Thursday, December 31, 2020

Goodbye, Cam McGrone


Cam McGrone (#44, image via 247 Sports)

McGrone attended Indianapolis (IN) Lawrence Central, where he was a 4-star, the #7 outside linebacker, and #118 overall. He was chosen for the Army All-American Bowl that year in 2018, despite having torn his ACL as a junior. I gave him a TTB Rating of 80, and here are a couple paragraphs from my writeup on him (LINK):

McGrone’s blitzing is perhaps the best phase of his game, but it’s the way that he plays the ball carrier in the backfield that is most impressive. Some guys are mauling blitzers who just eat up everything coming their way, but McGrone plays with a low center of gravity that allows him to redirect and make plays all over in the backfield. Lawrence Central brings him from various angles, and he plays fast and reckless. He uses his hands well to shed blockers, and even when he gets caught up in the trash, he fights non-stop to shed. When he arrives at the ball carrier, he’s a violent hitter who runs through people. Unless he has hit a growth spurt, he has a solid frame but probably shouldn’t get too much larger than 235 lbs. or so in college, which is still a decent size.

On the negative side, McGrone has that injury history that can sometimes come back to repeat itself. It’s always concerning to have a guy who already tore an ACL. His play recognition skills need to improve, since he occasionally finds himself a half-step out of position on basic run reads. That may be partially the reason why his coaches choose to blitz him so often, to negate some read-and-react deficiencies.

Hit the jump for more.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Anatomy of a Running Back Substitution, Part 3


Missouri football coaches meeting (image via Twitter)

Thanks to Ashley, Moser, Roy, and Stephen for the Paypal donations! If you would like to make a donation, please use the Paypal button the sidebar or here:

For previous posts in this series, click here (part 1) or here (part 2).

Having addressed the similarities between Tyrone Wheatley and Jay Harbaugh on distributing carries and then the reasons for rotating running backs, here's the final piece on how a coaching staff might handle the weekly rotation.

Hit the jump for more.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Anatomy of a Running Back Substitution, Part 2


Zach Charbonnet (image via Freep)

The other day I posted about Michigan's running back rotations (LINK). Today I will be addressing why running backs might get rotated.

Use the Amazon links here to support TTB (LINK):

There are a lot of reasons to rotate running backs from play to play. Ideally, you have a perfect, three-down running back who never gets hurt or makes mental mistakes . . . but those are rare.

Hit the jump for a discussion of eight reasons to sub in new running backs.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

2021 Recruiting Update: December 27, 2020


Ceyair Wright (image via Twitter)


Judge Culpepper - DT - Penn State: Culpepper is listed at 6'4" and 291 lbs. He was a 3-star coming out of Florida in the class of 2018. Culpepper is the son of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Brad Culpepper. He made 5 tackles and 0.5 sacks in 2020.

Hit the jump for more.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Connor Jones, Wolverine


Monument (CO) Palmer Ridge OT Connor Jones (image via Yahoo)

Monument (CO) Palmer Ridge offensive tackle Connor Jones committed to Michigan on Christmas Eve. He picked the Wolverines over offers from Colorado State, Indiana, Northwestern, Virginia, and West Virginia, among others.

Jones is listed at 6'7" and 285 lbs.

Rivals: 3-star OT, 5.5 grade
247 Sports: 3-star, 82 grade, #96 OT

Hit the jump for more on Jones's commitment.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Anatomy of a Running Back Substitution, Part 1


Jay Harbaugh (image via Twitter)

I've seen a lot of criticism over the years - but especially in 2020 - about Michigan's running back rotation. There has been a lot of blame put on running backs coach Jay Harbaugh for using too many backs, not giving Hassan Haskins enough carries, not giving Zach Charbonnet enough carries, not giving Blake Corum enough carries, not giving Chris Evans enough carries, etc.

First, a brief history of the running back rotation under Jim Harbaugh for the top four running backs:

Hit the jump for the rest of the post.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Goodbye, Don Brown


Don Brown (image via Freep)

Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown has been dismissed by the program.

Michigan's defensive finishes during Brown's tenure:

  • 2016: #1 (tied with Alabama) in total defense, #2 in yards/play, #2 in scoring
  • 2017: #3 in total defense, #6 in yards/play, #13 in scoring
  • 2018: #2 in total defense, #8 in yards/play, #16 (tied with Utah) in scoring
  • 2019: #11 in total defense, #10 in yards/play, #25 in scoring
  • 2020: #84 in total defense, #56 (tied with Troy) in yards/play, #96 in scoring

Hit the jump for more.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Davonte Miles, Wolverine


River Rouge (MI) River Rouge DT Davonte Miles (image via 247 Sports)

River Rouge (MI) River Rouge defensive tackle Davonte Miles committed to Michigan on Friday. He picked the Wolverines over offers from Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan State, and Pitt, among others.

