Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Visitors: March 29-31, 2024


Santa Ana (CA) Mater Dei RB Jordon Davison (image via John Bowers)


Spencer Beckeman - OT - Rochester (MI) Stoney Creek: Beckeman is a 6'6", 280 lb. prospect with offers from a handful of MAC and Ivy League teams.

Michael Carroll - OT - Doylestown (PA) Central Bucks East: Carroll is a 6'5", 290-pounder with offers from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Penn State, Texas, and USC, among others. He's a 4-star, the #15 offensive tackle, and #243 overall.

Jordon Davison - RB - Santa Ana (CA) Mater Dei: Davison is a 5'11", 203 lb. prospect with offers from Alabama, Ohio State, Texas, USC, and lots of others. He's a 4-star, the #7 running back, and #83 overall. New running backs coach Tony Alford was recruiting him to Ohio State and now is trying to pull him in for the Wolverines.

Hit the jump for more.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Karmello English, Ex-Wolverine


Karmello English

Rising sophomore wide receiver Karmello English is no longer a part of Michigan's football program and is headed to the transfer portal. English played in six games last season. He caught 1 pass for a 4-yard touchdown and returned 1 punt for 8 yards.

English was a 4-star, the #26 wide receiver, and #189 overall in the class of 2023. I gave him a TTB Rating of 82 (LINK).

English was the highest rated of Michigan's three wide receivers in 2023 (four if you include QB-turned-WR Kendrick Bell), but he was very clearly the lowest on the depth chart (except for Bell). Fellow freshman Semaj Morgan became a key component of the offense down the stretch, and classmate Frederick Moore played quite a bit as well. Meanwhile, English played in just six games, none of them after October. Perhaps the depth chart was an issue, and perhaps English just wants to play closer to home.

Michigan lost two receivers to the NFL this off-season (Roman Wilson and Cornelius Johnson) and isn't bringing in any game-ready prospects in 2024, so I assume the Wolverines will be in the market for a receiver or two via the transfer portal. Channing Goodwin and I'Marion Stewart are both solid prospects, but neither one is expected to be an immediate star. While Tyler Morris and Morgan have both shown promise, the receiving corps is made up of mostly small wideouts who are short and intermediate targets, but the downfield speed and size are somewhat lacking with this roster.

English is the second member of the 2023 class to depart, following cornerback Cam Calhoun, who transferred to Utah.

2025 Recruiting Update: March 24, 2024


Quitman (MS) Quitman RB Akylin Dear (image via 247 Sports)


Vero Beach (FL) Vero Beach linebacker Tarvos "T.J." Alford (4-star, #8 LB, #63 overall) was offered by Michigan. Florida State, Miami, and Ohio State are all in line to get official visits, and his lone crystal ball pick is in favor of the home state Florida Gators. But Brian Jean-Mary extended an offer for Michigan shortly after being hired, and with the new rule that players can take as many officials as they want, there's still plenty of room for Michigan to make a move. Alford is planning to announce his decision on March 30, but all three of his scheduled officials are for after that date.

Quitman (MS) Quitman running back Akylin Dear (4-star, #2 RB, #32 overall) was offered by brand new running backs coach Tony Alford, who had been recruiting Dear to Ohio State. He's a 6'1", 200 lb. back with offers from virtually every big-time program across the country, including Alabama, Georgia, Oregon, and Texas. He also holds offers from the two in-state schools in Mississippi State and Ole Miss.

Loxahatchee (FL) Seminole Ridge linebacker Ty Jackson (4-star, #15 LB, #105 overall) was offered by Michigan. Another Jean-Mary attempt, Jackson also has offers from Florida State, Georgia, Penn State, and Tennessee, among others; FSU, PSU, and UT are all supposed to get officials. Jackson has totaled 378 tackles in his three-year varsity career, along with 15 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, and 4 interceptions.

Hit the jump for more.

