2015 Season Countdown: #68 Blake Bars

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23Jun 2015
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2015 Season Countdown: #68 Blake Bars

Blake Bars

Name: Blake Bars
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 281 lbs.
High school: Nashville (TN) Montgomery Bell
Position: Offensive guard
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #62
Last year: I ranked Bars #76 and said he would be a third string guard. He did not see game action.

Well, Bars is moving up in the world – he went from #77 in 2013 to #76 in 2014, and now he’s all the way up to #68 in the countdown. I said last year that Bars would be a third-stringer, and that held true. He did not play at all despite the early blowout against Appalachian State when it seemed like everyone got in the game.

It’s Bars’s fourth year on campus, and he’s still listed at 281 lbs. That’s not a good number for an offensive lineman in the Big Ten. So far he has only played in one game, that coming during the 2013 season. While he has taken snaps in practice at almost every position across the offensive line, including center, there are other backups ahead of him at each position: center (Patrick Kugler), guard (David Dawson), and tackle (Logan Tuley-Tillman). Unless injuries devastate the offensive line, Bars probably won’t be anything more than a mop-up guy.

Prediction: Backup offensive guard

22Jun 2015
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2015 Season Countdown: #69 Andrew David

Andrew David

Name: Andrew David
Height: 5’9″
Weight: 170 lbs.
High school: Massillon (OH) Washington
Position: Kicker
Class: Freshman
Jersey number:
Last year: David was a senior in high school. He made 12/17 field goals (long of 58), averaged 37.5 yards/punt, and averaged 60.0 yards/kickoff.  He was a 247 Composite 3-star, the #9 kicker, and #1872 overall.
TTB Rating: N/A

David committed almost exactly two years ago today in June of 2013. Even through the coaching change, he stayed solid with Michigan and had a couple pretty good years. A solid all-around athlete, he also played baseball and tried out for the starting quarterback job (which was won by 2017 Ohio State commit Danny Clark). As a senior in 2014, he hit field goals of 58, 51, 50, and 49 yards, missing just once from 50+ yards.

Kicking situations are always iffy, especially when new guys arrive on the scene. David has practiced extensively without using a tee for kicks, but he has never been in front of over 100,000 peoples or on national television. Then again, his primary competition for the placekicking job (walk-on Kyle Seychel) has only stood on the sideline in front of that many people. David is an accomplished high school kicker, but maybe it will take some time for him to adjust to the pressure of the college game. I’m ranking him at #70 because Michigan has other guys who can do the job even if he starts and falters. My guess is that he does not begin the year as the placekicker or kickoff guy, and he almost certainly won’t be punting in college.

Prediction: Backup kicker

21Jun 2015
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2015 Season Countdown: #70 Grant Perry

Grant Perry (left, with Jack Dunaway)

Name: Grant Perry
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 185 lbs.
High school: Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice
Position: Wide receiver
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: #9
Last year: Perry was a senior in high school. He caught 107 passes for 1,727 yards and 20 touchdowns. He was a 247 Composite 3-star, the #109 wide receiver, and #866 overall.
TTB Rating: 71

Perry was the guy who kept hanging around Michigan and hanging around Michigan until he finally got an offer. Brady Hoke kept telling Perry to keep coming back and that the staff liked him, but they just never pulled the trigger on an offer. Jim Harbaugh’s staff came in and didn’t immediately bite, but very late in the process, they gave him an official offer and he accepted shortly before National Signing Day. Fellow Michigan signee Alex Malzone’s favorite receiver in high school, Perry was extremely prolific for the powerhouse offense at Brother Rice. Those numbers would be outstanding for college or NFL receivers, and high schoolers usually can’t replicate that kind of production.

Perry is really the first player on the countdown where I think, “Well, he could  start if certain things go his way.” He is not the biggest or most explosive player around, but while Michigan has “big,” they basically lack “explosive.” The Wolverines have a bunch of possession guys with a couple others who have some athleticism but haven’t shown anything on the field yet. I do not think Perry has a chance of being the #1 guy, but he could potentially work in the slot, find his way open, and become a possession guy. The toughest part of the transition for him will be blocking, because he is not large and receivers have to block in a run-heavy offense like Michigan’s will be. If he can’t chop down a nickel corner or outside linebacker once in a while, he won’t see the field much.

Prediction: Backup wide receiver

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