With an outstanding defense and a competent offense, a lot of Michigan players will need to decide whether to stay at Michigan for 2019 or to head for greener pastures in the NFL (or elsewhere). Here’s a look at the players that I have the biggest questions about going forward.
Ben Bredeson – OG – Junior
Bredeson, a 6’5″ and 320 lb. offensive guard, has said that he is leaning toward returning to Michigan in 2019. Bredeson was a 4-star recruit coming out of high school who made eight starts as a true freshman and has been a full-season starter for the past two years. He has been a Second Team All-Big Ten selection for the past two seasons, both by the coaches and the media. While he has been a good player at Michigan and anchors the left side of the line for a left-hand-dominant team, he has not yet proven to be the road-grader that many expected. Bredeson would most likely get drafted in 2019, but I think he would be a third-day selection. If he returns to develop for one more year, I think he could potentially work his way up into the second day with an outside shot at the first round.
Verdict: Stay in school
Devin Bush, Jr. – LB – Junior
Bush is listed at 5’11”, 232 lbs., and the biggest knock on him is that he lacks size. Well, he’s probably not going to get any bigger at this point. His father, who played at Florida State and in the NFL, was listed at 6’0″, 210 lbs. The younger Bush was 1st Team All-Big Ten and an All-American in 2017, and he is quite possibly headed for the same accolades here in 2018. He finished the 2018 regular season with 80 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, and 6 pass breakups. He’s a sideline-to-sideline player who hits like a ton of bricks and can cover. At worst he’s a backup linebacker and special teams player in the NFL; at best he’s a tackling machine who fits in well with the new age of small, quick linebackers. I don’t see much of a reason for him to stay at Michigan in 2019, but I would be happy if he did.
Verdict: Go pro
Rashan Gary – DE – Junior
Gary, of course, has already decided to go pro. As the #1 overall recruit in the 2016 class, it was expected by many that he would be headed to the NFL as soon as possible. Not only has he hit three years, but he also suffered from some shoulder problems during his college career. In an attempt to preserve himself for the NFL, it makes sense that he would want to jump into the draft now. It would be very unfortunate if he came back next year, suffered further shoulder injuries, and still wasn’t getting paid for his efforts and pain. I think Gary made the right choice.
Verdict: Go pro
Hit the jump for a look at some other players who might be considering leaving.