Way Too Early 2017 Depth Chart: January 2017

Way Too Early 2017 Depth Chart: January 2017


January 9, 2017

Wilton Speight (image via Times Leader)

Back in August I took a look at how the depth chart might look in 2017 (LINK), and then I updated it in September (LINK) and November (LINK). With the  season in the rear view mirror, there are some moves to make. Of course, things are always fluid, there will be early departures, there will be injuries, etc. But now that we know how the 2016 team looks, we might have a better view of next season.

Hit the jump for another early look at 2017.





QB: Wilton Speight (RS Jr.), John ‘Korn (5th), Brandon Peters (RS Fr.), Alex Malzone (RS So.), Dylan McCaffrey (Fr.)
RB: Chris Evans (So.), Karan Higdon (Jr.), Ty Isaac (5th), Kareem Walker (So.), Kingston Davis (So.), O’Maury Samuels (Fr.), Kurt Taylor (Fr.)
FB: Khalid Hill (5th), Henry Poggi (5th)
WR1: Eddie McDoom (So.), Donovan Peoples-Jones (Fr.), Maurice Ways (RS Jr.), Zach Gentry (RS So.)
WR2: Drake Harris (RS Jr.), Kekoa Crawford (So.), Tarik Black (Fr.), Brad Hawkins (Fr.)
WR3: Grant Perry (Jr.), Nate Johnson (So.)
TE: Ian Bunting (RS Jr.), Devin Asiasi (So.), Tyrone Wheatley (RS So.), Sean McKeon (So.), Nick Eubanks (So.)
LT: Grant Newsome (Jr.), Juwann Bushell-Beatty (RS Jr.), Ja’Raymond Hall (Fr.)Kai-Leon Herbert (Fr.)
LG: Ben Bredeson (So.), Jon Runyan (RS So.) Joel Honigford (Fr.)
C: Mason Cole (Sr.), Cesar Ruiz (Fr.)
RG: Michael Onwenu (So.), Patrick Kugler (5th), Stephen Spanellis (RS Fr.)
RT: Nolan Ulizio (RS So.), Chuck Filiaga (Fr.)Andrew Stueber (Fr.)

SDE: Rashan Gary (So.), Lawrence Marshall (RS Jr.), Carlo Kemp (So.), Deron Irving-Bey (Fr.)
DT: Maurice Hurst (5th), James Hudson III (Fr.), Donovan Jeter (Fr.), Phillip Paea (Fr.)
NT: Bryan Mone (RS Jr.), Michael Dwumfour (So.)
WDE: Chase Winovich (RS Jr.), Ron Johnson (RS Fr.), Luiji Vilain (Fr.), Shelton Johnson (RS So.), Corey Malone-Hatcher (Fr.), Kwity Paye (Fr.)
SAM: Jabrill Peppers (RS Jr.), Josh Metellus (So.), Noah Furbush (RS Jr.), Joshua Uche (So.), Jordan Glasgow (RS So.), Wyatt Shallman (5th)
MIKE: Mike McCray (5th), Reuben Jones (RS So.), Elysee Mbem-Bosse (So.), Ben Mason (Fr.)
WILL: Devin Bush (So.), Devin Gil (So.), Jordan Anthony (Fr.)Drew Singleton (Fr.), Jared Wangler (RS Jr.), Joshua Ross (Fr.)
CB: Lavert Hill (So.),  Ambry Thomas (Fr.), Keith Washington (RS So.)
CB: David Long (So.), Brandon Watson (RS Jr.), Benjamin St-Juste (Fr.)
FS: Tyree Kinnel (Jr.), Jaylen Kelly-Powell (Fr.), Tru Wilson (So.)
SS: Khaleke Hudson (So.), J’Marick Woods (Fr.)

K: Quinn Nordin (RS Fr.), Ryan Tice (RS So.)
P: Ryan Tice (RS So.), Will Hart (RS Fr.), Quinn Nordin (RS Fr.)
LS: Andrew Robinson (RS Jr.)

Currently committed true freshmen who are not early enrollees are listed in italics.

Also, there are several players on here whom I do not expect to return to Michigan in 2017.

45 comments

  1. JC
    Comments: 71
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    JC
    Jan 09, 2017 at 7:22 AM

    In the next 2 years, we graduate 13 projected starters.

