Brian Smith, Ex-Wolverine

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8Dec 2017
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Brian Smith, Ex-Wolverine

Brian Smith (image via MGoBlue.com)

Safeties coach Brian Smith is leaving Ann Arbor to become the defensive coordinator at Rice. Rice hired a new coach this off-season named Mike Bloomgren, who worked with Smith with the New York Jets.

Michigan will be on its third safeties coach of the Jim Harbaugh era, following Greg Jackson in 2015 and Smith in 2016-2017. The safeties played fairly well under Smith, considering he had two first-time starters (Tyree Kinnel, Josh Metellus) in 2017 and helped get Delano Hill to be a mid-round draft pick. However, the safeties were considered to be the weak spot of Michigan’s defense in 2017.

It’s possible that cornerbacks coach Mike Zordich could take over the entire secondary, and it’s also possible that Michigan promotes from within – Devin Bush, Sr. is a former NFL and Florida State player who was a big-time head coach in Florida. Otherwise, I have confidence that whoever Jim Harbaugh and Don Brown bring in will do a very good job with the players on the field. As a recruiter, Smith wasn’t talked about much by recruits, so perhaps the next guy will have a little more pull.

On a side note, Scott Turner is slated to become Michigan’s 10th assistant coach following the New Year, but he’s an offensive guy who will probably slide in as the wide receivers coach. It will be interesting to see whether it’s Turner or some other staffer who steps in for Smith on the recruiting trail for now, since non-coaches can’t recruit.

8Dec 2017
Blog, homepage 8 comments

Visitors: December 7-9, 2017

Shea Patterson (#20)

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TRANSFER

Deontay Anderson – S – Ole Miss: Anderson is a 6’1″, 221 lb. safety who missed the 2017 season with an injury. He made 32 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 1 interception in 2016. Michigan offered him coming out of high school, but he never visited campus. Anderson was a 4-star, the #2 safety, and #52 overall in the 2016 class. He would be a redshirt sophomore in 2018.

Van Jefferson – WR – Ole Miss: Jefferson is a 6’2″, 195 lb. wideout who spent the past three seasons at Ole Miss, including a redshirt year in 2015. He had 42 catches for 456 yards and 1 touchdown this past season. Michigan recruited him out of high school, and he’s the son of former NFL wide receiver Shawn Jefferson, who spent some time playing and coaching for the Detroit Lions. Van was a 4-star, the #11 wide receiver, and #106 overall in the 2015 recruiting class. He would be a redshirt junior in 2018.

Shea Patterson – QB – Ole Miss: I put together an entire post on the potential to get Patterson (LINK).

Hit the jump for more visitors.

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7Dec 2017
Blog, homepage 2 comments

Who might not return on offense in 2018?

Ian Bunting (image via Land of 10)

As I looked at the scholarship count for 2018 (LINK), there were a number of names that stuck out of guys who don’t have a clear path to playing time. This post is intended to examine some of those players’ potential to contribute in the future. This is NOT based on any rumors, but simply logic.

QUARTERBACK: With just four players on scholarship for 2018 – including two true freshmen – it wouldn’t make much sense for anyone to leave. Brandon Peters (RS So.) should be the #1 guy, and Dylan McCaffrey (RS Fr.) would presumably be the primary backup. Both of them were recruited by Jim Harbaugh, and both of them are talented, 4-star guys. The one guy who could throw a wrench into those plans is Shea Patterson, a potential transfer from Ole Miss (LINK).

FULLBACK: Michigan loses its top two guys at fullback, but the next guy will be just a sophomore in 2018, and that’s Ben Mason. With Mason looking like the clear front-runner to start, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense for Jared Wangler (RS Sr.) to return in 2018. Not only was Wangler a linebacker for his first few years on campus, but he was at least fourth on the depth chart this season. There are walk-ons who could surpass him, and so far Michigan hasn’t deployed a fullback as light as him (229 lbs.) under Jim Harbaugh

RUNNING BACK: Departures happen all the time, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if someone leaves in the next year or two. However, the running backs are spaced out pretty well, from senior Karan Higdon to junior Chris Evans to redshirt sophomore Kareem Walker to the freshmen.

WIDE RECEIVER: Drake Harris and Maurice Ways, Jr. have already chosen to depart, so that thins the ranks a little bit, but Michigan brought in four wideouts in the 2017 class. With a lot of trust being put in Donovan Peoples-Jones and Tarik Black, there seemed to be less and less emphasis on Kekoa Crawford and Eddie McDoom this year than expected. Neither one redshirted and both could go elsewhere to have two years of eligibility left. Much like the Shea Patterson situation, the potential arrival of Ole Miss’s Van Jefferson could be disruptive to their careers, too.

TIGHT END: The departure that makes the most sense is Ian Bunting (RS Sr.). I thought Bunting was going to replace Jake Butt pretty well, but instead, Bunting was passed up by every other scholarship tight end on the roster, all of whom are younger. Zach Gentry (RS Jr.), Sean McKeon (Jr.), Tyrone Wheatley, Jr. (RS Jr.), and even Nick Eubanks (RS So.) were used earlier in the season and/or games than Bunting. Bunting had just 1 catch for 6 yards on the season. Along the same lines, Wheatley is getting older and seems to have two guys ahead of him (Gentry and McKeon).

OFFENSIVE LINE: With the uncertainty on the offensive line and two seniors graduating (Mason Cole, Patrick Kugler), there are two starting spots available, and Michigan likes to use six or seven linemen a game for random formations and short yardage stuff.

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