Spring Practice Rumblings: April 4, 2017

Spring Practice Rumblings: April 4, 2017


April 4, 2017

Khaleke Hudson (#7, image via Zimbio)

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 JeterRon 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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40 comments

  1. Comments: 905
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Apr 04, 2017 at 8:09 AM

    God forbid an injury at safety.

    • Comments: 2083
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Apr 04, 2017 at 8:21 AM

      Yeah, it’s pretty thin back there.

    • Comments: 54
      Joined: 4/4/2017
      umbig11
      Apr 04, 2017 at 3:07 PM

      QB, Speight has seperated himself from the pack. It’s a matter of who will be the back up, O’Korn or Peters? Malzone will be transferring out at the end of spring.

      RB, It’s Evans, Higdon, Walker (rising), and Isaac. Man, Isaac caught a break with Coach Wheatley leaving. Wheat did not like Isaac’s game and they did not see eye-to-eye.

      OL after 4 practices:

      Cole/Bredeson/Kugler/Onwenu/JBB

      JBB struggling at times (run & pass pro), backed up by Runyan/Ulizio/Spanellis
      Ruiz may crack the first 5. he is a techinichian and very quick with size and power.

      WR’s are in pencil, but Crawford/Harris/McDoom is correct. Black will play and DPJ will likely start by fall. He is a frisbee catching dog. Anything near him he will catch. Johnson playing great in the slot too.

      DL, Gary/Mone/Hurst/Winovich….check. Help will come from Marshall/Dwmfour/Jones/ Kemp. Kemp is beast!! Solomon will play out of necessity when he arrives. R. Johnson will contribute as well. Goodbye Shelton Johnson.

      Viper, it is all Hudson no matter what you hear about Metellus. Hudson will be backed up by Uche/Furbush/Glasgow.

      LB’s, traditional sets belong to Furbush/Wroblewski/Uche/Mason and of corse you have McCray/Bosse and Bush/Wroblewski. Add Mason to the Mike.

      CB’s, it’s the Hill & Long show. Ambry Thomas and Watson will snare the nickel/dime.

      Safeties, Meltellus & Kinnel (all big ten somewhere on the 2nd or 3rd team)

      • Comments: 2083
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Apr 04, 2017 at 3:21 PM

        Thanks for the input, umbig11!

        • Comments: 54
          Joined: 4/4/2017
          umbig11
          Apr 04, 2017 at 3:27 PM

          My pleasure!

      • Comments: 3186
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Apr 04, 2017 at 3:42 PM

        Thanks for the info!

        Malzone not too surprising given the depth.

        What does it say about Isaac that he is 4th even after “catching a break”?

        Seen it said Kugler wouldn’t be back if he didn’t think he had a shot to start.

        WR have to wonder if Perry will immediately jump McDoom/Harris or get passed for good.

        S.Johnson departure been rumored for about a year now.

        DB depth is pretty scary.

        • Comments: 54
          Joined: 4/4/2017
          umbig11
          Apr 04, 2017 at 4:58 PM

          Perry may lose his scholarship due to the District Court charges. I doubt he returns at this point. Isaac has new life! Second best inside runner imo.

          • Comments: 3186
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Apr 04, 2017 at 7:54 PM

            Higdon or Walker being the first?

            • Comments: 54
              Joined: 4/4/2017
              umbig11
              Apr 04, 2017 at 9:24 PM

              Higdon

      • Comments: 571
        Joined: 1/19/2016
        je93
        Apr 04, 2017 at 4:04 PM

        Cannnot upvote this, but THANKS!

        • Comments: 54
          Joined: 4/4/2017
          umbig11
          Apr 04, 2017 at 4:55 PM

          No worries! More to come. I will have complete practice notes from today at around 9 pm.

  2. Comments: 571
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Apr 04, 2017 at 9:13 AM

    Damn, now I want more!

    Great stuff. Our Secondary is so scary… we NEED a third (and fourth) Safety (and Corner)

  3. Comments: 8
    Joined: 9/8/2016
    jjll81
    Apr 04, 2017 at 9:28 AM

    Curious of the mystery lineman who has decided to leave the program. Perhaps Kugler based upon the practice buzz?

    • Comments: 54
      Joined: 4/4/2017
      umbig11
      Apr 04, 2017 at 3:13 PM

      Kugler will stay if he is in the top 7 OL. I think people are confusing Lineman with “D Lineman,” Shelton Johnson will be gone.

  4. JC
    Comments: 121
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    JC
    Apr 04, 2017 at 10:43 AM

    OL is terrifying.

    DB is scary.

