I don’t know if I’ll do these every week like I tried to do with the NFL season, but when there’s no other football going on, maybe I’ll take a swing. The American Alliance of Football began its inaugural season this past weekend, and several Michigan players are trying to make a go of it.
Channing Stribling probably had the best debut of any Michigan player, making 5 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 pass breakup. Stribling plays for the Memphis Express, who lost to the Birmingham Iron, 26-0.
Matt Godin, DT (San Antonio Commanders): Godin made 2 tackles and 1 QB hit in a 15-6 win over the San Diego Fleet.
Ty Isaac, RB (Birmingham Iron): Isaac was on the inactive list for the Iron’s 26-0 win over Memphis.
Denard Robinson, RB (Atlanta Legends): Robinson ran 5 times for 3 yards (0.6 YPC) and caught 1 pass for 5 yards in a 40-6 loss to the Orlando Apollos.
De’Veon Smith (Orlando Apollos): Smith carried the ball 5 times for 13 yards (2.6 YPC) and 1 touchdown, along with scoring a 2-point conversion on a rushing attempt. The other two running backs for the Apollos averaged 7.3 and 7.0 yards per attempt, but neither one scored on the ground. Smith also caught 1 pass for 8 yards.
Michigan landed a pretty good recruiting class in 2019, ending up at #8 in the 247 Composite rankings. They addressed a lot of needs – especially on the offensive line – and landed a few elite prospects, like Zach Charbonnet, Daxton Hill, and Chris Hinton, Jr.
But recruiting never stops, and now we turn our eyes to the 2020 class. Today I’ll look at the top five positions that need to be addressed. Keep in mind that I am not including players already committed in 2020, because we all know how fleeting and temporary commitments can be.
QUARTERBACK 2019 Depth Chart: Shea Patterson (Sr.), Dylan McCaffrey (RS So.), Joe Milton (RS Fr.), Brandon Peters (RS Jr.), Cade McNamara (Fr.) What they need: 2. Patterson will be out of eligibility after the 2019 season, and with Peters aging and seemingly low on the depth chart, he is unlikely to be around in 2020. That would leave McCaffrey, Milton, and McNamara on the roster with presumed starter McCaffrey a redshirt junior at that point. Michigan has landed a commitment from J.D. Johnson in the 2020 class, but you probably want to have approximately five quarterbacks on the roster with the understanding that one guy is likely to depart soon for one reason or another.
RUNNING BACK 2019 Depth Chart: Chris Evans (Sr.), Tru Wilson (Sr.), Zach Charbonnet (Fr.), Christian Turner (RS Fr.), Hassan Haskins (RS Fr.) What they need: 3. Running back will be a very interesting position going forward, for many reasons. Two of the players listed above are seniors, but Evans’s status is up in the air right now as he is currently suspended from the team. There is a possibility that he could sit out 2019 and return in 2020 as a fifth year senior…or he might play in 2019 and run out of eligibility…or he might declare for the NFL’s supplementary draft…or he might transfer. Who knows? Charbonnet projects as a good player, and Turner showed flashes this season, but Haskins has spent some time practicing at linebacker, so this is a very thin depth chart in 2019, let alone 2020.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE 2019 Depth Chart: Michael Dwumfour (RS Jr.), Carlo Kemp (RS Jr.), Donovan Jeter (RS So.), Chris Hinton (Fr.), Mazi Smith (Fr.), Carl Myers (Sr.) What they need: 3. This is a very thin depth chart, considering it’s both defensive tackle spots and I had to squeeze in some people who might not belong. First of all, Hinton might be a strongside end instead of a tackle, and Myers is a walk-on. Kemp started his career as a linebacker, moved to defensive end, and bulked up in 2018 to play defensive tackle because he wasn’t going to play much at end. With the top two guys at each spot already redshirt juniors, Michigan needs an influx of players immediately, which is why they’re exploring grad transfer options for 2019. There is a chance that some of the 2019 recruits could eventually play defensive tackle, such as Michael Morris and David Ojabo, but the need is still there.