Miles is listed at 6'5" and 275 lbs.

Rivals: 3-star SDE, 5.5 grade,
247 Sports: 3-star, 86 grade, #45 DT

Hit the jump for more.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Addressing Michigan's Coaching Situation


Sherrone Moore (image via 247 Sports)

Following a 2-4 season and five straight losses to Ohio State - plus an embarrassing loss to Michigan State in 2020 - questions about Jim Harbaugh's status as head coach have been non-stop. I have a hard time calling for coaches' jobs, because as a (lower level) coach myself, I know some of the struggles with coaching.

Of course, college coaches have a different situation than high school coaches, because they have more power and more control over which coaches and players enter their program. But there are similarities in that your team's success is subject to injuries, off-the-field behavior of young people, administrative limits, etc.

So here I would like to address which coaches I would prioritize bringing back, from highest priority to lowest:

Sherrone Moore (Tight Ends): Moore is Michigan's top recruiter, especially in-state. According to 247 Sports, he's the #6 recruiter in the country and #2 in the Big Ten (behind Ohio State's Brian Hartline). I have not been extremely impressed with the performance of Michigan's tight ends over the past couple seasons, but I think that's more of an issue with the structure of the offense than the individual players. Regardless, tight end is a position where you can hide a mediocre X's and O's/technique coach if the guy coaching them can recruit his butt off. And Moore can. He's listed as the primary recruiter for QB J.J. McCarthy, OT Giovanni El-Hadi, C Raheem Anderson II, TE Louis Hansen, LB Tyler McLaurin, and WR Andrel Anthony, and he's the secondary recruiter for RB Donovan Edwards.

Hit the jump for more.

2021 Recruiting: Early Signing Day Grades, Defense


Junior Colson (image via Freep)

Check out last night's post for the offensive side of the ball (LINK).

Need: 2
Signed: 1
Michigan only signed one player at a position of need. That player is Dominick Giudice (3-star, #102 WDE, #2007 overall). No offense to the young man, but he was so far off 247's radar that they left him ranked as a weakside end despite the fact that he's already 6'4" and 260 lbs. Michigan should be able to land higher-profile recruits at the position. There were several defensive tackles that Michigan just seemed to stop recruiting (Victory Vaka, Anthony Hundley, Tywone Malone, etc.). Of course, insiders will often say that some players aren't a fit for the Wolverines, but you know what else doesn't suit the culture in Ann Arbor? Losing. Michigan still has a shot to sign Rayshaun Benny (verbally committed to MSU but not signed) or George Rooks (reportedly leaning toward PSU), but the staff may need to look to the transfer portal to shore up the interior.

Hit the jump for more.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

2021 Recruiting: Early Signing Period Grades, Offense


J.J. McCarthy (image via ClickOnDetroit)

Keep in mind with the grades below that this is just based on the early signing period. Players can still sign in February (or beyond), transfer in, etc. So the ink isn't dry on the class just yet.

Needed: 1
Signed: 1
Michigan landed an elite player, J.J. McCarthy (5-star, #2 pro-style QB, #22 overall). Not only is he elite on the field, but I think his attitude helped keep the class together when things got a little bit rocky. Naturally, the hope for Michigan fans is that he maintains that kind of leadership throughout his career in Ann Arbor. He's also the first quarterback recruited out of high school by Jim Harbaugh who actually fits the mold of an RPO signal-caller.

Hit the jump for more.

Donovan Edwards, Wolverine


West Bloomfield (MI) West Bloomfield RB Donovan Edwards (image via Freep)

West Bloomfield (MI) West Bloomfield running back Donovan Edwards committed to Michigan on Wednesday afternoon. He picked the Wolverines over offers from Georgia, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma, among others.

Edwards is listed at 5'11" and 190 lbs. As a junior in 2019, he ran for 1,326 yards and 16 touchdowns, while also catching 33 passes for 419 yards and 5 touchdowns.

ESPN: 4-star, 86 grade, #4 RB, #66 overall
Rivals: 4-star, 5.9 grade, #3 RB, #74 overall
247 Sports: 4-star, 95 grade, #2 RB, #29 overall

Hit the jump for more on Edwards's commitment.

2021 Recruiting: National Signing Day Tracker


This is where I will be posting who has signed his National Letter of Intent, who has committed elsewhere, etc.


