2015 Season Countdown: #65 Shelton Johnson

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26Jun 2015
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2015 Season Countdown: #65 Shelton Johnson

Shelton Johnson

Name: Shelton Johnson
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 225 lbs.
High school: Delray Beach (FL) Atlantic
Position: Defensive end
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: N/A
Last year: Johnson was a senior in high school. He was a 247 Composite 3-star, the #20 strongside end, #365 overall, and #54 in Florida.
TTB Rating: 80

Johnson was a late pull out of Florida, a steal orchestrated by defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin, who was the Florida defensive coordinator for the past couple seasons. Johnson was offered in the middle of January, immediately scheduled a visit, and then spurned the favorite (Florida State) to move up north. Michigan fans can’t be anything less than intrigued after watching Johnson’s high school film where he shows a good combination of size, speed, and aggression.

Michigan has some “defensive ends,” but what the teams lacks is edge rushers. The Wolverines lost their top two sack artists from last season, and the top returners are senior Mario Ojemudia and junior Taco Charlton, who had 3.5 sacks each. The only other returning defensive linemen to get to the quarterback were tackles. Redshirt freshman Lawrence Marshall and senior Royce Jenkins-Stone are going to get their shots to come off the edge, but Johnson has a chance to step into the rotation as a freshman and help out with the pass rush. He will be a little light (he recently said he’s up to 235 lbs.) but I think he can still be a situational player.

Prediction: Backup defensive end, situational pass rusher

25Jun 2015
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2015 Season Countdown: #66 Ondre Pipkins

Ondre Pipkins

Name: Ondre Pipkins
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 317 lbs.
High school: Kansas City (MO) Park Hill
Position: Defensive tackle
Class: Senior
Jersey number: #56
Last year: I ranked Pipkins #28 and said he would be the starting nose tackle with 20 tackles and 1 sack. He was a backup nose tackle and made 9 tackles.

This is maybe the biggest drop in the short history of my season countdowns, but here Pipkins falls 38 spots since last year. He tore his ACL in October of 2013, and while he was not expected to recover from his ACL tear quite as quickly as smaller guys (Jake Ryan, Jake Butt, Russell Bellomy, etc.), I thought he should be somewhat effective toward the end of the year. Instead, he played in just six games and made 9 tackles. Meanwhile, players like Ryan Glasgow, Bryan Mone, and Maurice Hurst, Jr. got more playing time.

Pipkins’s time at Michigan will soon come to an end, and chances are slim that he lives up to the 5-star status he had coming out of Missouri as a high schooler. He still has the size to be a nose tackle, but the burst appears to be lacking and he probably can’t be much more than an eater of space. On top of that, all three of the aforementioned players return. Glasgow was effective, Mone showed more flashes than Pipkins ever really has, and Hurst earned some spring practice buzz to go along with his solid redshirt freshman season. The nose tackle position seems to be in good hands, but those good hands do not seem to belong to Pipkins.

Prediction: Backup nose tackle

UPDATE: Now that the news has broken about Pipkins’s transfer, I can “officially” say that I have expected his departure for the past couple months. Regardless, until it was announced by him or by the university, I was going to place him in the countdown where I saw him fitting in. Since he sits here at #66, you can see that I do not view this as a big loss.

24Jun 2015
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2015 Season Countdown: #67 Bo Dever

Bo Dever

Name: Bo Dever
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 199 lbs.
High school: Lake Forest (IL) Lake Forest
Position: Wide receiver
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #3
Last year: I ranked Dever #84 and said he would be a backup wide receiver. He started one game and caught 1 pass for 26 yards.

Dever saw some action in 2014, probably more than what most expected when he came into college. Brady Hoke was fond of large slot receivers, and Dever managed to start one game against Maryland. He also caught 1 pass for 26 yards against Indiana. Otherwise, he was not used much or targeted often. Still, that’s a pretty solid redshirt sophomore year for a walk-on.

Michigan has few established receivers going into the 2015 season. Amara Darboh is a possession guy, and Jehu Chesson seems to be a role player. Otherwise, the receiving corps is full of question marks. For the second year in a row, Dever got a fair amount of run in the spring game and looks like a guy who can catch an occasional ball. He is not going to beat anybody over the top or break any long runs after a catch, but Michigan is going to have to dink and dunk its way down the field unless a deep threat appears out of nowhere. It seems like Michigan is full of possession guys and not much else.

Prediction: Backup wide receiver

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

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