Saturday, March 23, 2024

2024 Spring Football Preview: Linebacker


Jaishawn Barham

2023 Starters: MLB Junior Colson, WLB Michael Barrett
Losses: Colson (NFL), Barrett (NFL)
Returning players: Jaydon Hood (RS Jr.), Ernest Hausmann (Jr.), Micah Pollard (Jr.), Jimmy Rolder (RS So.), Semaj Bridgeman (RS Fr.), Jason Hewlett (RS Fr.), Hayden Moore (RS Fr.)
Newcomers: Jaishawn Barham (Jr.), Jeremiah Beasley (Fr.), Cole Sullivan (Fr.)
Projected starters: MLB Barham, WLB Hausmann

With the prevalence of the nickel position, linebacker has been somewhat de-emphasized in recent years. A position group that used to play three guys is now primarily whittled down to two. Michigan had a very good two in 2023 in Junior Colson and Michael Barrett, but both are off to the NFL. Both have had very different paths, with Colson playing three years - two as a starter - and Barrett bouncing around between running back, slot receiver, Viper, and weakside linebacker.

Michigan will have two new starting faces at linebacker in 2024, and both of them are transfers who previously wore red. Barham is a two-year starter at Maryland whom the Wolverines poached this off-season. Hausmann started as a freshman at Nebraska in 2022 before joining the Wolverines in 2023, rotating heavily with Colson and Barrett as basically a third starter. So while both will be new starters at Michigan, they have three combined years of starting and another year of heavily involvement out of four college seasons. That's a ton of experience for two "new" starters and should help Michigan's defense succeed in 2024.

The backup situation is a little murkier, especially with a new defensive coordinator (Wink Martindale) and a new linebackers coach (Brian Jean-Mary). Jimmy Rolder got a lot of experience in 2022 before playing sparingly in 2023 in the hopes of preserving his redshirt, which was a successful endeavor. Rolder seems like the most likely guy to emerge as a rotational guy or primary backup in 2024. Meanwhile, Jaydon Hood is a fourth-year player who was recruited by Jean-Mary to Michigan out of high school; some suspected Hood would have left by now with no clear path to playing time, but he's still wearing a winged helmet.

Junior Micah Pollard has played a ton of special teams and some in a backup role, but the rest of the guys are total unknowns on the college level. Semaj Bridgeman, Jason Hewlett, and Hayden Moore all redshirted in 2023, and Michigan gets two early enrollees involved this spring with in-state product Jeremiah Beasley and Pennsylvanian Cole Sullivan. There are way too many players (10) in the linebacker room to support just two starting spots, so this is a position group that will certainly be thinned out by transfers within the next couple years. But for now, it will be interesting to see who could eventually step in, because both Barham and Hausmann could conceivably jump to the NFL with solid seasons in 2024.

Friday, March 22, 2024

Visitors: March 22-24, 2024


Indianapolis (IN) Warren Central DE Damien Shanklin (image via Hudl)

If you feel like supporting TTB, please use the Amazon links here (LINK):


Andrew Babalola - OT - Overland Park (KS) Blue Valley Northwest: Babalola is a 6'6", 280 lb. prospect with offers from Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, and Oregon, among others. He's a 5-star, the #5 offensive tackle, and #26 overall. The only official visit he has scheduled so far has been to Oklahoma.

JaDon Blair - S - Winston Salem (NC) Mount Tabor: Blair is a 6'4", 190-pounder with offers from Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State, South Carolina, and Virginia Tech, all of whom have scheduled official visits coming. Michigan's official is set for June 14. Blair is a 4-star, the #13 safety, and #143 overall.

Jamauri Brice - WR - Cartersville (GA) Cartersville: Brice is a 5'9", 180 lb. prospect with offers from Georgia, Michigan, and Oregon, among others. He's a 3-star, the #49 athlete, and #616 overall.

Hit the jump for more.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Way Too Early 2024 Depth Chart: March 2024


Colston Loveland (image via MLive)

The following depth chart has removed these listed players from the depth chart:

  • RB C.J. Stokes (transfer to Charlotte)
  • WR Darrius Clemons (transfer to Oregon State)
  • WR Eamonn Dennis (transfer)
  • TE Matt Hibner (transfer)
  • DL Reece Atteberry (transfer)
  • LB Joey Velazquez (transfer to Ohio State)
  • CB Cam Calhoun (transfer to Utah)
  • CB Amorion Walker (transfer to Ole Miss)
  • S Keon Sabb (transfer to Alabama)

Also, I re-added QB Jack Tuttle and S Quinten Johnson, both of whom have come back to the program; Tuttle got a seventh year of eligibility, and Johnson pulled out of the NFL Draft.

