2018 Season Countdown: #63 Cameron McGrone

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9Jul 2018
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2018 Season Countdown: #63 Cameron McGrone

Cameron McGrone (image via 247 Sports)

Name: Cameron McGrone
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 225 lbs.
High school: Indianapolis (IN) Lawrence Central
Position: Linebacker
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: N/A
Last year: McGrone was a senior in high school (LINK). He made 84 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, and 7 sacks.
TTB Rating: 80

McGrone tore his ACL as a junior, but in just a few months, he was basically back to full speed and wowing college coaches. He played his senior year and tallied all of the above statistics in just seven games. He parlayed that into a U.S. Army All-American Bowl invitation, a game in which he played pretty well and was named by some as one of the top performers. He showed off his sideline-to-sideline speed and came downhill, too. In fact, he was so good that 247 Sports bumped him up to a 5-star, the #1 outside linebacker, and the #24 overall player in the 2018 class. (The 247 Composite has him as a 4-star, the #7 OLB, and #114 overall.)

McGrone is a talent like Devin Bush, Jr., whom Michigan was unable to keep off the field as a freshman. McGrone isn’t quite so stout, but he might be a little more athletic, especially now that he’ll be almost two full years removed from his ACL surgery. Last year Michigan played Joshua Ross in a bit role to help prepare him for playing time in 2018, when he’ll battle Devin Gil and others for the WILL position. Now that Mike McCray II is graduated, Michigan might follow suit with McGrone, who could potentially replace Bush in 2019 if Bush jumps to the NFL after his junior year. Either way, I think McGrone will see the field this season, whether it’s on defense or special teams.

Prediction: Backup linebacker, special teamer

9Jul 2018
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2018 Season Countdown: #64 O’Maury Samuels

O’Maury Samuels (image via MWolverine)

Name: O’Maury Samuels
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 192 lbs.
High school: Los Lunas (NM) Los Lunas
Position: Running back
Class: Sophomore
Jersey number: #23
Last year: I ranked Samuels #72 and said he would be a backup running back (LINK). He ran the ball 8 times for 13 yards.
TTB Rating: 82

Samuels really had business wasting a redshirt last year on 8 carries in garbage time, but that’s the nature of the beast sometimes. Tru Wilson or Joe Hewlett or Kareem Walker or someone else could have taken those 8 carries with no issue, and now Samuels has just three years of eligibility remaining instead of four. His 1.6 yards per carry don’t look very appealing, but I go back to Karan Higdon’s 1.73 yards/carry in 2015 and shrug my shoulders.

Samuels was listed back in the spring as the #4 guy on the depth chart, behind Higdon, Chris Evans, and walk-on Tru Wilson (full disclosure: this list was made before Jim Harbaugh’s discussion of the depth chart and Kareem Walker’s departure). A minor injury may or may not have contributed to him being slotted at #4. The #4 guy last year (Walker) got 20 carries. Samuels will also have to fend off incoming freshman Christian Turner, whom I mentioned as a possible contributor as early as this year. I don’t see Samuels getting a lot of opportunities this season, and the backfield is getting crowded. He does have some serious speed, so hopefully he gets a chance to show it in the open field at some point, whether it’s in the passing game or on special teams.

Prediction: Backup running back

9Jul 2018
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Recruiting Update: July 9, 2018

Solon (OH) Solon WR Trevon Raphael (left, image via Chagrin Valley Today)

COMMITMENTS

Washington (DC) St. John’s safety Quinten Johnson committed to Michigan (LINK).

Blairstown (NJ) Blair Academy defensive end David Ojabo committed to Michigan (LINK).

ADDED TO THE BOARD: 2019

Trevon Raphael – WR – Solon (OH) Solon: Raphael is a 6’3″, 190-pounder with offers from Cincinnati, Kentucky, Maryland, Penn State, and West Virginia, among others. He’s a 247 Sports 3-star, the #69 wide receiver, and #475 overall. Raphael is a long-striding speedster, but he has only played one year of football and it shows.

Hit the jump for a look at several players who went off the board.

read more

8Jul 2018
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2018 Season Countdown: #65 Tru Wilson

Tru Wilson (image via Hudl)

Name: Tru Wilson
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 190 lbs.
High school: Warren (MI) De La Salle
Position: Running back
Class: Junior
Jersey number: #27
Last year: I ranked Wilson #84 and said he would be a backup running back and special teamer (LINK). He played on special teams.
TTB Rating: N/A

Wilson played some defensive back last season before transitioning to offense, perhaps permanently. By the end of this past spring, he had worked himself up to being the #3 running back on the depth chart, behind Karan Higdon and Chris Evans, but ahead of O’Maury Samuels, Kurt Taylor, and others. I am leery of walk-on-type running backs, because we’ve seen players like Joe Hewlett get a bunch of spring-time snaps that disappear entirely when it comes to the season. Whether it’s a motivational ploy, due to injury, or because of some other factor, these walk-ons usually end up on the sideline or playing on special teams.

I can’t put out of my mind that Wilson was a Semper Fidelis All-American coming out of high school, though, and he had several FBS offers. He’s not an average walk-on. Samuels was dinged up a little this spring, but maybe Wilson really has passed him up on the depth chart. Maybe Wilson was slowed in previous chances by not practicing on offense full-time, so maybe a permanent switch will help him play a little faster. I mentioned the other day that Ty Isaac and Kareem Walker vacated 108 carries from last season, so someone will have to eat up some of those carries behind Higdon and Evans. I’m not sure it will be Wilson, but he has a chance to do it, and he can also play on specials.

Prediction: Backup running back, special teamer

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