Michigan vs. Michigan State Awards

Tag: Donovan Peoples-Jones

22Oct 2018
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Michigan vs. Michigan State Awards

Donovan Peoples-Jones (image via Twitter)

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Dylan McCaffrey. We have seen Penn State use two quarterbacks on the field at the same time with some effectiveness in recent years, and they also let running backs take direct snaps on occasion. I would like to see the Wolverines give McCaffrey a couple plays on the field with Shea Patterson, like they did briefly against Wisconsin. McCaffrey is a good enough athlete to do a few different things (run, catch, and throw).

Hit the jump for the rest of the awards.

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23Sep 2018
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Michigan 56, Nebraska 10

This wasn’t deemed a penalty until much deliberation (image via Lincoln Journal Star)

That was unexpected. Nebraska isn’t very good this season, but I still thought Michigan would struggle. I predicted a 24-17 game in which the Wolverines would play down to the level of the Cornhuskers. I was wrong. Michigan’s defense played superb football, and the offensive line was overwhelmed the whole day. It also helped that Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez was not up to full speed after getting hurt against Colorado; he wore a knee brace and only seemed to be operating at 75% or so. Michigan’s offense was also clicking at a higher level than they have been, and that’s a credit to them. Nebraska’s defense shouldn’t have been as out of sync as the offense, but a Michigan offense that had been struggling in many ways really took it to them.

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15Sep 2018
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Michigan 45, SMU 20

Zach Gentry (image via Valdosta Daily Times)

Donovan Peoples-Jones had his breakout game. I predicted a breakout game for Peoples-Jones with 100+ yards and a touchdown, but it was even better than that. He caught 4 passes for 90 yards and 3 touchdowns. I did not think SMU’s secondary would match up well with Peoples-Jones, and they didn’t. He had his way with their defensive backs all day, and the only thing that prevented him from going off even more was questionable offensive line play. I don’t think Peoples-Jones will get a lot of opportunities to have days like this due to the offensive line and a questionable offensive philosophy altogether, so let’s enjoy these 90-yard days while we can.

Hit the jump for the rest of my quick thoughts on the game.

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30Aug 2018
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2018 Season Predictions

Nico Collins (image via Twitter)

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Karan Higdon emerged from last season as the de facto starting running back, and there’s no reason to think he’ll lose that job now, especially after adding about 15 lbs. of muscle in the off-season. Chris Evans projects to be the #2 guy.
Prediction: Karan Higdon, 1100 yards

The wide receiver position is a huge mess right now after the transfers of Eddie McDoom, Drake Harris, Maurice Ways, and Kekoa Crawford . . . and, oh yeah, the injury to Tarik Black’s foot. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see a tight end lead the team in receiving yards, but I’ll go with Donovan Peoples-Jones. He’s one of four healthy scholarship receivers on the roster, along with Grant Perry, Oliver Martin, Ronnie Bell, and Nico Collins.
Prediction: Donovan Peoples-Jones, 750 yards

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23Aug 2018
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2018 Season Countdown: #6 Donovan Peoples-Jones

Donovan Peoples-Jones

Name: Donovan Peoples-Jones
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 199 lbs.
High school: Detroit (MI) Cass Tech
Position: Wide receiver
Class: Sophomore
Jersey number: #9
Last year: I ranked Peoples-Jones #34 and said he would be a backup wide receiver (LINK). He started four games and made 22 catches for 277 yards (12.6 yards/catch). He also ran 4 times for 57 yards (14.2 yards/carry) and returned 40 punts for 320 yards (8.0 yards/return) and 1 touchdown.
TTB Rating: 92

Peoples-Jones was a superstar coming out of high school, but even so, I thought he would be a backup in 2017. Receiver is not an extremely position to adjust to when you jump up a level in competition. Fellow freshman Tarik Black seemed to make that adjustment quicker, but neither one was extremely productive for any stretch of time. In Peoples-Jones’s case, he ripped off a 79-yard punt return against Air Force for a touchdown. He had a 44-yard run against Cincinnati. He had a 48-yard catch against Wisconsin and a 37-yard catch against Air Force. And he had a 42-yard punt return against Ohio State. And that’s it for plays that went for 20+ yards: 2 catches, 1 run, and 2 punt returns. Of course, the quarterback and offensive line situations did not help, but a 5-star receiving notching five total explosive plays in a full season as a freshman is a tad bit disappointing.

On the plus side, there were good reasons for that lack of production, all of which have been mitigated. He was a freshman (he’s not anymore). He didn’t have a receivers coach (Jim McElwain was hired). He didn’t have a good quarterback (enter Shea Patterson) or a good offensive line (Ed Warinner was hired). The improvement of the offensive line has yet to be seen, but most people are expecting at least a slight uptick in performance. Black and Peoples-Jones should be the starters on the outside, and I expect bigger production from Peoples-Jones. It will be interesting to see which receiver really takes the reins as the go-to guy, because it’s not often that Michigan has had two such big, physical, and athletic receivers. I think Peoples-Jones is a little more valuable than Black because DPJ returns punts and could return kickoffs, while Black is less of a special teams-style contributor.

Prediction: Starting wide receiver; 40 catches for 600 yards and 6 touchdowns

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