LEFT TACKLE 2019 Depth Chart: Jon Runyan, Jr. (RS Sr.), Jalen Mayfield (RS Fr.), Trente Jones (Fr.) What they need: 2. My philosophy on tackles is to recruit tackles non-stop and turn the failed ones into guards. Michigan has been guard-heavy at times, and even now starts a non-prototype (Runyan) at left tackle, even though he won some awards in 2018. Runyan will graduate, leaving Mayfield and Jones. I expect Mayfield to get some experience in 2019, but he’s a guy who could take over at right tackle moving forward, too. Get some tackles in the fold and let things filter out by getting the best five guys on the field.
TIGHT END 2019 Depth Chart: Sean McKeon (Sr.), Nick Eubanks (RS Jr.), Mustapha Muhammad (RS Fr.), Luke Schoonmaker (RS Fr.), Erick All (Fr.) What they need: 2. I say this is a need more for talent than numbers. McKeon will graduate, and it will be interesting to see whether Eubanks returns for a fifth year. Meanwhile, the other players in the pipeline are solid, but they may not be what Michigan wants. New offensive coordinator Josh Gattis is more of a spread guy, and it would be nice to land a matchup problem type of athlete. Shea Patterson’s brother, Nick, is already committed in 2020, but he’s not a matchup issue.
Hit the jump for more news and notes on the 2019 recruiting class.
OFF THE BOARD
Jonathan Allen – OT – Dayton (OH) Dunbar: Allen committed to Cincinnati.
Khris Bogle – DE – Fort Lauderdale (FL) Cardinal Gibbons: Bogle flipped from Alabama to Florida in a somewhat surprising move after committing to Alabama at the All-American Bowl. He’s the #71 overall player in the class.
Jerrion Ealy – RB – Flowood (MS) Jackson Prep: Flowood, a former Mississippi State commit, was expected to go to Clemson but ended up signing with Ole Miss. He was a 5-star and the lone standout running back at the Under Armour All-American Game.
Isaiah Foskey – DE – Concord (CA) De La Salle: Foskey committed to Notre Dame as a defensive end. Michigan had been looking at him as a tight end. Foskey is a former teammate of one-time Michigan tight end Devin Asiasi, who is now at UCLA.
Demarcus Griffin – CB – Charlotte (NC) Olympic: Griffin committed to Utah State.
Daequan Hardy – CB – Pittsburgh (PA) Penn Hills: Hardy signed with Penn State.
Jared Harrison-Hunte – DT – Middle Village (NY) Christ the King: Harrison-Hunte committed to Miami.
Ira Henry – OG – St. Louis (MO) Trinity Catholic: Henry committed to Florida State.
Danielson Ike – OT – Kansas City (MI) Rockhurst: Ike committed to SMU.
Dawand Jones – OT – Indianapolis (IN) Ben Davis: Jones blew up late in the recruiting cycle and picked Ohio State over Florida State, Michigan, Oregon, and USC, among others.
Tavian Mayo – CB – Leesburg (GA) Lee County: Mayo signed with West Virginia.
Lloyd Murray, Jr. – DT – Wichita Falls (TX) Hirschi: Murray signed with Colorado.
Adonis Otey – CB – Murfreesboro (TN) Blackman: Otey flipped from Arkansas to USC.
George Pickens – WR – Hoover (AL) Hoover: Pickens flipped from Auburn to Georgia. This was probably the biggest newsmaker of National Signing Day when the long-time Auburn commit picked the Bulldogs. He’s a 5-star and #24 overall in the class.
Matthew Pola-Mao – DT – Chandler (AZ) Chandler: Pola-Mao committed to Kansas State.
Garmon Randolph – TE – Jefferson (GA) Jefferson: Randolph committed to Baylor.
Jammie Robinson – S – Leesburg (GA) Lee County: Robinson committed to South Carolina.
Joshua Sanguinetti – S – Fort Lauderdale (FL) University School: Sanguinetti committed to Indiana. The Hoosiers signed three 4-star prospects, and that doesn’t include Sanguinetti, who’s #417 overall in the class.