2016 Season Countdown: #15 Bryan Mone
    Bryan Mone 311x

    Bryan Mone (image via The Majors)

    Name: Bryan Mone
    Height: 6'4"
    Weight: 310 lbs.
    High school: Salt Lake City (UT) Highland
    Position: Nose tackle
    Class: Redshirt sophomore
    Jersey number: #90
    Last year: I ranked Mone #23 and said he would be a backup nose tackle (LINK). He suffered a broken leg and redshirted.

    Mone earned a ton of hype last off-season after a mediocre freshman season in 2014. He made 9 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 1 fumble recovery as a true freshman. Naturally, the highly rated recruit was thought to be more valuable than the walk-on redshirt junior Ryan Glasgow, and the coaches did indeed say that when they ranked all their players, Mone was the #3 guy on the whole team. Maybe Glasgow was #1 or #2, but that seems unlikely. I don't know why the coaches would lie, but I certainly didn't think Mone was the third-best guy on the team. Either way, it didn't matter because Mone broke his leg not long into August practices, and 325-pounders don't recover quickly from broken legs. The Wolverines started Glasgow (who also eventually got hurt) and counted on the undersized Maurice Hurst, Jr. at times, along with other, uh, less qualified players. The run defense did okay for a while, but once Glasgow got injured, Indiana and Ohio State ran all over the place.

    This year it sounds like Mone will once again be the #2 nose tackle. It might seem like a reach to rank the backup nose tackle at #15 in the countdown, but I'm a little nervous that Glasgow's pectoral injury will linger. It's also just tough to stay healthy on the interior defensive line, with guys hurting shoulders, getting rolled up on, etc. Michigan will rotate a lot of guys on the defense line, and the toughest teams to beat on the schedule are Michigan State and Ohio State, both of whom employ power running games. The Wolverines will need Glasgow and Mone to beat those teams, so he's an important cog in the defense. I also like the fact that he has dropped about 15 lbs. since last season. When he came out of high school, I mentioned that he moved a lot better at a lighter weight and I was concerned with the extra pounds he added as a senior. By no means is he a lightweight at 310, but he should be moving better and playing with more energy at his new weight. I have seen speculation that he could earn himself a spot in the 2017 NFL Draft, but it's more likely that he positions himself for a big-time role in 2017 and perhaps some notoriety heading into the 2018 draft.

    Prediction: Backup nose tackle; 25 tackles, 3 sacks

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    2016 Season Countdown: #16 Kenny Allen

    Kenny Allen (#91, image via ABC 7 News)

    Name: Kenny Allen
    Height: 6'4"
    Weight: 222 lbs.
    High school: Fenton (MI) Fenton
    Position: Kicker/punter
    Class: Fifth year senior
    Jersey number: #91
    Last year: I ranked Allen #80 and said he would be the backup kicker, punter, and holder (LINK). He was the starting placekicker and kickoff specialist.

    Boy, was I wrong about Allen in 2015. I had heard going into the season that Allen was likely to be the backup to Kyle Seychel at placekicker, and that was backed up by the fact that Seychel was doing the placekicking in the 2015 spring game. Allen, who had come to Michigan as a punter, was told by Jim Harbaugh to work on his kicking skills. He did. And he beat out Seychel. And by the end of the year, Seychel was no longer a part of the program. Allen hit 18/22 field goals (81.8%) with a long of 47 yards, and he was 47/47 on extra points. He also averaged 61.4 yards on kickoffs, and he even punted once for 57 yards.

    Punter Blake O'Neill exhausted his eligibility last season, so now Allen might pull triple duty this year as the kickoff specialist, placekicker, and punter. Michigan did recruit the #1 kicker in the country, Quinn Nordin, as part of the 2016 class. But Nordin is unlikely to beat out Allen for the placekicking or punting job. Allen proved himself as a kicker, and both of his career punts have traveled 51+ yards. The most likely place for Nordin to contribute would be on kickoffs, where Allen could get some rest and avoid the risk of injury that is sometimes involved when trying to make tackles and take on an occasional blocker. It's also noteworthy that redshirt freshman Andrew David, a scholarship player from the 2015 class, recently left the program to transfer to TCU. David did not have a strong leg, but he may have been able to help as a pooch punter or extra point kicker. With David gone and Nordin the backup, Michigan could have a pretty rough go of it if Allen were to pull a hamstring or suffer some other unfortunate injury. In fact, I considered moving Allen higher on the list, but this is where he was prior to the news of David transferring, so this is where he stays.