It also assumes that every currently rostered player and every currently committed prospect will be here in the fall of 2024, which is obviously not true.

Hit the jump for the depth chart.

Monday, March 18, 2024

2024 Spring Football Preview: Defensive Line


Kenneth Grant (#78, image via Yahoo!)

2023 Starters: OLB Jaylen Harrell, DT Mason Graham, DT Kris Jenkins, DE Braiden McGregor
Losses: Reece Atteberry (transfer), Cam Goode (NFL), Harrell (NFL), McGregor (NFL)
Returning players: Josaiah Stewart (Sr.), Kechaun Bennett (RS Jr.), Rayshaun Benny (RS Jr.), T.J. Guy (RS Jr.), Ike Iwunnah (RS Jr.), Tyler McLaurin (RS Jr.), Graham (Jr.), Grant (Jr.), Derrick Moore (Jr.), Alessandro Lorenzetti (RS So.), Breeon Ishmail (So.), Cameron Brandt (So.), Roderick Pierce (So.), Brooks Bahr (RS Fr.), Enow Etta (RS Fr.), Aymeric Koumba (RS Fr.)
Newcomer: DE Dominic Nichols (Fr.)
Projected starters: OLB Stewart, DT Graham, DT Grant, DE Moore

Michigan had an excellent defensive line in 2023, and it might have been the best position group on the national championship squad. The biggest differential in the national championship game against Washington was Michigan's defensive line against the offensive line of the Huskies. Washington had a couple potential high draft picks in that group, and the Wolverines tossed them around like rag dolls.

Whereas Michigan had dynamic edge rushers in 2021 with David Ojabo and Aidan Hutchinson, the interior of the defensive line has been the strength the past two years. That should be the case once again in 2024, though I'm expecting a little more pass rush from the edge guys this season. Mason Graham and Kenneth Grant are entrenched as the starters at defensive tackle, and they should be the #1 defensive tackle combo in the nation. Grant is 6'3" and 340 pounds but is fast enough to chase down Penn State running backs from behind. Graham is 6'4", 310 and plays with both explosion and technique.

Michigan needs someone to emerge from the backup ranks, as starter Kris Jenkins, Jr. and frequently used backup Cam Goode have both moved on. Rayshaun Benny broke his foot late in the season, too, and will probably not be full strength until the fall. This spring look for Roderick Pierce to get some heavy rotation after playing a decent amount as the fourth nose tackle a year ago. Ike Iwunnah is a fourth-year player who has yet to see the field, so it's tough to see him breaking out at this point, and Alessandro Lorenzetti is another player with decent size (6'5", 301) who has yet to see the field. Michigan will either have to play one of those inexperienced older guys or give a shot to some young guys who really needed to bulk up from "strongside defensive end" vibes to playing tackle, such as Cameron Brandt or Brooks Bahr.

On the edges, Josaiah Stewart - who spent his first two seasons at Coastal Carolina - and Derrick Moore seem like very good bets to start. Stewart should step in capably for Harrell, and Moore should slide in smoothly for McGregor. They both rotated heavily last year and received a ton of playing time, and Stewart in particular showed a lot of growth throughout the year as he adjusted to playing in the Big Ten.

Once again, the big questions come from the backup ranks. Who will step up to rotate into the game frequently? And will anyone turn into an elite pass rusher? T.J. Guy is a fourth-year player with a good bit of experience, and he could be a solid backup option. He's probably not a game-changer at this point, so the guys fans really want to see are the likes of Breeon Ishmail and Enow Etta. Both had excellent potential coming out of high school, and Etta was a highly valued recruit who was absolutely dominant in high school (20+ sacks in each of his final two seasons) but played against inferior competition.

