Charles Thomas, Ex-Wolverine

    Charles Thomas

    Redshirt freshman linebacker Charles Thomas has entered the transfer portal. Thomas committed to Michigan in June of 2017 as a part of the class of 2019 (LINK). Despite some early optimism, I gave him a TTB Rating of 69 largely because he just can't run very well (LINK).

    Hit the jump for more on Thomas's departure.

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    2020 Season Countdown: #4 Aidan Hutchinson

    Aidan Hutchinson (image via Detroit News)

    Name: Aidan Hutchinson
    269 lbs.
    High school:
     Dearborn (MI) Divine Child
    Defensive end
    Jersey number: 
    Last year: 
    I ranked Hutchinson #3 and said he would be a starting defensive end with 50 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, and 5 sacks (LINK). He made 68 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 6 pass breakups, and 4 quarterback hurries.
    TTB Rating:

    There's been talk on the blog over the years about comparing Aidan Hutchinson to Rashan Gary, so here are the sophomore numbers for each:

    Player A: 65 tackles, 11.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 1 FF, 7 QB hurries
    Player B: 68 tackles, 10.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 2 FF, 6 PBU, 4 QB hurries

    If you were paying attention up above, you know that Player B is Hutchinson in 2019, playing with Kwity Paye at the opposite end and nobody noteworthy at defensive tackle. Player A is, of course, Rashan Gary in 2017 with Chase Winovich on the other side, plus Maurice Hurst, Jr. at nose tackle and future first round pick Devin Bush, Jr. at middle linebacker.

    This is not to say that Hutchinson is better than Gary or will even be a first round pick, but it does show that Hutchinson is producing just as well as Gary, despite lesser surrounding talent.

    This season Hutchinson and Paye will be of utmost importance with Michigan's cornerback situation. Lavert Hill's graduation and Ambry Thomas's opting out of the 2020 season have left the Wolverines scrambling to find consistency, which has necessitated moving rotational safety Sammy Faustin to corner for depth. Hutchinson is both a run-stopper and a solid pass rusher, and his knack for knocking down passes at 6'6" (6 in 2019) is sometimes forgotten. Michigan needs to be great up front to make up for their inexperience on the back end.

    Prediction: Starting strongside end

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    Ex-Wolverine Updates: Week 6

    Eric Gray (#3, image via Clarksville Online)


    WR Tarik Black (Texas): Texas (2-2) had a bye.

    OT James Hudson III (Cincinnati): Cincinnati (3-0) had a bye.

    TE Mustapha Muhammad (Kilgore Junior College): Muhammad transferred from Michigan to Houston and is now at Kilgore Junior College, which has canceled its season due to COVID.

    CB Myles Sims (Georgia Tech): Sims did not play, which probably made all the difference in the 73-7 loss to Clemson.

    Hit the jump for more.

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    Under Armour All-American Game Participants: Michigan

    Loganville (GA) Grayson OT Trente Jones

    The 2021 Under Armour All-American Game will be played in January of 2021.  The following participants have committed to or signed a Letter of Intent to play for Michigan:

    Giovanni El-Hadi, OT - Sterling Heights, MI*
    Jaydon Hood, LB - Ft. Lauderdale, FL*
    Branden Jennings, LB - Jacksonville, FL*

    Blake Corum, RB - Baltimore, MD
    Micah Mazzccua, OT - Baltimore, MD
    Braiden McGregor, DE - Port Huron, MI#
    Andre Seldon, Jr., CB - Belleville, MI

    Zach Charbonnet, RB - Thousand Oaks, CA
    Quinten Johnson, S - Washington, DC
    Trente Jones, OT - Loganville, GA
    Nolan Rumler, OG - Akron, OH
    Mazi Smith, DT - East Kentwood, MI
    Anthony Solomon, LB - Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Mustapha Muhammad, TE - Missouri City, TX
    Myles Sims, CB - Atlanta, GA

    Jaylen Kelly-Powell, S - Detroit, MI
    Kwity Paye, DE - Warwick, RI
    Cesar Ruiz, C - Bradenton, FL
    Luiji Vilain, DE - Alexandria, VA

    Hit the jump for more.

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    2020 Season Countdown: #5 Nico Collins

    Nico Collins (image via Detroit News)

    Name: Nico Collins
    215 lbs.
    High school: 
    Birmingham (AL) Clay-Chalkville
    Wide receiver
    Jersey number: 
    #4 #1
    Last year: 
    I ranked Collins #7 and said he would be a starting wide receiver with 60 catches for 990 yards and 10 touchdowns (LINK). He caught 37 passes for 729 yards and 7 touchdowns.
    TTB Rating:

    Going into the 2019 season, I thought Collins would become the alpha of the wide receivers and lead the team in all categories, including receptions, yards, and touchdowns. While he did lead in touchdowns, he was second in receptions and yards behind slot receiver Ronnie Bell. He was a big-play guy with a Big Ten-leading 19.7 yards per reception.

