C.J. Stokes, Ex-Wolverine

    C.J. Stokes

    Michigan running back C.J. Stokes has entered the transfer portal. This past season was his second season in the program, and he redshirted, so he will have three seasons to play three seasons. He was a 3-star, the #63 running back, and #797 overall in the 2022 recruiting class out of Columbia (SC) Hammond. I initially gave him a TTB Rating of 59 before bumping him up to a 71 at the end of the cycle.

    Stokes got a lot of playing time as a freshman. He ran 55 times for 273 yards and 1 touchdown, and he also caught 1 pass for 15 yards, while playing in eleven games. But toward the end of the season, Kalel Mullings switched from linebacker to running back and started to take some snaps. That carried over into the 2023 campaign.

    During the current 2023 season, Stokes played in just two games and ran 2 times for 6 yards. He did have injury issues that caused him to miss a chunk of time. Either way, though, he appeared to have lost ground to Mullings.

    I liked what I saw from Stokes during his time at Michigan, but he needed to continue getting stronger and working on some fundamental things, such as getting his shoulders square to defenders. I think he can go somewhere and still have a productive career.

    Looking ahead to 2024, Blake Corum could technically return (if he uses the COVID year exemption) but will almost certainly be heading to the NFL. Donovan Edwards expressed before the season that he planned to jump to the NFL, but his season did not go according to plan. And Mullings played a good-sized role with 32 carries for 195 yards and 1 touchdown, possibly earning him the chance to be a starter next season. Edwards and Mullings could make a nice 1-2 punch in 2024 if both decide to return.

    Potential depth chart for 2024 (according to seniority):

    1. Kalel Mullings (RS Sr.)
    2. Donovan Edwards (Sr.)
    3. Tavierre Dunlap (RS Jr.)
    4. Cole Cabana (RS Fr.)
    5. Ben Hall (RS Fr.)
    6. Micah Ka'apana (Fr.)
    7. Jordan Marshall (Fr.)

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    Deyvid Palepale, Wolverine

    Deyvid Palepale

    Lancaster (PA) Manheim Township defensive tackle Deyvid Palepale flipped from USC to Washington. Aside from the Trojans, Palepale also has offers from Auburn, Florida, Miami, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, and Tennessee, among others.

    Palepale is listed at 6'3" and 305 pounds.

    ESPN: 3-star, 79 grade, #27 DT
    On3: 3-star, 87 grade, #79 DL
    Rivals: 3-star, 5.6 grade, #35 DT
    247 Sports: 3-star, 88 grade, #75 DL

    Hit the jump for more.

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    2024 Scholarship Count

    Braiden McGregor

    Players are listed in order of remaining eligibility. With 105 scholarships allotted, Michigan is currently beyond its scholarship limit by 20. Meanwhile, 19 seniors are scheduled to graduate, so the 2024 class should have at least 19 players.


    Hit the jump for the breakdown by class.

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    Way-Too-Early 2024 Depth Chart: December 2023

    Colston Loveland (image via MLive)

    The following depth chart has removed these listed players from the depth chart, even though some could return with a fifth year or COVID year exception:

    • QB Jack Tuttle (graduation)
    • RB Blake Corum (graduation)
    • WR Cornelius Johnson (graduation)
    • WR Roman Wilson (graduation)
    • OL Karsen Barnhart (graduation)
    • OL LaDarius Henderson (graduation)
    • OL Myles Hinton (graduation)
    • OL Trente Jones (graduation)
    • OL Trevor Keegan (graduation)
    • OL Drake Nugent (graduation)
    • OL Zak Zinter (graduation)
    • DT Cam Goode (graduation)
    • LB Michael Barrett (graduation)
    • LB/RB Kalel Mullings (graduation)
    • LB Joey Velazquez (graduation)
    • CB Mike Sainristil (graduation)
    • CB Josh Wallace (graduation)
    • S Quinten Johnson (graduation)
    • K James Turner (graduation)

    It also assumes that every currently rostered player and every currently committed prospect will be here in 2024, which is obviously not true.

    Hit the jump for the depth chart.

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    Quick Thoughts on the CFP

    Jalen Milroe (image via San Diego Tribune)

    Here are some quick-hitting thoughts on the College Football Playoff selection.

    #1 Michigan: Personally, I don't necessarily believe Michigan is the best team in the country. I think there are a couple teams that would defeat Michigan 51% or more of the time. That doesn't mean Michigan can't win the national championship. It just means things will have to fall their way and/or they'll have to play up to their potential. But they had to be the choice for #1, because they have shown both a consistent offense and a consistent defense, along with solid special teams. Washington's defense has not been great, and both Texas and Alabama have had losses. Unfortunately, I think Alabama is one of the teams that I would choose to defeat Michigan at this point, and I would have had Georgia ahead of them, too. This is a tough matchup for the Wolverines.

    #2 Washington: Washington has a questionable defense, but their offense has been explosive for most of the year. They average 7.23 yards/play and QB Michael Penix, who used to play at Indiana, has thrown for 4,218 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions this year. And RB Dillon Johnson has run for 1,113 yards and 14 touchdowns. Despite some struggles, winning the games is what matters, and they did that 13 times with zero losses. Their last four games have been one-score wins, including one against a 5-7 Washington State team.