Aymeric Koumba is a second-year Frenchman, and Dominic Nichols is an early enrollee freshman. Both have potential but it seems a little early for them to make much of an impact.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

2024 Spring Football Preview: Offensive Line


Myles Hinton (image via MLive)

2023 Starters: LT La'Darius Henderson, LG Trevor Keegan, C Drake Nugent, RG Zak Zinter, RT Karsen Barnhart
Losses: Barnhart (NFL), Henderson (NFL), Trente Jones (NFL), Keegan (NFL), Nugent (NFL), Zinter (NFL)
Returning players: Myles Hinton (RS Sr.), Jeffrey Persi (RS Sr.), Raheem Anderson (RS Jr.), Tristan Bounds (RS Jr.), Greg Crippen (RS Jr.), Giovanni El-Hadi (RS Jr.), Dominic Giudice (RS Jr.), Andrew Gentry (RS So.), Connor Jones (RS So.), Nathan Efobi (RS Fr.), Amir Herring (RS Fr.), Evan Link (RS Fr.)
Newcomers: Josh Priebe (RS Sr.), Blake Frazier (Fr.), Jake Guarnera (Fr.)
Projected starters: LT Hinton, LG El-Hadi, C Crippen, RG Priebe, RT Persi

Michigan went from having a terrible offensive line under Brady Hoke to a decent offensive line at the beginning of the Harbaugh era to one of the best in the country at the end of Harbaugh's tenure. In two of Harbaugh's final three seasons, Michigan won the Joe Moore Award for the best offensive line in the country; in the third season, they lost the award but won a national championship. And now most of the key pieces to those awards and accomplishments are either in the NFL or heading there soon.

Much like the quarterback position, nobody really has a great idea of how the position group will shake out. Will it be as good as it was in 2021-2023? That's unlikely. Could it still be a solid conglomeration? Sure. Four of the starters above (Hinton, El-Hadi, Crippen, and Persi) were 4-star prospects or better, and the only 3-star (Priebe) is a multi-year starter coming from Northwestern. Furthermore, they are all veteran players in at least their fourth year of college.

At offensive tackle, Hinton started one-third of the season before ceding his spot to Barnhart in 2023, so he seems like the most likely to start. On the right side, it could be a battle between Persi and Gentry. Both have looked somewhat rough in limited time, but Persi has two years of experience on Gentry, whose footwork still looked pretty sloppy in 2023.

At the guard positions, El-Hadi is another player who has some starting experience a couple seasons ago as an injury fill-in, so he seems likely to slide right in this season. Priebe is a veteran starting presence who should be able to fend off most contenders, if not all of them.

Word coming out of Ann Arbor about Crippen has been that he's a potential All-American, but he's just been blocked by two really good players in Olu Oluwatimi and Nugent over the past couple years. I have some doubts because I'm not sure why the coaching staff would recruit over him if he was that good, but he's also two years older now than he was when Oluwatimi swooped in, so perhaps his improvement in that time has been significant.

Despite losing six offensive linemen to the draft, Michigan goes into spring with 15 other scholarship linemen on the roster. That's somewhat mind-boggling to consider, since a team might have carried just 13 linemen a few years ago. In that bygone era of like 2019, we would be looking at 7 returning players and 6 true freshmen arriving sporadically in January and then June. Instead, there are 12 returning players, a transfer, and 2 early enrollee freshmen available for the spring, not to mention further reinforcements arriving this summer.

Some projected backups to keep an eye on are Raheem Anderson, who was reportedly ahead of Crippen early in their careers but has since appeared to be more of a factor at guard; Gentry, who could potentially start at tackle over Persi; and Herring, who's a powerful offensive guard option that looked good in the spring game in 2023. Aside from Gentry possibly starting, Anderson and Herring are almost certainly backups for this season. Another players I'll also be watching closely is Tristan Bounds, a behemoth of a player whose balance has been questionable in limited field time.