  • West Bloomfield (MI) West Bloomfield RB Donovan Edwards signed with Michigan
  • Lehigh Acres (FL) Lehigh CB Omarion Cooper, who had been considering Michigan, officially signed with Florida State
  • Jacksonville (FL) Sandalwood LB/DE Branden Jennings flipped from Michigan to Maryland
  • Scottsdale (AZ) Saguaro DE Quintin Somerville flipped from Michigan to UCLA


  • Ft. Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas CB Ja'Den McBurrows
  • Ft. Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas LB Jaydon Hood
  • Fresno (CA) Central East WR Xavier Worthy (LINK)
  • West Bloomfield (MI) West Bloomfield RB Donovan Edwards (LINK)
  • Del Valle (TX) Del Valle RB Tavierre Dunlap (LINK)
  • Suffield (CT) Suffield Academy DE Kechaun Bennett (LINK)
  • Santa Ana (CA) Mater Dei WR Cristian Dixon (LINK)
  • East Lansing (MI) East Lansing WR Andrel Anthony
  • Brentwood (TN) Ravenwood LB Junior Colson (LINK)
  • Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary's P Tommy Doman (LINK)
  • Clayton (OH) Northmont S Rod Moore (LINK)
  • Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy QB J.J. McCarthy (LINK)
  • Mansfield (MA) Mansfield DE T.J. Guy (LINK)
  • Louisiana Tech OT Willie Allen (grad transfer) (LINK)
  • Detroit (MI) Cass Tech C Raheem Anderson II (LINK)
  • Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy C Greg Crippen (LINK)
  • Sterling Heights (MI) Stevenson OT Giovanni El-Hadi (LINK)
  • Wallingford (CT) Choate Rosemary Hall OT Tristan Bounds (LINK)
  • Needham (MA) St. Sebastian's TE Louis Hansen (LINK)
  • Freehold (NJ) Mater Dei DE/DT Dominick Giudice (LINK)


  • Indiana LB Yanni Karlaftis committed to Purdue
  • Louisiana DT Ma'ason Smith committed to LSU
  • Florida WR Xavian Sorey committed to Georgia
  • Florida CB Markevious Brown committed to Ole Miss
  • Florida DT Anthony Hundley committed to UCF
  • Arizona DE Quintin Somerville flipped from Michigan to UCLA
  • Florida LB/DE Branden Jennings flipped from Michigan to Maryland

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

2021 Recruiting: Early Signing Day Primer


West Bloomfield (MI) West Bloomfield RB Donovan Edwards (image via Freep)

Remember to support TTB by making your Amazon purchases through the links here (LINK):


Michigan has 21 commits in the class of 2021, and the following players are expected to sign with Michigan during the early signing period, which starts tomorrow (December 16):

  • QB J.J. McCarthy
  • RB Tavierre Dunlap (early enrollee)
  • WR Andrel Anthony
  • WR Cristian Dixon (early enrollee)
  • TE Louis Hansen
  • OL Raheem Anderson II
  • OL Tristan Bounds
  • OL Greg Crippen
  • OL Giovanni El-Hadi
  • DE Kechaun Bennett
  • DE Dominick Giudice
  • DE T.J. Guy
  • DE Quintin Somerville
  • LB Junior Colson (early enrollee)
  • LB Tyler McLaurin
  • S Rod Moore
  • P Tommy Doman

Hit the jump for more.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Ex-Wolverine Updates: Week 14


Miami cornerback Te'Cory Couch (#23 in black, image via The Daily News)

Head on over to to discuss this post if you want, since the comments here aren't working.


WR Tarik Black (Texas): Texas's regular season is over. Black had 10 catches for 240 yards and 1 touchdown.

WR Kekoa Crawford (Cal): Cal (1-3) had a bye.

DT Michael Dwumfour (Rutgers): Dwumfour made 1 pass breakup in a 27-24 win over Maryland.

Hit the jump for more.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Zach Carpenter, Ex-Wolverine


Zach Carpenter (#58, image via Twitter)

Redshirt freshman center Zach Carpenter announced on Twitter that he is entering the transfer portal.

Carpenter redshirted in 2019 and was expected by some (including me) to be the starter in 2020, but an injury led to him being a backup to Andrew Vastardis for the first several games of the year. After Vastardis got hurt, Carpenter started the final two games of the regular season against Rutgers and Penn State. I thought he performed fairly well and was more stout and athletic than Vastardis, though he did miss some stunts in pass protection that looked like standard mistakes for a young center.

Michigan is in a bit of a precarious position going into 2021. Vastardis is a fifth year senior who could presumably return in 2021, since the 2020 season is essentially null and void. Otherwise, Michigan might be reliant on Nolan Rumler (who has mostly practiced at guard), freshman Reece Atteberry, and class of 2021 commits Raheem Anderson II and Greg Crippen.

This is one of the stranger transfers over the years, right up there with tight end Devin Asiasi. Carpenter waited until the end of his second year, while Asiasi only spent one year in Ann Arbor, but both played quite a bit and were on the verge of starting the next season.

