2015 Season Countdown: #71 Tyree Kinnel

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20Jun 2015
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2015 Season Countdown: #71 Tyree Kinnel


Tyree Kinnel

Name: Tyree Kinnel
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 200 lbs.
High school: Huber Heights (OH) Wayne
Position: Safety
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: #17
Last year: Kinnel was a senior in high school. He was a 247 Composite 4-star, the #11 safety, and #195 overall.
TTB Rating: 74

Kinnel was an early commit to the 2015 class, pledging in August of 2013 going into his junior year. Despite efforts by other schools to flip him, he stayed true to his word and signed with the Wolverines this past February. His dad said that he was given a University of Michigan football on the day he was born, and he came to a bunch of spring games in Ann Arbor when he was growing up. Kinnel was a part-time running back in high school, but his main position was safety.

Michigan is not in dire need of safeties to be on the field this fall. Between senior Jarrod Wilson, junior Delano Hill, and sophomore Jabrill Peppers, the coaching staff seems to think they have three starting-caliber players on the back end. Meanwhile, redshirt junior Jeremy Clark and junior Dymonte Thomas both have a significant amount of playing time. I rank Kinnel here based largely on the fact that he could potentially play cornerback, and the depth chart at cornerback gets questionable after the top three. Ideally, Kinnel would redshirt and give a little more space between himself and the guys ahead of him, but injuries or underperformance could put him on the field at some point.

Prediction: Redshirt if possible

19Jun 2015
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2015 Season Countdown: #72 Jared Wangler

Jared Wangler (image via MVictors.com)

Name: Jared Wangler
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 230 lbs.
High school: Warren (MI) De La Salle
Position: Linebacker
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: #19
Last year: I ranked Wangler #82 and said he would redshirt. He redshirted.

Wangler came in last year as a pretty undersized linebacker at just 218 lbs. With Michigan returning a lot of experienced linebackers, I did not think he would be needed, and he wasn’t. He redshirted and bulked up to 230 lbs. by the spring.

This year I still do not expect to see Wangler play a significant role. Michigan has four senior linebackers, an experienced junior (Ben Gedeon), and a couple guys who have seen the field in some capacity (Mike McCray II, Allen Gant). On the positive side for Wangler, one classmate transferred (Michael Ferns), another one has been injured for most of the last year (Noah Furbush), and another has moved to offense (Chase Winovich); additionally, Michigan didn’t recruit any linebackers in the 2015 class. So Wangler’s long-term prospects are looking up compared to where they were last year, but this year’s depth chart looks bleak for him.

Prediction: Backup linebacker, special teamer

18Jun 2015
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2015 Season Countdown: #73 Brady Pallante

Brady Pallante (image via Maize and Blue News)

Name: Brady Pallante
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 276 lbs.
High school: Naples (FL) Barron Collier
Position: Fullback
Class: Redshirt freshman
Jersey number:  #45
Last year: I ranked Pallante #88 and said he would redshirt. He redshirted.

Pallante was an undersized nose tackle last year and did not see the field at all. When Jim Harbaugh was hired and spring practice began, many were surprised to find that Pallante had a new jersey and a new position. One major reason for the position change is likely that both fullbacks (Joe Kerridge, Sione Houma) are seniors that will need to be replaced in 2016. Harbaugh also probably has a plan to work a jumbo fullback into the backfield, and that role could be filled by Pallante or perhaps some like defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, Jr. Pallante won’t be a starter this season and probably won’t be an extremely valuable member of the offense, but he could see an occasional snap in certain packages.

Prediction: Backup fullback

17Jun 2015
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2015 Season Countdown: #74 Keith Washington


Keith Washington

Name: Keith Washington
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 175 lbs.
High school: Prattville (AL) Prattville
Position: Cornerback
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: #6
Last year: Washington was a senior in high school. As a quarterback, he was 92/162 passing for 1,718 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions; he also rushed 152 times for 1,201 yards and 20 touchdowns. He was a 247 Composite 3-star, the #78 athlete, and #955 overall.
TTB Rating: 68

Washington grew up in Louisiana and Texas before moving to Prattville as a junior. Once he arrived, he took over the quarterback job and had quite a successful two-year career there. He was good enough to earn a fair number of scholarship offers, and he committed to Cal. Michigan swooped in with an offer late in the process after Jim Harbaugh was hired, and Washington committed to the Wolverines without ever visiting Ann Arbor.

Washinton has not played much cornerback in his career since he was the starting quarterback, and he did not have the advantage of enrolling early. Since he is very unpolished and skinny, it’s reasonable to expect that he will redshirt. Michigan is fairly thin at corner, though, so a couple injuries could put him on the field. The coaches like his speed, change of direction, and mentality, and I think he might get a chance before Reon Dawson (who is only 3 lbs. heavier than Washington despite being a redshirt sophomore). But if the Wolverines need to count on Washington, they might be in trouble.

Prediction: Redshirt if possible

16Jun 2015
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2015 Season Countdown: #75 Alex Malzone

Alex Malzone

Name: Alex Malzone
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 218 lbs.
High school: Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice
Position: Quarterback
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: #12
Last year: Malzone was a senior in high school. He was 211/325 for 2,998 yards and 38 touchdowns. He was a 247 Composite 4-star, the #13 pro-style quarterback, and #295 overall.

Malzone committed to Michigan in the spring of 2014, and it was a source of some consternation for Michigan fans. Also an accomplished baseball player, he was not extremely well regarded as a quarterback recruit and had a hitch in his throwing motion that worried some analysts. Many Michigan fans thought Brady Hoke and his staff should have waited longer on some of the big fish instead of offering Malzone, who was a shoo-in to commit. Brother Rice fell short of a state championship, but he had a stellar season throwing to eventual Michigan-bound receiver Grant Perry.

Malzone skipped his senior year of baseball to enroll at Michigan in January. He received some mixed reviews during spring practice, but Jim Harbaugh supposedly warmed up to him because of how quickly he picked up the offense and the dedication he showed. When Michigan held an intrasquad scrimmage for the spring game, Malzone headed up one of the squads. The defense is always ahead of the offensie in the spring, so it was tough to glean much. However, things moved a little too quickly for Malzone, and he currently lacks the arm strength to push the ball down the field or fit it into tight spaces. Not only did he look to be behind junior Shane Morris, but freshman Zach Gentry is on his way into town, and fifth year Iowa transfer Jake Rudock will likely be the starter. It seems that Malzone will be no higher than third on the depth chart, and with both Rudock and Morris available, it would make sense to redshirt the freshman.

Prediction: Redshirt if possible

15Jun 2015
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2015 Season Countdown: #76 Reon Dawson

Reon Dawson (#20)

Name: Reon Dawson
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 175 lbs.
High school: Trotwood (OH) Trotwood-Madison
Position: Cornerback
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #30
Last year: I ranked Dawson #89 and said Dawson would play cornerback very little, if at all. He did not see game action.

I will admit that I have heard zero buzz about Dawson since he arrived on campus in 2013. He was a flier scholarship offer in that class, and so far it has not paid dividends. Last season he was listed at 178 lbs., and this year he’s listed at 175 lbs., which is a small change but one in the wrong direction. The Wolverines have almost a desperate need for cornerbacks this season because things get questionable beyond the top two guys, but I do not expect Dawson to be in the mix for playing time unless a series of injuries plagues the defensive backfield.

Prediction: Backup cornerback

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