Visitors: March 15-17, 2024


Shawnee (KS) Mill Valley DE Jayden Woods (image via SI)


Luke Metz - LB - Hoschton (GA) Mill Creek: Metz is a 6'3", 220-pounder who was recently offered by Michigan. New linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary offered Metz at Tennessee, and now he extended an offer for the Wolverines. Metz is a 4-star, the #48 linebacker, and #420 overall. Metz plans to make an unofficial visit this weekend, and the hope is to get him back on campus for an official visit, since he plans to make a college commitment later this spring. Metz also has offers

Jayden Woods - DE - Shawnee (KS) Mill Valley: Woods is a 6'3", 240 lb. edge prospect with offers from Alabama, Florida, Kansas State, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, and others. I mention Kansas State because his father played for KSU back in the 2000s. He's a 4-star, the #19 EDGE, and #212 overall. He took an official visit to Ann Arbor on March 14.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Mike Hart, Ex-Wolverine


Mike Hart (image via Yahoo! Sports)

This seems like old-ish news considering it happened a few days ago and Michigan has already found a replacement, but former star running back Mike Hart will not return as Michigan's running backs coach in 2024. He had been with the program since 2021. Michigan has since replaced him with Ohio State running backs coach Tony Alford (more on that in another post).

Hart is Michigan's all-time leading rusher after playing for the Wolverines from 2004-2007. After a brief NFL career, he then went on to coach for Eastern Michigan, Syracuse, and Indiana before returning to Ann Arbor from 2021-2023. While at Michigan, he won three Big Ten championships and a national championship. He also seemed to have a very positive effect on Michigan's running backs, fostering the development of Hassan Haskins, Blake Corum, and Donovan Edwards, among others. Haskins (2021) and Corum (2022, 2023) each had 1,000-yard rushing seasons under his tutelage, and he nearly had a second 1,000-yard rusher in 2021 (Corum had 952 yards) and 2022 (Edwards had 991).

Hart had recently been on a "leave of absence" attending to a personal matter, but the writing seemed to be on the wall that he would not return to Michigan's staff under new head coach Sherrone Moore. It appears Hart has - or at least had - hopes of being Michigan's head coach someday, but he was passed up for offensive coordinator (by Moore), interim head coach in 2023 (Moore again), and eventually head coach (Moore once more). I'm not saying that had anything to do with Hart's departure, but from Hart's perspective, that probably caused some hurt feelings; and from Moore's perspective, he may feel some concern about whether Hart can buy into the new regime.

On a personal level, I have never been a huge fan of Hart. While yes, I do recognize him as a Michigan great - and he was a lot of fun to watch as a pinball running back - his personality rubbed me the wrong way. I didn't appreciate his "Little Brother" comments toward Michigan State near the end of his playing career. I didn't appreciate when he said Jim Harbaugh wasn't a Michigan Man back in the day when Harbaugh was challenging Michigan to raise its standards, even before Harbaugh was head coach. And I also participated in a coaching clinic where I was not impressed by Hart's attitude and participation.

Overall, I think Hart is a very good developer of talent. I think he understands ball security, pass protection, mental and physical toughness, reading defenses, etc. But my belief is - and this is, let's say, educated speculation - that Hart is not exactly the easiest guy to get along with behind closed doors. So when it comes to putting together a staff, I'm not too awfully surprised that Hart and the new coaching regime are going in separate directions.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

2024 Spring Football Preview: Tight End


Colston Loveland

2023 Starters: Colston Loveland, A.J. Barner
Losses: Barner (NFL), Matt Hibner (transfer)
Returning players: Max Bredeson (RS Jr.), Loveland (Jr.), Marlin Klein (RS So.), Zack Marshall (RS Fr.), Deakon Tonielli (RS Fr.)
Newcomer: Brady Prieskorn (Fr.)
Projected starters: Klein, Loveland

The tight end position is the one that has perhaps separated Michigan from so many other teams over the past several years. Not only has Michigan had some quality players in the role, but the number, usage, and motion of the tight ends have become staples of Michigan's offensive approach.

Probably the best tight end to come along during Jim Harbaugh's tenure was Colston Loveland (45 catches, 649 yards, 4 touchdowns), a rising junior who has the athleticism of some of the elite tight ends playing in the NFL. He's good enough that this is probably his last season in Ann Arbor before getting drafted in 2025.

One-time Indiana transfer A.J. Barner (22 catches, 249 yards, 1 touchdown) was an excellent blocker and underrated pass catcher, but he's headed to the NFL in next month's draft. It appears the next guy in line to play a bunch of snaps in Barner's place is Marlin Klein, a 6'6", 250-pounder who had just 1 catch for 8 yards last fall. He needed to put on some weight early in his career, but he seems to finally be reaching a good playing weight to handle some of the blocking duties.