    I think this year could be rough. Next year could be a hint better.
    But the year after that is where magic could happen.

    • Comments: 1924
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jan 09, 2017 at 8:16 AM

      I think this year will be anywhere between 8-4 and 10-2. I picked 9-3 last week, but there’s some wiggle room.

      • JC
        Comments: 71
        Joined: 8/17/2015
        JC
        Jan 09, 2017 at 9:48 AM

        I wouldn’t be upset by 8-4.

        Our OL might not have Newsome, so they’re definitely losing 3, possibly 4/5 starters. The pool of candidates who have been on campus for at least 2 seasons are:

        Kugler
        Bushell-Beatty
        Ulizio
        Runyan Jr.

        That means we have 5 linemen, within the oldest 3 recruiting classes on the roster. I don’t know if the majority of the fanbase is going to fathom how much of a deterrent that will be for a great season.

        I’ve been desperately hoping for an impact freshman tackle. Cole can slide out to LT, Bredeson had reports of practicing at LT. But we need a tackle. Missing Wilson hurt. I like Steuber a lot as a prospect, but I don’t think he’ll be there without a couple years of a college weight room.

        I’m confident in Don Brown, but the defense is going to be green. Interior DL with more than 2 seasons on campus:

        Hurst
        Mone

        That’s two. Those two are our starters. That’s why I’m hoping we get Solomon back in the mix, because we desperately need some high impact talent there today. We have no NTs in this class.

      • Comments: 2369
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Jan 09, 2017 at 12:28 PM

        anywhere between 8-4 and 10-2 is very reasonable – for almost any Michigan football team in any year.

        Not disagreeing, just pointing out that this is like predicting par +/- 1

        • Comments: 1924
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Jan 09, 2017 at 2:16 PM

          Meh. I predicted 11-1 last year and some predicted 12-0. After the shock of Rodriguez’s first year (and maybe before his first year), I don’t think many people were picking 10-2 to 8-4.

          • Comments: 2369
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Jan 09, 2017 at 2:49 PM

            I mean that the consensus prediction will almost always be in that range. Some fans are always going to be several games better and some rival fans/haters are always going to be several worse, but by in large that is the expectation range Michigan operates in (8-10 wins).

            2016 was an outlier yet the objective/Vegas perspective was 10-2, even with an ‘easy’ schedule and loaded roster.

            2009 was also an outlier on the other end of the spectrum. Vegas still said 7-5 and 8-4 was common with Rodriguez confidence very high, despite coming off a 3 win year.

            Consensus had Michigan as a top 30 team headed into 2008. So 8-4 was chalk, maybe even 9-3.

    • Comments: 2369
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Jan 09, 2017 at 12:25 PM

      2 years from now we’ll be good and 3 years from now we’ll be great — true every year for every team if you ask their fans

      • Comments: 2369
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Jan 09, 2017 at 12:26 PM

        Unless of course you account for the 8-15 instances of unexpected attrition and 5-10 recruiting busts amongst incoming recruits and red-shirt freshman.

  2. Comments: 844
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Jan 09, 2017 at 7:51 AM

    You really think Honigford is a Guard?

    • Comments: 1924
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jan 09, 2017 at 8:16 AM

      I think he could play anywhere on the OL eventually, but I think he’s going to redshirt this year. And down the road, I imagine OG will be the best spot for him to earn playing time.

  3. Comments: 844
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Jan 09, 2017 at 7:53 AM

    I really like our defensive backfield.

    • Comments: 1924
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jan 09, 2017 at 8:18 AM

      There’s some talent, but I’m pretty concerned about our defensive backs. There’s not very much experience at all, and that includes safety, where experience is important. I do like Kinnel, but there’s nothing behind him except talented high schoolers.

  4. Comments: 52
    Joined: 9/28/2015
    PapaBear
    Jan 09, 2017 at 9:31 AM

    Great stuff!

    Could you give me a nutshell comparison of Kareem Walker vs. Najee Harris?

    Thank you!