    Reuben Jones at both ends? Roster says his weight is 222. I think he would have to put on a few stones before being serviceable at SDE.

    • Comments: 2083
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Apr 04, 2017 at 10:49 AM

      He’s reportedly bigger this year, which is to be expected for a guy his age. But keep in mind that this is spring – all the seniors are gone, and not all the freshmen are on campus. Sometimes guys pull double duty in the spring when they don’t really fit. For example, at Michigan’s open practice last year, Shane Morris was playing QB and WR. Freddy Canteen played WR/CB a couple springs ago.

  5. Comments: 131
    Joined: 9/15/2015
    ragingbull
    Apr 04, 2017 at 11:26 AM

    OL aside (though thats about what i expected, they dont have much more than those 7, at least until another frosh or 2 arrive this summer), hudson may top the list in terms of significance of spring ball development. always great to hear any player has grown and seems to better understand his role and how to best lock it down but hudson would be a key one. OL and QB are huge, obviously. but those DBs are thin, they need the front runners to step up, get comfortable and remain healthy. weve seen glimpses of kinnel and metellus (and some of the corners) but hudson didnt do much last year other than special teams so great to hear hes more comfortable and making plays. kid could play a big role – they certainly need him to, thats for sure.

    ive had long pegged as all big ten caliber since he signed, hes clearly got the goods, but its another story to stay healthy and do it consistently – so also great to hear long is making things happen. its just spring ball, and still early on in spring at that, but still comforting when some of the expected DB starters appear to be meeting expectations

    • Comments: 3186
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Apr 04, 2017 at 3:46 PM

      Hudson was projected to viper as a recruit by many people. I think they put him at safety out of need (with no other depth available) but supposedly he struggled in coverage there. Call him the Peppers-lite.

      Could perhaps be encouraging about Kinnel and Metellus that they moved Hudson to viper. The move to safety could have been about development too.

  6. Comments: 3186
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Apr 04, 2017 at 3:37 PM

    Great roundup.

    QB – duh on the starter. The battle for #2 may last into fall.
    RB – same as comment above.
    WR – Isn’t there talk that McDoom is an outside guy?
    OL – clusterf
    TE – things seem strangely quiet and boring. Not sure if this is concerning.

    On D…

    DL – Seems like Johnson’s been getting consistent hype back through the end of last season. Kemp is also impressing some people. As I’ve been saying, DL depth is going to be a non-issue barring 2015-level injuries.
    LB – Walk-on pushing a starter is filed under very bad news.
    CB – Long stepping up is huge. I don’t think it’s bad news for Hill necessarily. Hopefully the lack of buzz on Watson is more a function of a boring reliable vet being quiet than a Washington situation where he is struggling. The overall reports on the corners have been highly encouraging.

    • Comments: 54
      Joined: 4/4/2017
      umbig11
      Apr 04, 2017 at 3:41 PM

      McDoom is an inside guy. Spring and early fall they will move guys around. Right now, I am very doubtful that Perry ever returns (not looking good in District Court). Therefore, McDoom/N. Johnson are on the inside.

      • Comments: 3186
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Apr 04, 2017 at 3:47 PM

        Makes sense. Thanks.

    • Comments: 637
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Apr 04, 2017 at 10:18 PM

      Yes, it’s always a little concerning to see a walk-on challenging for a starting role at this level. We have roster holes and sub-par player development at this position, among others. I take whatever small encouragement I can from the fact that Wroblewski is a fifth year senior who’s been around the program the whole time, and at least has some football awareness, and saw the field in 9 games last year.

    • Painter Smurf
      Comments: 191
      Joined: 8/12/2015
      Painter Smurf
      Apr 04, 2017 at 11:57 PM

      Any talk of a battle for the #2 QB spot has to be coachspeak. O’korn blew it last year in grand fashion by looking worse than Nick Sheridan out there. No way JH has any confidence in him. JH won’t be wasting the #2 QB practice snaps on O’korn come fall.

      • Comments: 571
        Joined: 1/19/2016
        je93
        Apr 05, 2017 at 12:04 AM

        Makes sense PS, but why betting him back for a 5th year?
        We had needs: secondary being a big one

      • Comments: 2083
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Apr 05, 2017 at 7:37 AM

        I agree with je93 above (why bring him back for a 5th year if they don’t think he can help them?), but O’Korn looked good the rest of the year. It might have been nerves in his first start at Michigan, or maybe it was the weather (it was cold and snowy) that affected him, but I don’t think that Indiana performance was indicative of his overall capabilities.

