quality player and it ain't going to be Robinson.