2015 Season Countdown: #76 Reon Dawson

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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

14Jun 2015
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2015 Season Countdown: #77 Tom Strobel

Tom Strobel (image via MGoBlog)

Name: Tom Strobel
Height: 6’6″
Weight: 270 lbs.
High school: Mentor (OH) Mentor
Position: Defensive end
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #50
Last year: I ranked Strobel #67 and said he would be a backup strongside end. He played in five games and made 1 tackle.

Strobel has been a difficult player to project throughout his career. He came in as a guy who looked like he could stay at weakside end, but then he became a strongside end. Then he was a severely undersized defensive tackle. Then he moved back to strongside end. He appears to be too slow to play on the edge, and he can’t or won’t add the bulk necessary to play tackle.

A new coaching staff has been hired, and they look no closer to figuring out where he can actually play. He is listed at defensive end still, but he again appears to be a bench player. With the Wolverines looking like a bit more of a 3-4 team, that would seem to indicate a better chance for him to play because of his size, but it also constricts the pathway to playing time a little bit. Strobel hasn’t shown anything yet that resembles a breakout, so he remains in the lower third of the countdown.

Prediction: Backup defensive end

13Jun 2015
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2015 Season Countdown: #78 Reuben Jones

Reuben Jones (image via Lake Gibson Football)

Name: Reuben Jones
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 225 lbs.
High school: Lakeland (FL) Lake Gibson
Position: Defensive end
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: #4
Last year: Jones was a senior in high school, where he had 71 tackles and 10 sacks. He was a 247 Composite 3-star, the #44 strongside end, and #784 overall.
Final TTB Rating: 67

Jones is a one-time Nebraska commit who chose to play for the Wolverines after having a bit of a falling out with the Cornhuskers. He appears to be a high-effort guy and is very aggressive, but he lacks some technique and is not a freak athlete. Especially if the Wolverines go to more of a 3-4 look, they should have the opportunity to redshirt a guy like Jones. However, Michigan is pretty thin at defensive end. One of the true freshmen will probably have to play (my Monopoly money is on Shelton Johnson), but an injury or two could force the other to burn his redshirt, too.

Prediction: Redshirt if possible, backup defensive end if not

12Jun 2015
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2015 Season Countdown: #79 Dan Samuelson

Dan Samuelson (image via AnnArbor.com)

Name: Dan Samuelson
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 289 lbs.
High school: Plymouth (IN) Plymouth
Position: Offensive guard
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #74
Last year: I ranked Samuelson #77 and said he would be a backup offensive guard. He did not see any game action.

Samuelson was 282 lbs. last season and did not work his way into the rotation. Michigan also didn’t have many chances to play the backups, anyway. In practices and such, he has consistently been essentially the last lineman into the rotation. Whether it’s a function of size, talent, or the combination of the two, significant playing time does not appear to be looming.

Michigan has several returning starters on the offensive line this year, and there are some backups that seem to be far ahead of Samuelson. He has seen some reps at tackle, too, but either way he is only likely to see the field in blowout situations or if there are several injuries.

Prediction: Backup offensive guard

11Jun 2015
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2015 Season Countdown: #80 Kenny Allen

Kenny Allen (#91) with kicker Matt Wile

Name: Kenny Allen
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 220 lbs.
High school: Fenton (MI) Fenton
Position: Punter/kicker
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #91
Last year: I ranked Allen #68 and said he would be the backup punter. He punted 1 time for 51 yards.

For a few years, people have been talking about Allen as a capable punter. The walk-on is known for booming punts, but the problem reportedly comes down to consistency. He might boom one, shank the next, and go back and forth. With former All-Big Ten punter Will Hagerup a part of the equation, it was no surprise that Allen was mostly mired on the bench.

The job looked like it was about to open itself up to Allen with the graduation of Hagerup, as well as combo kicker/punter Matt Wile. And then along came Aussie Blake O’Neill, a Weber State graduate transfer. The new coaching staff has a slightly different special teams philosophy, and they found O’Neill, who has experience doing what the new staff wants. He has one year of eligibility remaining, so Allen is probably out of luck yet again. Allen will probably be O’Neill’s backup, and while Allen has also been working on his placekicking, he is not expected to win that job, either. Allen does have experience holding on extra points and field goals, but there are a few guys who have experience there (including Shane Morris) and could presumably do the job just as well.

Prediction: Backup punter, kicker, and holder

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