Then poof, they were gone.

Carpenter is the second class of 2019 signee to depart, joining linebacker Charles Thomas. Here's a link to the scholarship count (LINK).

Monday, December 7, 2020

Way Too Early 2021 Depth Chart: December 2020


Aidan Hutchinson: Will he stay or will he go?

The following depth chart assumes that the following seniors depart from Ann Arbor after 2020 and that Jalen Mayfield continues on to the NFL:

  • WR Nico Collins
  • TE Nick Eubanks
  • RB Chris Evans
  • S Brad Hawkins
  • DT Carlo Kemp
  • FB Ben Mason
  • K Quinn Nordin
  • DE Kwity Paye
  • C Andrew Vastardis

It also assumes that every currently rostered player and every currently committed prospect will be here in 2021, which is obviously not true.

Hit the jump for the depth chart.

2022 Recruiting Update: December 7, 2020


Charlie Mirer (image via Twitter)


Jordan Crook - LB - Duncanville (TX) Duncanville: Crook is a 6'0", 220 lb. prospect with offers from Arizona, Oklahoma State, USC, and Washington, among others. He's a 3-star, the #12 inside linebacker, and #377 overall. Duncanville is a large, powerhouse Texas program that had the guts to schedule IMG Academy earlier this season (though they lost to J.J. McCarthy and his squad, 41-14).

Kiyaunta Goodwin - OT - Charlestown (IN) Charlestown: Goodwin is a 6'7", 300-pounder with offers from Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, and Ohio State, among others. He's a 4-star, the #24 offensive tackle, and #195 overall. He's a mammoth human being, and his junior film even identifies him as being 6'8" and 315 pounds.

Hit the jump for more.

Michigan's 10 Longest Plays vs. Maryland


Giles Jackson (image via Toledo Blade)

Michigan is 8-1 against the Terrapins after they started playing each other in 1985. The Terps eventually joined the Big Ten in 2014, winning that first game against the Brady Hoke-led Wolverines before losing five in a row.

  1. Giles Jackson 97-yard kickoff return TD (2019)
  2. David Long 80-yard interception return (2017)
  3. Jehu Chesson 66-yard TD run (2015)
  4. Tony Boles 64-yard TD run (1989)
  5. Wilton Speight 56-yard pass to Chris Evans (2016)
  6. Ty Isaac 53-yard TD run (2016)
  7. Joe Kerridge 52-yard run (2014)
  8. Shea Patterson 51-yard pass to Nico Collins (2018)
  9. Shea Patterson 51-yard pass to Nico Collins (2019)
  10. Elvis Grbac 49-yard pass to (1989)

Hit the jump for some video of the top three.

2021 Recruiting Update: December 4, 2020


Miami (FL) Palmetto DT Savion Collins (image via Canes Insight)

With no Maryland game preview necessary for this week, here's a bit of an update on recruiting:


Cameron Bergeron - CB - Albany (GA) Westover: Bergeron is a 5'11", 180 lb. prospect who is committed to Duke. He's a 3-star, the #58 cornerback, and #697 overall. It does not appear that Michigan is going to push for Bergeron to flip, but since Bergeron is not an early enrollee, he could potentially be a target to heat up before the late signing period if he holds off on signing in December.

Hit the jump for more.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

How cursed is Michigan's roster in 2020?


Joe Milton (image via Wolverines Wire)

Thanks to David, Stephen, Ashley, Moser, Keith, and Patrick for their recent Paypal donations! If you, too, would like to donate, please hit the Paypal button on the sidebar at any time.

This may be beating a dead horse if you read this blog regularly, but I wanted to put a spotlight on the wild situation at hand regarding Michigan's roster and starting lineup.

Hit the jump for more.

Michigan vs. Penn State Awards


Hassan Haskins

Let's see more of this guy on offense . . . Hassan Haskins. Haskins averaged 5.9 yards per carry on 17 attempts (stat line: 17 rushes, 106 yards, 2 TD). The quarterbacks combined to average 4.0 yards per passing attempt. Of course, you're probably not going to be able to break off big runs if you're handing off the ball 60 times and throwing it 20 times, but Haskins was not used enough. He's the most consistent runner behind a mediocre (or bad) offensive line.

Hit the jump for more.

Ex-Wolverine Updates: Week 12


Tim Baldwin (image via The Herald Bulletin)


WR Tarik Black (Texas): Black had 1 catch for 31 yards . . . and promptly fumbled in a 23-20 loss to Iowa State.

WR Kekoa Crawford (Cal): Crawford had 5 catches for 52 yards and 1 touchdown in a 24-23 loss to Stanford.

DT Michael Dwumfour (Rutgers): Dwumfour made 2 tackles in a 37-30 win over Purdue.

Hit the jump for more.