It's also important to mention quasi-starting tight end Max Bredeson, who plays more of a fullback position but nonetheless started four games last season. He caught 2 passes for 19 yards altogether, but he's a bruising blocker. At 6'2" and 240 lbs., he's unlikely to move into a true tight end role and will probably carry on as a fullback.

Redshirt freshman Zack Marshall (6'4", 232) played in two games last year while redshirting, and classmate Deakon Tonielli (6'5", 251) has some decent size already but did not get any experience. The most likely returning player to step into Klein's role as the #3 tight end seems to be Marshall, who should be a little bigger this spring (and fall).

One of the most intriguing names, though, is freshman early enrollee Brady Prieskorn (6'6", 220), who was a 4-star and the #129 overall player in the class of 2024. He's an all-around tight end somewhat in the mold of Loveland in that he's a good athlete who's not afraid of contact. His physical development is going to be key in determining how ready he is to step on the field this fall. But if he's even borderline ready from a physical standpoint, we could see him begin to emerge this spring as someone who could jump over Marshall and Tonielli to become that #3 tight end.

Friday, March 8, 2024

2024 Spring Football Preview: Wide Receiver


Semaj Morgan (image via MGoBlue)

2023 Starters: Cornelius Johnson, Roman Wilson
Losses: Darrius Clemons (Oregon State), Johnson (NFL), Wilson (NFL)
Returning players: Eamonn Dennis (RS Sr.), Peyton O'Leary (RS Jr.), Tyler Morris (RS So.), Karmello English (So.), Frederick Moore (So.), Semaj Morgan (So.), Kendrick Bell (RS Fr.)
Newcomer: Channing Goodwin (Fr.)
Projected starters: Morris, Morgan

For some teams who play three and four wide receivers on every down, losing two senior wide receivers might not seem like a huge deal. So in the context of college football, the departures of Cornelius Johnson (47 catches, 604 yards, 1 touchdown) and Roman Wilson (48, 789, 12) might not seem like a huge deal. Johnson was the large-ish possession receiver, and Wilson was the speedy deep and intermediate threat. And then there were usually a couple tight ends roaming all over the place. Altogether, Michigan got just 47 other receptions from receivers not named Johnson or Wilson, and 3 of those came from Clemons, who is now plying his trade for the Beavers.

Based on playing time and targets last season, the two front-runners for starting roles in 2024 should be Morris and Morgan. Morris started four games - so he's kind of a returning starter, I guess - and made 13 catches for 197 yards and 1 touchdown. But that one touchdown was a huge, key play when he got matched up against a linebacker against Alabama in the Rose Bowl and caught a crossing route for a 38-yard touchdown. Meanwhile, Morgan caught 22 passes for 204 yards and 2 touchdowns, and he also had an 87-yard punt return against Iowa in the Big Ten Championship game. He showed some downfield receiving chops in high school, but so far he's been more of a catch-and-run guy with jitterbug moves - witness his screen catch for a TD against Washington - and adding in 4 carries for 67 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Last year's spring game star was walk-on Peyton O'Leary (2 catches, 13 yards, 1 touchdown), who could factor in more this season if Michigan needs a big possession guy at 6'4" and 190 lbs. Frederick Moore (4 catches, 32 yards) and Karmello English (1 catch, 6 yards, 1 touchdown) will also factor in somehow. Some people think Moore could be the fastest player on the team.

Players with less of a chance to make an impact include fifth year senior Eamonn Dennis (who has yet to make a catch in his career but plays a lot of special teams), Kendrick Bell (who was a high school quarterback until making the position switch last year), and early enrollee freshman Channing Goodwin. Bell's brother Ronnie is now a wide receiver in the NFL with the 49ers, and Goodwin has some good bloodlines, as his father was a lineman for Michigan and in the NFL. But it's unlikely that any of them play a huge role in 2024. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

2024 NFL Combine Results: Michigan


Cornelius Johnson (image via WolverinesWire)

Here's a summary of how Michigan players measured in and performed at the Combine last week:

TE A.J. Barner
Height: 6'6"
Weight: 251
Arm: 33 3/8"
Hand: 9"