    Prediction: Starting placekicker, punter

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    MLive: Does Jim Harbaugh plan to be at Michigan for life?

    Harbaugh says he thinks about being at Michigan for life (LINK). I'm not sure I believe that will happen, but it would be nice.

    Hit the jump for some beautiful women, including a gif of the Brazilian volleyball team.



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    2016 Season Countdown: #17 Erik Magnuson
    Erik Magnsuon 306x

    Erik Magnuson (image via Michigan Daily)

    Name: Erik Magnuson
    Height: 6'6"
    Weight: 305 lbs.
    High school: Carlsbad (CA) La Costa Canyon
    Position: Offensive tackle
    Class: Fifth year senior
    Jersey number: #78
    Last year: I ranked Magnuson #11 and said he would be the starting right tackle (LINK). He started twelve games at right tackle and was named Third Team All-Big Ten.

    Magnuson had a hard time locking down a job in 2013 and 2014, as he bounced between tackle and guard, mostly sticking at the latter. Going into last season, he seemed to have become entrenched at right tackle, and that's what played out during the year. He was the full-time starter on the right side, and for the most part, he held his own. He struggled against the truly elite edge players, and even this spring, he had a tendency to cross his feet against speed rushers and get off balance. His body hasn't developed quite the way I expected, and he's become a little rounder and less like a slab of muscle than I expected.

    That last bit doesn't matter so much at this point, because he is who he is. He's a solid right tackle who earned All-Big Ten votes by both the coaches and media. I dropped him from #11 to #17 this year, not because I'm less confident in his abilities, but because there are other positions that are more critical and redshirt freshman Nolan Ulizio looked solid in the spring. There's also the possibility that Ben Bredeson or Grant Newsome could back him up at right tackle, depending on which of those guys wins the left tackle gig. Much like my take on Kyle Kalis yesterday, I think there's a good chance for Magnuson to once again be All-Big Ten based on his experience and participation on what should be a pretty good team this fall.

    Prediction: Starting right tackle; Second Team All-Big Ten

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    Ahmir Mitchell, Ex-Wolverine

    Ahmir Mitchell (image via MLive)

    Freshman wide receiver Ahmir Mitchell announced on Twitter that he plans to transfer. Mitchell was a class of 2016 signee who enrolled early at Michigan in January.

    Mitchell is 6'3", 204-pounder who could play wide receiver, safety, or outside linebacker in college. He was recruited to Michigan as a wideout, but there was a lot of speculation that he would end up playing defense. At one point during his recruitment, it looked like he would end up at Ohio State if they wanted him, but that didn't really pan out. He was running with the second team in the spring - partially because of some injuries - but there was a good chance that he could have played this fall. Unfortunately, he got into some trouble during the summer, and he was going to be suspended for the year. Instead, he has chosen to transfer.

    Hit the jump for more.

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    2016 Scholarship Count

    Players are listed in order of remaining eligibility. With 81 scholarships allotted, Michigan is now under its scholarship limit for 2016. As for the 2017 recruiting class, 19 seniors are scheduled to graduate, so the class should have at least 23 players.

    TOTAL SCHOLARSHIPS ALLOTTED FOR 2016 = 81

    Hit the jump for the breakdown by class.

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    Andrew David, Ex-Wolverine

    Andrew David

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    Redshirt freshman kicker Andrew David is reportedly transferring to TCU, which is an interesting location, considering that senior running back Derrick Green is also headed there.

    David committed to Michigan in June of 2013 as part of the 2015 recruiting class (LINK). He was a 3-star and the #9 kicker in that class. He redshirted last year. I'm admittedly not an expert on kicking, so I mostly left it up to the recruiting sites to determine whether he was any good or not, and they generally thought he was. However, I did not hear great things coming out of practice about him, and when I saw him kicking at Ford Field this spring, I was very underwhelmed. After redshirting in 2015, he was expected to ride the bench this year with fifth year senior Kenny Allen and perhaps true freshman Quinn Nordin handling kickoffs, punts, and placekicking.

    David is the second player from the 14-man class of 2015 to depart, joining wide receiver/safety Brian Cole (East Mississippi Community College).

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