    • Comments: 82
      Joined: 12/19/2015
      Extrajuice
      Jan 09, 2017 at 10:28 AM

      I’ll add my opinion but it probably doesn’t mean much. In comparison, Harris has a larger frame and is well put together. College ready right now. Walker, though still decent size needed to work on adding muscle, which he did according to what I’ve read. Both above average speed but Harris looks faster on film. He pulls away from competition in the open field. Both could improve in pass blocking but Harris has better technique coming out of high school. The biggest difference, to me, is just the natural ability. Najee breaks a lot of tackles, has better vision and is more athletic. Walker’s senior tape was not that great and he played average competition. To me, Najee is ready to step onto the field and be a difference maker in the college game. Kareem didn’t impress me much his senior year, disappointed again in 2016 as far as being prepared. That’s 2 straight years of not proving much. I see Walker about 4th on the depth chart with minimal carries next year.

      • Comments: 2369
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Jan 09, 2017 at 12:31 PM

        Ricardo Miller / Marvin Robinson vibes are strong.

    • Comments: 1924
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jan 09, 2017 at 11:49 AM

      The biggest thing is the size difference, IMO. Harris is almost 230, while Walker is about 210. That allows Harris to run more physically, and I think he does that. When he gets going downhill, he’ll lower a shoulder and run right through linebackers, safeties, and cornerbacks. That why I’ve likened him to Derrick Henry in the past. Walker tries to be a little more slippery, but he’s not extremely quick. Walker’s also fairly powerful for his size, but I think that downhill running ability is what sets Harris apart. That’s also why I think he will play really well at Alabama, because he’ll have a great OL in front of him where he can run downhill and truck people.

  5. crazyjoedavola
    Comments: 151
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    crazyjoedavola
    Jan 09, 2017 at 9:42 AM

    The only position that is a major concern from the numbers standpoint is the DT/NT, we badly need an impact player or two in this class at those positions. The OL will have to be developed but the numbers are there since almost every recruit has position flexibility. The interior DL could end up being Gary and… crickets… after next year.

    • Comments: 2369
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Jan 09, 2017 at 12:35 PM

      Think this is getting overstated a bit because of recruiting misses and how great our DL depth was last year.

      We have Mone, Hurst, and Gary to rotate on the interior. Going into any other year that’s an bounty of talent and solid experience. Not a lot of returning starts but these guys have seen plenty of snaps and Hurst especially has played great. We know Mone and Gary ooze potential – and at times have turned it into production. No shame in being backups to Glasgow and Wormley and the dropoff was minimal.

      As for backups — Michigan talent + Greg Mattison is all you need to know. We’re good.

      • crazyjoedavola
        Comments: 151
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        crazyjoedavola
        Jan 09, 2017 at 1:51 PM

        We should be fine this year, I am more worried about 2018… Gary should be a beast and Mone hopefully will be healthy, but everyone else on the interior will have to be developed… As insane as Solomon’s recruiting is, it is imperative to land that guy. I never advocate to chase after flaky recruits, but he is the most important recruit in this cycle for us besides the OL which is more or less settled now.

    • Comments: 2
      Joined: 1/9/2017
      ItsHarmabe
      Jan 09, 2017 at 12:41 PM

      I’ll trust Greg Mattison to produce a top 5 D-Line until he proves otherwise.

    • Comments: 2369
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Jan 09, 2017 at 12:49 PM

      Paea, Irving-Bey, Hudson, Jeter. All 4 of these guys should be considered DT. Some may end up a Wormley-style SDE/DT and others may end up a Hurst-style NT/DT but they’re all going to be interior-capable DL. Or the ones that last anyway.

      A bunch of these nominal WDE will end up at SDE too. Already seeing it with Kemp and Marshall. You can expect most of these kids to add 20-30 pounds.

      People sleeping on Dwumfour should not, he’s very likely to be a good to very good player. For context, Mo Hurst red-shirted on a DL that wasn’t as deep as last years. Star-gazers gonna gaze but PSU and Iowa have a track record of finding DL. Hoke and Mattison turned Glasgow into a monster and love dudes like Godin who reliably eat up blockers. Dwumfour’s going to do the job, and do it well.

      Nobody should be worried about a starting interior DL of Dumfour/Gary in 2018. Yes we do need to recruit more NTs, but this class isn’t even finished yet and we probably already have 1 or 2 in it.

