This is by no means meant to be an all-encompassing post, so don’t take this as gospel. However, here are some of the rumblings I’ve gathered coming out of spring practice:
- QB: Wilton Speight is #1, while Brandon Peters is pushing John O’Korn for the #2 spot. I have heard nothing about Alex Malzone, who appears to be an afterthought. Peters is supposedly the real deal.
- RB: Chris Evans is the top dog. I’ve heard mention of both Kareem Walker and Karan Higdon as looking like the #2 guy. With the way Michigan seems to rotate running backs, all can probably expect to see significant time. I’ve heard a few good things about Ty Isaac, but previous hype has led to just a bit of playing time, so an absence of hype means . . . I don’t know.
- WR: Everything I’ve heard has Kekoa Crawford at or near the top of the pecking order at wide receiver. I’ve also heard a lot about Drake Harris. Eddie McDoom is being pushed in the slot by Nate Johnson. As expected, Donovan Peoples-Jones has been impressive and will play, while Tarik Black has also looked like a good player for down the road. Another name I’ve heard mentioned several times is Moe Ways.
- OL: I’ve heard three or four different combinations on the offensive line as being the “first group,” so that probably means it’s in flux. Here’s basically who’s guaranteed to start somewhere: Ben Bredeson, Mason Cole, and Michael Onwenu. Onwenu is obviously a guard, but Bredeson can be a tackle/guard, and Cole has been working at center and left tackle. The other names being bandied about: Juwann Bushell-Beatty, Nolan Ulizio, Cesar Ruiz, and Jon Runyan, Jr. Bushell-Beatty has been playing the right side almost exclusively, and it sounds like it will either be Cole or Bredeson at left tackle.
- DL: Rashan Gary looks great, and Chase Winovich has added some weight while still looking quick. Those are probably your starters at defensive end. Bryan Mone is the nose tackle, and Maurice Hurst, Jr. is playing 3-tech. Michael Dwumfour is out for the spring (UPDATE: It sounds like Dwumfour is just dinged up and limited). The coaches like what they’ve seen from Donovan Jeter. Ron Johnson, Jr. will probably be the backup weakside end, and Reuben Jones has been playing both end spots.
- LB: Mike McCray II is the weakside linebacker, while Devin Bush, Jr. and Mike Wroblewski are battling for the MIKE. Bush is probably going to win that spot, but Wroblewski has some buzz going for being a smart, run-stopping inside linebacker. Noah Furbush is probably the SAM linebacker when they run a 4-3 look.
- CB: Lavert Hill and David Long, Jr. look like the starting corners, and I’m hearing more positive buzz about Long than Hill. He was injured last year, which is why he fell off, but he looks like the #1 guy. Ambry Thomas is supposedly a future star, and Benjamin St-Juste look good, too. I have heard nothing positive about Brandon Watson or Keith Washington.
- S: At this point it would be surprising if anyone starts at safety other than Tyree Kinnel and Joshua Metellus. The coaches like Jaylen Kelly-Powell, but he’s too small.
- Viper: Maybe the only guy on the team getting more buzz than Khaleke Hudson is Rashan Gary. Last year the game was moving too quickly for Hudson to contribute much on defense, but this year he’s adjusted to the playbook and looks like a potential star.
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