Michigan vs. Penn State Awards

Tag: Mike McCray

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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22Oct 2017
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Penn State 42, Michigan 13

This looks like a “Finish him!” moment from Mortal Kombat (image via AL.com)

A loss is a loss. I predicted a 20-9 loss, which was obviously incorrect. It ended up being a 42-13 loss. Remember when Michigan beat Penn State 49-10 last year? The Nittany Lions went on to win the Big Ten. Obviously, a 42-13 loss hurts at the time, but so do close losses. The bottom line is that Michigan is 5-2, and this game was confirmation that Michigan doesn’t have it this year. It was said all off-season – you don’t lose that many players to the NFL and go right back where you started. Michigan lost its top two wide receivers, one of the best TEs in the country, three senior starting linemen, and basically 11 starters on defense. And this year, they’re already down the #1 QB and the #1 WR. No rational person was expecting a Michigan win in Happy Valley at night, so let’s not overreact.

Hit the jump for more on the game.

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28Aug 2017
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2017 Season Countdown: #5b Mike McCray II

Mike McCray II (image via Medium)

Name: Mike McCray II
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 248 lbs.
High school: Trotwood (OH) Trotwood-Madison
Position: Linebacker
Class: Fifth year senior
Jersey number: #9
Last year: I ranked McCray #19 and said McCray would be the starting WILL linebacker with 60 tackles. He made 75 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 4 pass breakups, and 6 quarterback hurries.
TTB Rating: 74

McCray spent a lot of time a) playing special teams and b) being injured prior to 2016, and there was even a question about whether he would be able to continue his football career. A lingering shoulder injury has caused him problems, and he wears a harness over that shoulder to protect him from further injury. So when he solidified himself as Michigan’s starting weakside linebacker last season, there was some trepidation about whether that role would last.

He hit the ground running, though. At 6’4″ and 248 lbs., he’s a very large weakside linebacker, but he was impressive in coverage and on the blitz. Pro Football Focus names him the #3 returning linebacker in the Big Ten, #1 in pass rushing, and #2 in pass coverage (LINK). He struggled occasionally with finishing tackles in space, a problem that I think was overblown at times. Yes, the 6’4″, 248-pounder had trouble corralling scatbacks in open space, which shouldn’t be surprising. That’s like complaining that a 5’7″ cornerback struggles to cover a 6’6″ tight end. It’s his job to do that, but you know ahead of time that’s not his strength and throw him out there, anyway, because he’s good at other stuff.

Recently, McCray was named a captain for the 2017 unit, along with offensive tackle Mason Cole. As the only returning starter from 2016, McCray is looked at as a leader and highly competent player. He could very well be an All-Big Ten performer this year, especially if Wisconsin linebackers keep dropping like flies. Sometimes all-conference accolades are given out as lifetime achievement awards, and if McCray can produce like he did last year – or maybe just a bit better – I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him earn those honors.

Prediction: Starting weakside linebacker; Second Team All-Big Ten

1May 2017
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Michigan’s Top Six 2018 NFL Draft Prospects

Maurice Hurst, Jr. (image via MLive)

Michigan set a school record for the number of players chosen in the 2017 NFL Draft, and it’s almost impossible to replicate talent production like that in consecutive years. So the Wolverines are bound to have a less exciting draft weekend in 2018, but the cupboard isn’t totally bare.

Here’s a look at Michigan’s top NFL prospects for the 2018 class:

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