  6. Comments: 82
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    Extrajuice
    Jan 09, 2017 at 10:55 AM

    Things on the Oline are gonna be interesting. I’m not panicking yet but I probably should be. A couple points I’d like to make.
    1. I don’t believe Newsome will be back this year. 38 days in a hospital screams MAJOR knee problem and cannot get his quickness and agility back by the spring and probably not Fall.
    2. Mason Cole isn’t coming back to play LT. He’s already been advised he’s a C for scouts and needs more consistent tape at that position in order to get drafted higher. This is one of the benefits of Harbaugh. He’s preparing players for NFL so the players are going to be put in positions that are beneficial to them at the next level.
    3. Since I believe Cole is staying at center, I’m interested to hear if Thunder believes Ruiz could be a guard? If so, I’m thinking Bredeson may make the transition back to LT. Not ideal since I think Bredeson struggles with speed, however, I think he is our best option due to his starting experience and due to his length.
    4. Finally, the biggest issue may be RT. I think, eventually, Filiaga could fill that spot however, it won’t be next year. He needs too much help in pass protection to be able to step in there (IMO). He looked much more raw in the game than I expected and it seemed like he had a rough week. Bredeson may the the RT if someone else steps forward for LT.

    • crazyjoedavola
      Comments: 151
      Joined: 8/13/2015
      crazyjoedavola
      Jan 09, 2017 at 11:14 AM

      If Newsome can’t go next year and Cole sticks at C, I think our OL will be Ulizio/Bredeson/Cole/Onwenu/JBB with Kugler, Ruiz, Filiaga, and Runyan in the rotation.

    • Comments: 1924
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jan 09, 2017 at 11:43 AM

      I don’t necessarily think Newsome will be back by then, either, but I have heard some positive rumblings, too. So I don’t know. He’s the best candidate if he’s back up to full speed, so I put him there.

      • Comments: 13
        Joined: 12/21/2016
        Fab5ive21
        Jan 09, 2017 at 7:44 PM

        Hey Thunder, who would your way too early best guess be to start at LT if Newsome isn’t ready? Do you think they just go with JBB or do you think they slide over Cole or Bredeson?

        Do you think Uluzio could handle it? Heard some positive rumblings about him but i’m pretty skeptical he can play LT.

        • Comments: 1924
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Jan 09, 2017 at 9:28 PM

          Juwann Bushell-Beatty would be my guess. I think they would like to keep Cole at center. And if the coaches trusted Kugler, then I think they would have put Cole back at LT this year instead of toying with JBB and Braden there. I’ve heard good things about Ulizio, but he’s been working at right tackle. The footwork and such is different at left tackle, and I don’t know if he has the athleticism to play on that side.

          • Comments: 2369
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Jan 09, 2017 at 11:41 PM

            If you take Newsome out then not only is JBB needed to start at LT barring a move from somewhere else, but you also have to find a backup.

            I think there’s real value in keeping Cole at C unless Ruiz just knocks everyone’s socks off from day 1 or Kugler makes a huge leap. The veteran at C has been a thing forever and Cole faced a learning curve this year that the team probably can’t afford to repeat. So…

            For the moment I am expecting that Bredeson will flip to LT rather than Cole.

            Easier to plug Ruiz in at LG and slide Bredeson to LT where he was battling with Newsome in Fall Camp. Not encouraging that the staff preferred moving Braden to LT to playing Bredeson there, but he was a freshman after all. We should expect significant improvement.

            OL guess of the moment: (feeling pessimistic about Newsome):

            LT: Bredeson
            LG: Ruiz (OR Kugler)
            OC: Cole
            RG: Onwenu
            RT: Bushel-Beatty (OR Filiaga,OR Ulizio)

            • Comments: 320
              Joined: 1/19/2016
              je93
              Jan 10, 2017 at 12:32 AM

              I could see:
              JBB (closes eyes)
              Bredesen
              Cole
              Onwenu
              Ulizio

              Kugler/Cole & Filiaga next in

    • Comments: 2
      Joined: 1/9/2017
      ItsHarmabe
      Jan 09, 2017 at 12:42 PM

      Filiaga could be serviceable at RT, especially if Wheatley is helping out on that side.

    • Comments: 2369
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Jan 09, 2017 at 12:59 PM

      It’s fine to panic. It is warranted.

      Michigan’s best case scenario is starting 5 guys who have never redshirted (Newsome-Bredeson-Cole-Onwenu-Filiaga). Without Newsome, there could be 2 true freshman starters. Besides Cole there is 1 seasons worth of starting experience, and that’s only if you include Newsome. Yikes.

