Who might not return on offense in 2018?

Tag: Kekoa Crawford


7Dec 2017
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Who might not return on offense in 2018?

Ian Bunting (image via Land of 10)

As I looked at the scholarship count for 2018 (LINK), there were a number of names that stuck out of guys who don’t have a clear path to playing time. This post is intended to examine some of those players’ potential to contribute in the future. This is NOT based on any rumors, but simply logic.

QUARTERBACK: With just four players on scholarship for 2018 – including two true freshmen – it wouldn’t make much sense for anyone to leave. Brandon Peters (RS So.) should be the #1 guy, and Dylan McCaffrey (RS Fr.) would presumably be the primary backup. Both of them were recruited by Jim Harbaugh, and both of them are talented, 4-star guys. The one guy who could throw a wrench into those plans is Shea Patterson, a potential transfer from Ole Miss (LINK).

FULLBACK: Michigan loses its top two guys at fullback, but the next guy will be just a sophomore in 2018, and that’s Ben Mason. With Mason looking like the clear front-runner to start, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense for Jared Wangler (RS Sr.) to return in 2018. Not only was Wangler a linebacker for his first few years on campus, but he was at least fourth on the depth chart this season. There are walk-ons who could surpass him, and so far Michigan hasn’t deployed a fullback as light as him (229 lbs.) under Jim Harbaugh

RUNNING BACK: Departures happen all the time, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if someone leaves in the next year or two. However, the running backs are spaced out pretty well, from senior Karan Higdon to junior Chris Evans to redshirt sophomore Kareem Walker to the freshmen.

WIDE RECEIVER: Drake Harris and Maurice Ways, Jr. have already chosen to depart, so that thins the ranks a little bit, but Michigan brought in four wideouts in the 2017 class. With a lot of trust being put in Donovan Peoples-Jones and Tarik Black, there seemed to be less and less emphasis on Kekoa Crawford and Eddie McDoom this year than expected. Neither one redshirted and both could go elsewhere to have two years of eligibility left. Much like the Shea Patterson situation, the potential arrival of Ole Miss’s Van Jefferson could be disruptive to their careers, too.

TIGHT END: The departure that makes the most sense is Ian Bunting (RS Sr.). I thought Bunting was going to replace Jake Butt pretty well, but instead, Bunting was passed up by every other scholarship tight end on the roster, all of whom are younger. Zach Gentry (RS Jr.), Sean McKeon (Jr.), Tyrone Wheatley, Jr. (RS Jr.), and even Nick Eubanks (RS So.) were used earlier in the season and/or games than Bunting. Bunting had just 1 catch for 6 yards on the season. Along the same lines, Wheatley is getting older and seems to have two guys ahead of him (Gentry and McKeon).

OFFENSIVE LINE: With the uncertainty on the offensive line and two seniors graduating (Mason Cole, Patrick Kugler), there are two starting spots available, and Michigan likes to use six or seven linemen a game for random formations and short yardage stuff.

23Oct 2017
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Michigan vs. Penn State Awards

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Brandon Peters. Peters has only played a couple snaps this season, which included a handoff and a quick pass to Mo Ways for 4 yards. I wasn’t one of the guys longing for Peters against Penn State, but if Michigan can pull away from Rutgers, it would be nice to get Peters some snaps.

Hit the jump for the rest of the weekly awards.

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10Oct 2017
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Michigan vs. Michigan State Awards

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Maurice Ways. Michigan tried a couple fade routes on Saturday, though they were ill fated. One was to Sean McKeon – which isn’t a terrible idea – and another was to Eddie McDoom, which is a little more suspect. Ways was a high school basketball player who didn’t concentrate on football until he realized that it’s pretty tough to succeed in basketball if you’re “only” a 6’3″ wing. He might be a better fade option than McDoom or McKeon, who have not shown an ability yet to go up and get the ball.

Hit the jump for the rest of the awards.

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25Sep 2017
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Michigan vs. Purdue Awards

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Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . John O’Korn. You don’t want to see anyone get injured, but O’Korn did a pretty good job in place of the banged up Wilton Speight. O’Korn was 18/26 for 270 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception, and he put up the best quarterback performance of the season. He also led Michigan on its two longest drives of the season (84 and 86 yards), including going 3-for-3 in the red zone. O’Korn also passed the eye test with some very good throws, quick decisions, and scrambling ability. O’Korn should be the starter moving forward.

Hit the jump for the rest of the awards.

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18Sep 2017
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Michigan vs. Air Force Awards

Zach Gentry (image via Scout)

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Zach Gentry. Gentry’s snaps seem to have increased over the past week or two, and his targets have, too. After not recording a reception in week one, he has 3 catches for 71 yards in the last two games. It was mentioned during the broadcast yesterday that Tim Drevno sees him as being similar to Coby Fleener at the same age, except a better blocker. That’s saying something, considering Gentry is still a terrible blocker. Regardless, Michigan needs offensive playmakers, and Gentry can get separation from linebackers and safeties.

Hit the jump for more awards from Saturday’s win.

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