2015 Season Countdown: #78 Reuben Jones

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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

9Jun 2015
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2015 Season Countdown: #82 Juwann Bushell-Beatty

Juwann Bushell-Beatty
(image via Maizeandbluenews.com)

Name: Juwann Bushell-Beatty
Height: 6’6″
Weight: 319 lbs.
High school: Paramus (NJ) Catholic
Position: Offensive tackle
Class: Redshirt freshman
Jersey number: #76
Last year: I ranked Bushell-Beatty #91 and said he would redshirt. He redshirted.

One of my bigger concerns with Bushell-Beatty was the amount of bad weight he had on him coming out of high school. He looked somewhat out of shape during his senior year of football, and that continued on into the Under Armour All-American Game, where he struggled with quicker players. Bushell-Beatty redshirted his freshman year, like most thought he would.

Still pretty heavy at 319 lbs., it’s not clear whether he has remade his body and added some muscle or whether he still has a long way to go with his conditioning. I think we will see a more beefed-up line under Jim Harbaugh, but the hogs up front will still have to be in pretty good shape. Regardless, Bushell-Beatty is near the bottom of the offensive line depth chart with a few guys ahead of him who can fill in at various slots. I do not expect that he will factor into the rotation even if there are a couple injuries, although he could see some mop-up duty if Michigan gets a chance to throw a full second- or third-string line in there.

Prediction: Backup offensive tackle

8Jun 2015
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2015 Season Countdown: #83 Dan Liesman

Dan Liesman (image via Twitter)

Name: Dan Liesman
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 233 lbs.
High school: Lansing (MI) Catholic
Position: Linebacker
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #66
Last year: I did not rank Liesman. He did not see any game action.

Walk-on linebacker Dan Liesman did not play at all last year and has spent the last three season as a scout team player. That didn’t stop the new coaching staff from starting him in this year’s spring game, though. The intrasquad scrimmage might not portend the future exactly, and some players were unavailable due to injury, but the fact that Liesman played almost the entire time at inside linebacker indicates there’s at least something the coaches like about him. Based on what I saw, I do not think he will crack the rotation at all. But he is a guy that the coaches might want to reward with some mop-up duty or special teams play.

Prediction: Backup linebacker, special teamer