OL Karsen Barnhart
Height: 6'4.5"
Weight: 306
Arm: 33 3/8"
Hand: 9 7/8"
40: 5.21
Vertical: 29.5"
5-10-5: 4.7
3-cone: 7.83
Broad jump: 9'3"

LB Mike Barrett
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 233
Arm: 32 1/8"
Hand: 8 1/2"

LB Junior Colson
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 238
Arm: 32 1/2"
Hand: 9 3/8"

RB Blake Corum
Height: 5'8"
Weight: 205
Arm: 28 7/8"
Hand: 9"
40: 4.53
Vertical: 35.5"
5-10-5: 4.12
Bench: 27
3-cone: 6.82

EDGE Jaylen Harrell
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 250
Arm: 33 1/4"
Hand: 9 3/4"
Vertical: 37"
Broad jump: 9'7"

OL La'Darius Henderson
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 309
Arm: 35"
Hand: 10 5/8"
Bench: 20

DL Kris Jenkins
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 299
Arm: 34"
Hand: 9 3/8"
40: 4.91
Vertical: 30"
5-10-5: 4.78
Bench: 29
Broad jump: 9'7"

WR Cornelius Johnson
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 212
Arm: 31 7/8"
Hand: 8 5/8"
40: 4.44
Vertical: 37.5"
Broad jump: 10'7"

OL Trente Jones
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 305
Arm: 33"
Hand: 10 1/8"
40: 5.17
Vertical: 27"
5-10-5: 4.87
3-cone: 7.78
Broad jump: 9'1"

OG Trevor Keegan
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 310
Arm: 32 3/8"
Hand: 10"
40: 5.24
Vertical: 30.5"
Broad jump: 8'11"

QB J.J. McCarthy
Height: 6'2.5"
Weight: 219
Hand: 9"
Arm: 31 5/8"
3-cone drill: 6.82
5-10-5: 4.23

EDGE Braiden McGregor
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 257
Arm: 33 1/8"
Hand: 10"

C Drake Nugent
Height: 6'1.5"
Weight: 298
Arm: 33"
Hand: 9"
40: 5.23
Vertical: 29.5"
5-10-5: 4.5
Bench: 25
3-cone: 7.33
Broad jump: 8.5"

CB Mike Sainristil
Height: 5'9"
Weight: 182
Arm: 30 7/8"
Hand: 8 1/2"
40: 4.47
Vertical: 40"
5-10-5: 4.01
Bench: 14
3-cone: 6.99
Broad jump: 10'11"

CB Josh Wallace
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 185
Arm: 31 3/8"
Hand: 8 7/8"
Vertical: 34.5"
5-10-5: 4.35
Bench: 13
Broad jump: 10'

WR Roman Wilson
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 185
Arm: 30 3/8"
Hand: 9 3/8"
40: 4.39
Bench: 12

OG Zak Zinter
Height: 6'6"
Weight: 309
Arm: 33 1/2"
Hand: 9 3/8"

Sunday, March 3, 2024

2024 Spring Football Preview: Running Back


Donovan Edwards

2023 Starter: Blake Corum
Losses: Corum, Leon Franklin, C.J. Stokes
Returning players: Kalel Mullings (RS Sr.), Donovan Edwards (Sr.), Tavierre Dunlap (RS Jr.), Cole Cabana (RS Fr.), Benjamin Hall (RS Fr.)
Newcomers: N/A
Projected starter: Edwards

For having lost such a large part of Michigan's program over the past three years in running back Blake Corum, Michigan's running game will look pretty familiar in 2024. Corum ran 675 times for 3,737 yards and 58 touchdowns in his career, becoming Michigan's top career touchdown scorer. But his primary backup, Donovan Edwards, had some huge games at opportune times.

Edwards ran 119 times for 497 yards (4.2 yards/carry) and 5 touchdowns in 2023, and he caught 30 passes for 249 yards (8.3 yards/catch). His entire season was pretty ho-hum . . . except for a 22-yard touchdown in a tight game against Penn State . . . and then two 40+ yard scores against Washington in the national championship game. He goes into the spring as the odds-on favorite to start, but he's somewhat of a proven commodity. Michigan showed last year that they don't really want to subject running backs to extra wear and tear, and we even learned that Corum and Edwards basically weren't tackled all the way through fall camp. We'll see if the transition to Sherrone Moore as head coach changes that equation at all.