      They will likely hunt around the grad transfer market. It’s desperation time.

      Drevno has a helluva job before him and I hope they are getting ‘analyst’ support so that practice time is maximized.

      ——

      FWIW I think Cole will move to LT if asked to. The NFL will have seen him at OC and will know he can play it. Versatility is an asset. Anyway, Tackles generally get drafted higher and paid more. Cole would have to feel very strongly that he can’t play nearly as effectively at OT, which seems unlikely to me given he did it for 2 years and looked solid.

      I looked back at a long list of elite centers and I could only find 1 or 2 who started at OC as freshman. Even the greats usually either red-shirt or play guard first. Michigan is in desperation mode, so it could happen but IMO starting at OG is more likely than OC for Ruiz.

  7. Comments: 2369
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Jan 09, 2017 at 12:23 PM

    In my mind it makes more sense to think in terms of position groups (e.g., OL, WR, DB) for this team. I know this is just a fun exercise and intended to be fluid but the degree of positional specificity always bothers me. Especially so now with the roster in so much flux (as is typically the case around signing day).

    Anyway, the things that stand out beyond the obvious (anyone’s guess on the OL is wildass and will remain so at least till spring. When true sophomore who has never started – Onwenu- is the closest thing to a positional lock you have…)

    Samuels, if he sticks, will leapfrog some returning backs IMO, but skepticism with freshman is always warranted. I see 2 freshman over returning scholarship vets. Vilain over S.Johnson and Thomas over Washington. — Probably says more about the vets than the freshman.

    IDK if there is rationale for the WR1/WR2 split, but WR3 seems to be slot. As I said, I’d bunch them together. In this O it makes no sense to have a WR3 and not a TE2 since we see the latter more often.

    Uche over Glasgow?

    3 frosh listed at WLB? One or two of those have to be headed elsewhere right?

    Seems optimistic to put Long ahead of Watson. I know a lot of people liked him as a recruit (including me) but his freshman year saw him behind Hill, Watson, and perhaps others with very little in the way of buzz. Expectations should probably be incremented downwards.

    10 scholarship DBs is INSANE. Michigan needs to take more guys here unless they are very confident in some preferred walk-ons from last year. It’s great they closed the deal with Thomas and JKP and held on to St.Juste but look at the class OSU is reloading with. This is a scary position group that is poised for a HUGE dropoff from what we saw in 2016.

  8. Comments: 517
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    WindyCityBlue
    Jan 09, 2017 at 12:25 PM

    Hope that Peters is at least as good if not better than O’Korn next year.

    Really, really hope that Walker is better than Isaac.

    See very little hope that Grant Perry will be back. McDoom will be #1 slot guy. Crawford is at least as likely to start as Harris.

    Asiasi is unquestionably a better blocker than Bunting, and may not lag behind him as a pass catcher. With our Oline looking like a patchwork job right now, I think the better blocker will see more snaps.

    Peppers is gone. I think we could see a lot of Anthony and Singleton this year, and not cringe about it. They have more speed and athleticism than anyone else in that position group.

    Crossing fingers for Clark to finagle a sixth (healthy) year..having a quality, experienced starter back at DB would be a huge boost. Would not be surprised to see St. Juste ahead of Watson and Washington. Neither of the latter have shown much of anything. Our pass D will probably look rough at times, but this is a unit that could be very good by the end of the year.

    • Comments: 2369
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Jan 09, 2017 at 1:03 PM

      Patience is warranted with Peters.

      Isaac is a low bar, but I wouldn’t get my hopes hope for Walker.

      McDoom isn’t really a ‘slot’ guy and shouldn’t be labeled with that restriction.

      Agree about Asiasi. Hopefully Wheatley falls in the same boat. Clearly Bunting will have a big role too though.

      • Comments: 517
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Jan 09, 2017 at 10:03 PM

        Well, we aren’t going to win championships with players who take 3-4 years to get to starting status. If Peters is not seriously part of the discussion for starter this year, then he’s starting to look like a disappointment. Speight is solid, but nothing special, and he will have only one year’s advantage on Peters. If that’s enough to outweigh any advantage in physical talent, why even bother to chase elite recruits? Alabama is starting a true freshman at QB in the NC game, over two third year guys.