    #3 Texas: Texas has an all-around good football program with former 5-star QB Quinn Ewers at the helm. They also have two former Michigan commits in star WR Xavier Worthy and DE Ethan Burke, the latter of whom leads the squad with 5.5 sacks. Their one loss came against Oklahoma, and it was a 34-30 game. Oklahoma finished 10-2 and is ranked #12. The big win was against Alabama early in the season, a 34-24 victory when the Tide were trying to figure out their QB situation. Head coach Steve Sarkisian struggled in stints at Washington and USC, but he's a coach who worked with Nick Saban as a coordinator, which somehow propelled him to success at Texas. Sometimes spending a bit of time around Saban works magic for some guys, like it did with Jim McElwain, Kirby Smart, Lane Kiffin, and others.

    #4 Alabama: First of all, Alabama shouldn't be in the CFP because they had a loss to Texas. Florida State went 13-0 in a Power Five conference and absolutely should have been the CFP committee's choice. The Seminoles should be #3 and Texas should be #4. Yes, Florida State QB Jordan Travis broke his leg and is out for the season, but the Seminoles continued to win without him. Winning the games should matter more than a popularity contest. But the CFP knows that a lot of people watch SEC football, and they don't want to piss off a moneymaking conference. It's a travesty that those players and coaches have to watch the CFP from afar. That being said . . . I would pick Alabama to beat Michigan, which sucks for the Wolverines. Michigan's offensive line has struggled this season, and its best lineman, Zak Zinter, is out for the year with a broken leg. Meanwhile, Alabama QB Jalen Milroe (10.4 yards/attempt, 23 passing TDs, 6 INTs, 12 rushing TDs) has taken a giant step forward since the beginning of the year. He can run and throw and presents a lot of issues for Michigan's defense. I'll be doing my research and watching more film over the next few weeks, but I do think 'Bama would beat Michigan more times than not.

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    Big Ten Championship Preview: Michigan vs. Iowa

    Michigan is #53 in rushing offense (169.8 yards/game) and tied for #56 in yards per carry (4.44). Ohio State held up fairly well against the run last week, but they did allow a 22-yard touchdown run by Blake Corum immediately after Michigan starting RG Zak Zinter was lost for the season due to a broken leg. It may be interesting to see what Michigan does with the offensive line. Last week it was RT Karsen Barnhart sliding to right guard, with jumbo TE/extra OT Trente Jones sliding in at right tackle. But Michigan has some options with backup offensive guard Giovanni El-Hadi and former starter Myles Hinton, who was injured two weeks ago but may be available this week. The problem with inserting Jones at right tackle full-time is that it may eliminate Michigan's formations with that sixth offensive lineman. Iowa is #17 in rushing defense (105.6 yards allowed/game) and they give up just 3.09 yards per carry, which is #9 nationally. They have also allowed just 2 rushing touchdowns this season, which is #1. Senior LB Jay Higgins (6'2", 233 lbs.) has some ridiculous stats with 141 tackles, including a season-high 18 against Penn State in the Hawkeyes 31-0 loss. Fellow senior LB Nick Jackson (6'0", 237) has 91 stops of his own, followed by senior safety Quinn Schulte (6'2", 209) with 59. Senior DE Joe Evans (6'2", 252) leads the team with 9.5 tackles for loss, followed by Jackson's 8.0 and senior safety Sebastian Castro (5'11", 206) with 8.0. It's a very well coached defense, as always, and they've won 10 games despite a terrible offense.
    Advantage: Iowa

    Hit the jump for more.

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    2023 All-Big Ten Selections

    Blake Corum

    Michigan dominated the all-conference selections in 2023, which is to be somewhat expected with a 12-0 record.

    QB J.J. McCarthy (Coaches, Media)
    RB Blake Corum (Coaches, Media)
    OL La'Darius Henderson (Coaches)
    OL Zak Zinter (Coaches, Media)
    C Drake Nugent (Coaches, Media)
    TE Colston Loveland (Coaches)
    DL Mason Graham (Coaches)
    DB Will Johnson (Coaches, Media)
    DB Mike Sainristil (Media)

    WR Roman Wilson (Coaches, Media)
    TE Colston Loveland (Media)
    OL Karsen Barnhart (Coaches)
    OL La'Darius Henderson (Media)
    OL Trevor Keegan (Coaches, Media)
    DL Kenneth Grant (Coaches)
    DL Kris Jenkins, Jr. (Coaches, Media)
    LB Junior Colson (Coaches, Media)
    DB Mike Sainristil (Coaches)
    K James Turner (Coaches)

    OL Karsen Barnhart (Media)
    DL Mason Graham (Media)
    DL Kenneth Grant (Media)
    LB Michael Barrett (Coaches)
    DB Rod Moore (Coaches)
    P Tommy Doman (Media)

    WR Cornelius Johnson (Media)
    TE A.J. Barner (Coaches, Media)
    DL Jaylen Harrell (Coaches, Media)
    DL Braiden McGregor (Coaches, Media)
    DL Derrick Moore (Coaches, Media)
    DL Josaiah Stewart (Coaches)
    LB Michael Barrett (Media)
    DB Rod Moore (Media)
    DB Makari Paige (Coaches)
    DB Josh Wallace (Coaches, Media)
    K James Turner (Media)
    P Tommy Doman (Media)
    RET Semaj Morgan (Coaches, Media)

    I believe every single Michigan starter is represented here except FB/TE Max Bredeson (1 start), OL Trente Jones (2 starts), WR Tyler Morris (2 starts), safety Keon Sabb (4 starts). Even a full-time backup in Derrick Moore - who has yet to start a single game - was named Honorable Mention by both the coaches and the media.

    Do you see any snubs?

    Personally, I think Mike Sainristil should have been 1st team to both coaches/media. Meanwhile, I'm surprised Barnhart was valued so highly since he struggled in pass protection so much, especially over the last three weeks of the season.

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