    I have long been questioning Michigan's wide receiver production, and Collins's was no exception. In three years where he averaged 17.8 yards per catch for his career, he topped 100 yards in a game just once (6 catches for 165 yards and 3 touchdowns against Indiana in 2019).

    Collins was given the #1 jersey going into the season, but it doesn't matter because he opted out of playing in 2020. Instead, he will enter the NFL Draft, despite the fact that it's a deep wide receiver class and, in my opinion, he has little hope of going in the first round.

    Collins will be missed. I think a good argument could be made for moving him higher in the countdown. He's 6'4" and reportedly ran a 4.46 this off-season (even though I never trust the times that come out of Michigan). He's legitimately one of the best receivers in the Big Ten, and the Wolverines will be without his services. They have no other size mismatches and will instead have to rely on the speed of some young guys, along with the basketball instincts of Ronnie Bell.

    Prediction: Will enter 2021 NFL Draft

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    All-Time Leaders: Interceptions Thrown in a Game

    This is not a list you want to be on, but you have to take the bad with the good. So here's a look at the players who have thrown the most interceptions in a single game, and I was not aware of the school record until now:

    1. 7 - Demetrius Brown (1987 vs. Michigan State)
    2. 5 - Stan Noskin (1959 vs. Wisconsin)
    3. 4 - John Wangler (1979 vs. Purdue)
    4. 4 - John Navarre (2001 vs. Ohio State)
    5. 4 - Tate Forcier (2009 vs. Ohio State)
    6. 4 - Denard Robinson (2012 vs. Notre Dame)

    How do you throw 7 interceptions in a single game and not get pulled before you reach that point?

    Brown's stat line during that game: 12/26 (46.2%), 158 yards, 1 touchdown, 7 interceptions. Michigan State won by a score of 17-11.

    I planned to list the times players have thrown 3 interceptions in a game, but there are 44 of them!

    Steve Smith and Rick Leach both threw 3 interceptions four times each. The most recent time a Michigan QB threw 3 picks in one game was John O'Korn against MSU in 2017.

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    2020 Season Countdown: #6 Kwity Paye

    Kwity Paye (image via Freep)

    Name: Kwity Paye
    277 lbs.
    High school: 
    Providence (RI) Bishop Hendricken
    Defensive end
    Jersey number: 
    Last year: 
    I ranked Paye #17 and said he would be the starting weakside end with 45 tackles and 5 sacks (LINK). He made 54 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, and 1 fumble recovery.
    TTB Rating:

    Michigan had a few breakout players on defense in 2019, and Paye might have been the biggest. He went from being a rotational player in 2018 to getting enough hype following last season to be bandied about as a potential 1st round draft pick. He also was named the #1 "freak" on Bruce Feldman's annual "Freaks List." This all came on the heels of a relatively modest 12.5-TFL, 6.5-sack season. His real coming out part seemed to take place against Iowa, when he made 4 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 2 quarterback hurries against a respected Hawkeyes offensive line.

    This feels like a weird thing to say after all that hype, but here it is, anyway:

    Kwity Paye makes me wonder about the effectiveness of Shaun Nua's coaching.

    Paye was a project coming out of high school in 2017, when he was a part-time running back in Rhode Island. So the fact that he has reached these heights is impressive in itself. But when you watched Paye in 2019, he didn't really do anything special. He's fairly quick. And he's fairly strong. And he's got a good motor. But when it comes to technique or defeating blocks? Nah. He doesn't have any pass rush moves. He just kind of keeps going and going until he's in the lap of the quarterback.

    If Paye is going to capitalize on the first round hype, I think he has to add some noticeable technique to his arsenal. If he doesn't, I think that will be an indictment of Nua, who will have had two seasons with a pretty talented guy with nothing much to show for it. For some reason I don't see Paye taking a giant step forward, but he should still be pretty good. And the fact is that behind starting ends Paye and Aidan Hutchinson, there isn't much. The most proven guy is Luiji Vilain, who has suffered through injury but hasn't shown much upside when he actually got on the field. Paye has the versatility to play inside and outside, and he would be a big loss if injured.

    Will he be a first round pick in 2021? My gut says no, but he should have a solid season for the Wolverines.

    Prediction: Starting weakside end

    Hit the jump for some 2019 highlights.

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