        To perform at a playoff level, this team needs a great quarterback, not just a good one. If Peters isn’t good enough to ever beat Speight out, and has to wait for him to graduate before he inherits the starting spot, it’s hard to see how he qualifies.

        • Comments: 2369
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Jan 09, 2017 at 11:29 PM

          I think you can win a national title with Tom Brady, Chris Perry, Braylon Edwards, Mo Hurst, and players of their ilk.

          While I do think there is weight to your argument (elite players generally show it early) it’s not true for every position (including QB), there are numerous exceptions, and the reality is that you only need a handful of elite players if most others are just really good.

          Our defense this season was a pretty great example of that. The elite talent was Peppers and perhaps Charlton. Otherwise it was a bunch of seniors who were just really dang good at doing their jobs rather than 1st round NFL talents.

          Speight might not be anything special but he’s got 2 more years to prove you wrong. The improvement he made from 2015 is incredible and now he’s got Pep Hamilton joining Jim Harbaugh to take him up to the next level. He showed elite pocket presence and great decision making. I don’t know if he’ll ever overcome a limited arm, but he’s clearly overcome limited legs. Inconsistency and accuracy are things that tend to improve with experience and improved blocking.

          Peters is almost surely going to be Speight’s backup and there is no shame in that in 2017. If he isn’t pushing Speight in 2018 then we can revisit but if you’re looking for examples of guys who made massive leaps in their 2nd to 3rd years you don’t have to look very far.

          The “why bother” question is nonsensical. Sometimes experience outweighs talent. Both matter.

          Michigan has started true freshman at QB too – it generally hasn’t gone well. Brady, Harbaugh, Griese, Grbac, Robinson and almost every other great Michigan QB didn’t start as a freshman. Most of them red-shirted, just like Peters did. Most of them didn’t start as sophomores either, like Peters probably won’t.

          And it’s not just ancient history at Michigan. Most of the QBs drafted in 2016 did not start as freshman or sophomores including Wentz, Prescott, and Cook,

          You’re making a lot of assumptions about Speight and QBs in general that are dubious at best.

          • Comments: 517
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            WindyCityBlue
            Jan 10, 2017 at 6:48 PM

            Not sure how you could watch the NC game and still think that we can compete at that level with just a few elite players. That may have been enough 15-20 years ago, but it definitely isn’t now. It may be enough to win the Big Ten, but as we’ve seen clearly demonstrated the last two years, teams that are competing at the NC level are far above that. Compared to Alabama and Clemson, our defense isn’t even close, and let’s not even talk about our offense against a defense with a pulse.

            As far as quarterbacks, I’m making no assumptions. It’s simply a fact that a lot of quarterbacks emerge as huge stars as redshirt freshmen or sophomores. Peters is a high level recruit, and there is no reason why that’s an overblown expectation for him. And let’s not forget, Harbaugh is supposed to be one of the best, if not THE best developer of quarterbacks on the planet. If someone who is just a pretty good quarterback developer takes 3-4 years to turn a high level recruit into a high level college QB, why should we not expect the process to be faster under Harbaugh?

            As far as true freshmen starters, I was never pushing for Peters to start as a true freshman, so that’s more than a bit of a straw man, but let’s look at that. Alabama started a true freshman in the NC game. Deshaun Watson got the starting nod in only his 4th game as a true freshman, and threw for 435 yards and 6 TDs. He got hurt and didn’t finish the season, but as a sophomore, he led Clemson to a 12-0 regular season and the national championship game. He threw for over 4000 yards and ran for over a thousand as a sophomore. JT Barrett started for eventual NC Ohio State as a RS freshman, and finished fifth in the Heisman voting. Jake Browning started every game as a true freshman, and finished 6th in the Heisman voting as a sophomore, winning Pac-12 offensive player of the year.

            So please, stop with the nonsense that we shouldn’t expect too much from first and second year QBs. And don’t think I didn’t notice that you conspicuously failed to mention Chad Henne, who started as a true freshman and did just fine.

        • Comments: 2369
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Jan 09, 2017 at 11:31 PM

          The M team performed at a playoff level this year. They did it without a great QB. As do most elite college teams.

