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10Aug 2018
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2018 Season Countdown: #18 Ben Mason

Ben Mason (image via Detroit News)

Name: Ben Mason
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 254 lbs.
High school: Newtown (CT) Newtown
Position: Fullback
Class: Sophomore
Jersey number: #42
Last year: I ranked Mason #77 and said he would be a backup fullback (LINK). He had 3 carries for 4 yards and 2 touchdowns.
TTB Rating: 74

I may or may not have underranked Mason last season. On the one hand, I ranked him #77 and he scored 2 touchdowns, which is pretty good for the 77th-most important player on the team. On the other hand, Michigan had two senior fullbacks on the roster who probably could have punched in those two 1-yard touchdowns. Khalid Hill and Henry Poggi were the co-starters at fullback in 2017, but it was always likely that Michigan would plan to groom Mason for 2018, which is exactly what they did.

This spring there was a bit of a stir when it came out that Mason was playing fullback¬†and linebacker, and Mason did an interview where he discussed his preference – according to him, he has none. He was a fullback and linebacker in high school, and he was seemingly recruited for linebacker before moving to the offensive side of the ball. He does not appear to be a strong contender for any of the linebacker positions, which makes sense to me. It’s one thing for a defensive player to moonlight as an offensive guy, but it’s a whole different story when you try to make an offensive guy into a defensive player; the only case that seems to make sense is when you put in a tall receiver with ball skills when it’s time to defend a Hail Mary. Mason should be focusing on offense, even though Michigan may use the fullback less with Shea Patterson behind center. I expect this Michigan team to be a little more spread-oriented and a little less smashmouth-y.

Prediction: Starting fullback

9Aug 2018
Blog, homepage 4 comments

2018 Season Countdown: #19 Jon Runyan, Jr.

Jon Runyan, Jr.

Name: Jon Runyan, Jr.
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 304 lbs.
High school: Philadelphia (PA) St. Joseh’s
Position: Offensive tackle
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #75
Last year: I ranked Runyan #31 and said he would be a part-time starter at right tackle and a backup left guard (LINK). He started one game at right tackle and played in nine games.
TTB Rating: 73

Runyan almost made a liar out of me, but he sneaked in a start at right tackle in the bowl game to make me look like Nostradamus. An athletic but slightly undersized Big Ten lineman, Runyan has been looked at as a stopgap at a few different positions. He has practiced at every position on the line at one point or another. He’s one of those players that hasn’t flashed greatness, but has shown consistency.

That will likely continue to be the theme going into 2018. Runyan isn’t huge and powerful, and he doesn’t generate a lot of movement when run blocking. He doesn’t have a ton of upside, but he’s a decent player entering his fourth year. The word filtering out of spring was that he would likely start at right tackle while Juwann Bushell-Beatty and James Hudson III battle it out on the left side; the loser of that battle will likely be a backup. New offensive line coach Ed Warinner must like Runyan pretty well. The other wild card could be freshman Jalen Mayfield, but starting a true freshman who didn’t enroll early is always a tricky proposition. I’m not expecting greatness from Runyan, but I think he can do a decent job this year.

Prediction: Starting right tackle

8Aug 2018
Blog, homepage 5 comments

Eddie McDoom, Ex-Wolverine

Eddie McDoom

Junior wide receiver Eddie McDoom has decided to transfer. His current destination is unknown.

McDoom has 24 rushes for 203 yards (8.5 yards/carry), along with 16 catches for 140 yards (8.8 yards/catch), during his two years on campus. He was mostly a jet sweep guy but hasn’t had a big impact in the passing game. I ranked him #38 in this year’s countdown (LINK).

Personally, I do not feel Michigan has done a great job of utilizing him over the past couple seasons. I think he would be a good returner, but Michigan hasn’t used him in the return game. He’s a jet sweep and bubble screen guy, but Michigan hasn’t used much of the bubble screen half of that equation. The unfortunate thing is that this offense with Shea Patterson probably fits McDoom better than Wilton Speight- and Brandon Peters-style offenses over the past two seasons, but we won’t get a chance to see it.

Michigan now has a relatively thin depth chart at wide receiver with just the following scholarship options:

  • Grant Perry (Sr.)
  • Tarik Black (So.)
  • Nico Collins (So.)
  • Donovan Peoples-Jones (So.)
  • Oliver Martin (RS Fr.)
  • Ronnie Bell (Fr.)

Nate Schoenle and Jake McCurry are two walk-on receivers who have earned a little bit of hype.

Michigan now has just 84 scholarship players on the roster for 2018 (LINK).

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