2017 Season Countdown: #10 Quinn Nordin

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22Aug 2017
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2017 Season Countdown: #10 Quinn Nordin

Quinn Nordin (image via Land of 10)

Name: Quinn Nordin
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 205 lbs.
High school: Rockford (MI) Rockford
Position: Kicker
Class: Redshirt freshman
Jersey number: #3
Last year: I ranked Nordin #51 and said he would be a backup punter/kicker. He redshirted.
TTB Rating: 89

Ranked by some as the nation’s top kicker, Nordin entered 2016 with an uphill climb ahead of him. It was Kenny Allen Hill, and it proved too large to surmount. Allen was a fifth year senior who pulled triple duty as the kicker, punter, and kickoff specialist. He was relieved occasionally, but not by Nordin. Nordin suffered from an injury and sat out the season, allowing him to redshirt.

Now Michigan has no proven kickers, and Nordin ranks this highly on the strength of high school hype and a 97-yard field goal in the spring game. The schedule is tougher in 2017 than it was in 2016, the offense lost some key guys, and the defense lost 11 out of 12 starters (yes, I included Jeremy Clark as a starter). Field goals might be a little more important in 2017, and hopefully Nordin is capable of living up to the hype. If he can’t, that might cost Michigan a game or two.

Prediction: Starting placekicker and kickoff specialist

21Aug 2017
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Keith Washington, Ex-Wolverine

Redshirt sophomore cornerback Keith Washington is transferring out of Michigan. I ranked Washington at #20 in the 2017 Season Countdown (LINK) and projected him as a starting cornerback after he looked like the best corner on the roster in the spring game.

Recent rumors suggested that David Long and Lavert Hill solidified themselves as the top corners, and Sam Webb intimated that Washington was no longer playing corner, presumably meaning that he had moved to safety. That makes sense for Michigan due to the low numbers at safety. But maybe it didn’t sit well with Washington, who would have been behind two sophomores at cornerback, a junior safety in Tyree Kinnel, and a sophomore safety in Josh Metellus. Maybe he simply didn’t see the path to playing time.

Washington was committed to Cal at one point, and Michigan flipped him out of Prattville (AL) Prattville. Remember that exciting pipeline to Prattville? Nobody is left. Washington is transferring, Dytarious Johnson didn’t qualify, Kingston Davis transferred to a JUCO in Kansas, and Cam Taylor – 2018 wide receiver who was offered – committed to Missouri this summer.

Not much of a pipeline after all.

21Aug 2017
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2017 Season Countdown: #11 Chris Evans

Chris Evans (image via the Michigan Daily)

Name: Chris Evans
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 200 lbs.
High school: Indianapolis (IN) Ben Davis
Position: Running back
Class: Sophomore
Jersey number: #12
Last year: I ranked Evans #70 and said he would be a backup running back and kick returner. He ran 88 times for 614 yards and 4 touchdowns, and he caught 6 passes for 87 yards.
TTB Rating: 68

When the 2016 countdown started, it was largely unknown whether Evans would end up playing running back, receiver, or defensive back at Michigan. There were rumors about all three, and it looked for a while like he would play defense. Once fall camp started, however, word started to trickle out that Evans was looking like an immediate contributor at running back. It didn’t take long for the talk of defense to dissipate entirely, and his 8-carry, 112-yard, 2-touchdown performance in his Hawaii debut made everyone wonder if Michigan discovered a star. Among other accomplishments, Evans would go on to average almost 7.0 yards/carry and score a go-ahead 30-yard TD against Florida State in exciting fashion.

Last year he played second fiddle to De’Veon Smith, but Smith graduated, opening the door for Evans. Evans got special treatment during the spring game when he was pulled early, despite being healthy. Meanwhile, the other running backs were left out there as fodder for the rest of the day. Lately, though, talk has emerged that Karan Higdon may be pushing Evans for the #1 running back spot. Regardless of how it shakes out, it seems like Michigan still doesn’t have a true bell cow of a running back, and it will be running back by committee, with Evans, Higdon, fifth year senior Ty Isaac, and others factoring into the rotation. I don’t think any of the backs will hit 1,000 yards this year, but I believe Evans will be the leading rusher when all is said and done.

Prediction: Starting running back; 110 carries, 600 yards, 6 touchdowns

20Aug 2017
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2017 Season Countdown: #12 Joshua Metellus

Joshua Metellus (image via FanRagSports)

Name: Joshua Metellus
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 204 lbs.
High school: Pembroke Pines (FL) Flanagan
Position: Safety
Class: Sophomore
Jersey number: #13
Last year: I ranked Metellus #71 and said he would redshirt. He started one game and made 15 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, and 1 blocked extra point return for a 2-point conversion.
TTB Rating: 71

Metellus may have been the biggest surprise of the 2016 class. Lightly recruited and generally ignored by the recruiting services until he became a Michigan commit, many people saw Metellus as a throw-in offer with high school teammate Devin Bush, Jr. ESPN thought highly of him, but that was about it. He wasn’t much of a factor until the Rutgers game, when he led the team in tackles with 6. At the time it didn’t seem like a huge deal, since Michigan crushed the Scarlet Knights by a score of 78-0 and Metellus did all his work when the game was well in hand. He wasn’t a major factor again until Jabrill Peppers pulled his hamstring prior to the bowl game. Suddenly, Michigan didn’t have its superstar Heisman candidate at Viper, and Metellus stepped in. He made another 6 tackles and returned a blocked extra point for a 2-point conversion – something Peppers had done against MSU earlier in the year – but there were still some glitches in his game.

This spring the coaching staff moved Metellus back to safety, since Khaleke Hudson locked down the Viper position. It’s a good thing, too, because Michigan needs safeties. Both starters (Dymonte Thomas, Delano Hill) graduated, and Peppers is gone, too. In effect, Michigan lost its top three safeties and top three cornerbacks to the NFL. Now it’s up to Metellus and junior Tyree Kinnel to hold down the back end, with freshmen and redshirt sophomore walk-on Jordan Glasgow as backups. I have a thought to put Metellus higher because of the dearth of options, but to be honest, we still don’t know what we have with Metellus. He struggled a bit against FSU at Viper, and now he’ll be in even more space at strong safety. I think Don Brown and Brian Smith will have those guys ready to go, but I can’t convince myself to move up Metellus.

Prediction: Starting strong safety; 50 tackles, 1 interception

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