The other intriguing option at running back is former linebacker Kalel Mullings, who has been playing offense since the 2022 postseason. He ran 36 times for 222 yards (6.2 yards/carry) and 1 touchdown, and he even caught 2 passes for 32 yards, including a key 19-yard reception against Alabama in the Rose Bowl. There were times in 2023 when he looked like the more instinctive back, and he's certainly more adept at breaking tackles.

Second-year player Benjamin Hall was the breakout star of the 2023 spring game, and his one solid showing during the season was a 9-carry, 58-yard performance against Indiana. He's a bowling ball at 5'11" and 234 pounds, but he's unlikely to break into the top two at the position. Fellow second-year back Cole Cabana had just 2 carries for 6 yards in 2023 and had some injuries that limited him to one game; at 6'0" and 198 pounds, he's a speedster who still has to get his body ready for the college game.

The Wolverines lost C.J. Stokes (transfer to Charlotte) and walk-on Leon Franklin (transfer to Tennessee Tech), so along with Cabana and Hall, expect to see a good-sized dose of guys like walk-ons Henry Donohue (career: 3 carries for 9 yards) and Bryson Kudzal (career: 0 carries) toting the ball to keep Edwards and Mullings fresh for the fall. Kudzal's high school profile touts a 4.41 forty and a 40" vertical, but he's an in-state, small-school product who was a little bit stiff and upright as a runner in high school.

Friday, March 1, 2024

2024 Spring Football Preview: Quarterback


Jack Tuttle

2023 Starter: J.J. McCarthy
Loss: McCarthy
Returning players: Jack Tuttle (7th), Davis Warren (RS Jr.), Jayden Denegal (RS So.), Alex Orji (RS So.)
Newcomer: Jadyn Davis (Fr.)
Projected starter: Tuttle

There are a lot of unknowns going into the 2024 season, but first among all of them is the quarterback position. Michigan got a great performance from McCarthy in 2023, who goes down in history as the program's best college quarterback ever after going 27-1 as a starter and winning a national championship.

But as of right now, Michigan is heading into the season with its cloudiest quarterback situation since perhaps 2009, when freshman Tate Forcier beat out freshman Denard Robinson and 2008 part-time starter Nick Sheridan. Michigan has significantly more experience on its side at the position in 2024, considering Tuttle is a 7th year senior and there are no freshmen - sorry, Jadyn Davis - who truly seem to be in the mix to start.

The first guy to get reps should be Tuttle, who has been named a starter before - albeit at Indiana - and ascended to #2 on the depth chart in 2023, during his first year in Ann Arbor. He completed 15/17 passes for 130 yards and 1 touchdown, a whopping 88.7% completion percentage. And the #1 most impressive thing about him in the spring of 2023 was his willingness and ability to run. He's a former top-100 recruit, even if he was coming out of high school back when Barack Obama was president (don't look that up).

The sexy pick is 6'3", 235 lb. Alex Orji, who was brought in as a quasi single-wing quarterback last year but who didn't attempt a pass. He's capable of throwing lasers, which can be seen on his high school film and from last year's spring game, but it's noteworthy that the coaching staff didn't trust him to throw last year. To go from attempting zero passes to becoming a starter would be . . . well . . . the first time since 2009 that Michigan would entrust a quarterback to start who hadn't attempted a single pass during the previous season.

Offensive coordinator Kirk Campbell says Jayden Denegal (4/5, 50 yards, 1 TD) is the most improved offensive player, but he was a guy who was very raw coming into the program in 2022. Walk-on Davis Warren has looked good at times, but he had a rough go in limited time last season (0/5, 1 INT). Meanwhile, freshman Jadyn Davis is an early enrollee who has a winning pedigree, but his limited size (6'0", 202), lack of an amazing arm, and lack of difference-making athleticism make him more of a threat to start down the road when experience and knowledge of the offense put him a notch above the field. To play as a freshman, you typically need some athletic trait that sets you apart - size, speed, arm strength - and that's not Davis's game.