      • Comments: 54
        Joined: 4/4/2017
        umbig11
        Apr 05, 2017 at 7:43 AM

        There is a very clear pecking order right now:

        QB #1 Speight
        QB #2 O’Korn
        QB #3 Peters
        QB #4 it isn’t Malzone lol (A kid named Sessa has taken those reps for the last two practices)

      • Comments: 3186
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Apr 05, 2017 at 3:26 PM

        If JH took that attitude they would have given up on Speight too.

  7. Comments: 54
    Joined: 4/4/2017
    umbig11
    Apr 04, 2017 at 3:44 PM

    Dwumfour is not really out for the spring as some have reported. He is practicing, but he is limited due to last year’s upper body injury. He will contribute this fall.

  8. Comments: 54
    Joined: 4/4/2017
    umbig11
    Apr 04, 2017 at 5:20 PM

    TE Flex- Gentry & McKeon getting run. Gentry still can’t block worth a damn today.

    • Comments: 3186
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Apr 04, 2017 at 7:53 PM

      Beyond the starters (Wheatley/Bunting) it was McKeon and Gentry that we hope to get some development from. Still have not heard much of anything from Eubanks. Interesting for a guy supposedly recruited by Alabama.

      Thanks for the updates.

      • Comments: 54
        Joined: 4/4/2017
        umbig11
        Apr 04, 2017 at 8:08 PM

        Eubanks is kind of stuck at TE #5.

    • Comments: 2083
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Apr 04, 2017 at 10:36 PM

      Gentry’s inability to block is a concern. You have to wonder if flexing him out is worth it when a guy like Moe Ways or Kekoa Crawford can block just as well or better. Of course, they don’t offer the same height mismatch, but they have other advantages. Gentry has a ton of potential, but I wonder if he’ll ever realize it. It would be very disappointing for all involved if he can’t put things together for a decent season or two before he graduates.

      • Comments: 54
        Joined: 4/4/2017
        umbig11
        Apr 04, 2017 at 11:00 PM

        He is very athletic and creates a huge mismatch. He has had two very good practices in a row. We will have to wait and see.

      • Comments: 3186
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Apr 05, 2017 at 3:24 PM

        I think the main thing is creating mismatches. If you put Ways in as a 3rd WR the D reacts with a DB. If you put in Gentry instead, he likely gets covered by a LB. Who is more likely to win their matchup?

        Of course one can invert this argument about the run game, but what’s more likely to generate a big impact play — Ways executing his blocking assignment in space or Gentry getting wide open against a LB.

        The most important factor may be the element of surprise. Michigan had success for a while with Devin Funchess abusing whatever LB was thrown at him when he was a nominal TE. Eventually though, teams figured out he was one-dimensional and should be treated like a WR. Funchess wasn’t effective as an every down TE and eventually the trick was done and Funchess moved to WR.

        Anyway, Michigan has been using one-dimensional TEs who can’t block for many years now with some success. Hopefully, eventually, Gentry’s blocking is more Butt than Funchess-level.

  9. Comments: 54
    Joined: 4/4/2017
    umbig11
    Apr 04, 2017 at 6:50 PM

    Correction, it was Ron Johnson being coached up by Mattison. shelton is gone.

    • Comments: 2083
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Apr 04, 2017 at 10:36 PM

      Yeah, you surprised me with that one earlier. But it’s probably easy to get those guys confused out there.

      • Comments: 54
        Joined: 4/4/2017
        umbig11
        Apr 04, 2017 at 11:01 PM

        Please delete that post. Yikes. Lol

  10. Comments: 54
    Joined: 4/4/2017
    umbig11
    Apr 04, 2017 at 9:18 PM

    Grant Perry Situation: I am utterly amazed at how far this has progressed. No plea deal and no alternative program. If this goes to the jury and he faces the felony charge, it will not end well. His word against the police officer and other witnesses. To top that off, he still has to face the CSC charges and she did not agree to any plea deals. She wants him prosecuted. One drunk night in East Lansing has probably cost him a scholarship and a criminal record.

    HEARING SET: EVENT: JURY TRIAL CRIMINAL DATE: 05/15/2017 TIME: 8:30 AM JUDGE: DRAGANCHUK, JOYCE A LOCATION: COURTROOM 8 – VETERANS MEMORIAL

  11. Comments: 54
    Joined: 4/4/2017
    umbig11
    Apr 05, 2017 at 1:27 PM

    How do I create or start a post?

    • Comments: 2083
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Apr 05, 2017 at 1:30 PM

      I just sent you an e-mail with a couple of options. Let me know how you want to proceed. Thanks!

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