          • Comments: 517
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            WindyCityBlue
            Jan 10, 2017 at 6:51 PM

            No, they didn’t. They finished third in their own division. They lost three of their last four games, and barely won the fourth, all because of sub-par QB play. That’s not playoff level performance. And do you seriously think that they would have done significantly better against Clemson than OSU?

  9. Comments: 75
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    INTJohn
    Jan 09, 2017 at 5:31 PM

    Great discussions here all around; and all of you, as usual, are hours ahead of me as I’m on the left coast…….. a few comments & observations;

    Hall & Ruiz are the 2 EE’s so will have the headstart past the other incoming Ol including Filiaga.
    RE Ruiz: I don’t think the staff is bringing him in to shift him around. He’s played center and at IMG against top notch competition for a long time. As much talent and reps as a guy could get coming out of High school – really a college prep on all levels kinda school & expereince.

    Looking thru the foggy lens: The staff is grooming Ruiz to play at center this year. EE, Strength & conditioning, Spring ball; all summer & Fall……
    I think Runyan will be the shift around guy when & where ‘we need him guy’ with Cole starting on the side.

    If all works according to plan Ruiz starts at C. He’ll be able to have a helluvalota reps with the first defence – as tuff as he’ll see in any game to prepare him 4 the season. Cole can play another position and be 1backup center with Runyan 2backup……

    Re Cole as NFL center: scouts that talk to Jimmy will get the straight up Professional assesssment on Cole from Jimmy. NFL scouts know jimmy’s word is good & gospel. As previously mentioned Everyone already knows Cole can play center and is versatile.

    Also the staff is setting things up for 2018 as well:
    They’ve already offered a guy who is a bonifide center once again; who will be groomed for future as in 2018 Ruiz will be #1 center with Runyan as 1 backup. Ruiz needs all the expereince he can get in 2017 and Cole doesn’t need it for his future aspiring NFL career……..

    Again I see IF all goes accordingly in Spring summer; Ruiz starting at center pretty much from game 1………

    IMHO;
    Thanx…………..INTJohn

    • Comments: 2369
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Jan 10, 2017 at 12:10 AM

      Worth looking at expectations the last time M grabbed a highly ranked ready-to-play OC prospect.

      http://mgoblog.com/content/hello-patrick-kugler

      Or another 5-star so-ready-to-go interior linemen.

      http://touchthebanner.blogspot.com/2011/07/kyle-kalis-wolverine.html

      I think Ruiz will be much better than both, but starting at freshman at OC is almost unprecedented.

      • Comments: 75
        Joined: 12/24/2016
        INTJohn
        Jan 10, 2017 at 9:59 AM

        With ya; but then Michigan’s head coach has been known to do some unprecedented things………..

        There is no comparison between Kugler coming out of high school with Ruiz. Might be more of a comparison with the guy who’s been offered for 2018 but Ruiz is on another level from Kugler:
        Kugler received no where near the strength & conditioning; the coaching; the discipline; the academics; the training or experience; or level of competition that Ruiz has EXCELLED with at IMG vs. Kugler @ North Allegheny, Pa?……

        Not sayin he starts the entire season but I think, that is ideally what the staff will be working for. Spring & Fall along with his own summer regimen will determine much.

        IMHO……………..Thanx, INTJohn

        • Comments: 2369
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Jan 10, 2017 at 11:08 AM

          I wouldn’t rule it out, just saying the odds are very long. Even Pauncey didn’t start at OC as a freshman. Look up any elite OC y

        • Comments: 2369
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Jan 10, 2017 at 11:10 AM

          I wouldn’t rule it out, just saying the odds are very long. Even Pauncey didn’t start at OC as a freshman. Look up any elite OC – they didn’t start at the position as true freshman.

          Kugler was supposed to be ready to go, coaches kid, physically ready, etc. HS is just a different level.

          But yeah, IMG and Ruiz is bigger and higher regarded. It could happen.

          • Comments: 75
            Joined: 12/24/2016
            INTJohn
            Jan 10, 2017 at 11:45 AM

            ……..and its a completely different regime grading the apples they want to make the sauce.

            • Comments: 2369
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Jan 10, 2017 at 2:39 PM

              The problem there is that the new regime is unproven in terms of developing OL. Through 2 years there isn’t a standout young player. For as badly as Kalis and Braden struggled with consistency — nobody in the pipeline was passing them.

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