2016 Season Countdown: #19 Mike McCray II

2016 Season Countdown: #19 Mike McCray II

August 22, 2016

Mike McCray II

Name: Mike McCray II
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 248 lbs.
High school: Trotwood (OH) Trotwood-Madison
Position: Linebacker
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #8
Last year: I ranked McCray #32 and said he would be a backup linebacker and special teamer (LINK). He did not play at all due to injury.

Going into his fourth year, Michigan’s presumed starter at WILL linebacker has only played in eleven football games during his career. He redshirted in 2013, played some in 2014, and then missed all of 2015. His most noteworthy moment so far in a limited career was when he blocked a punt against Appalachian State in 2014, allowing fellow inside linebacker Ben Gedeon to return it for a touchdown. Last year a recurring shoulder injury held him out for the year, and Michigan’s linebacker play was questionable. It’s not clear whether he would have been a step up, but he would have at least provided competition.

Now there isn’t a ton of competition. Four senior linebackers departed, and the starting linebackers are the only linebackers who have ever stepped on the field in college. With Gedeon starting in the middle and Jabrill Peppers starting at SAM, that’s a pretty experienced duo. McCray, on the other hand, played mostly on special teams when he did see the field. He has bulked up to nearly 248 lbs. to handle the run-stuffing duties on the inside, while Michigan recruited a shorter, quicker backup for the WILL spot in Devin Bush, Jr. I expect Bush to spell McCray at times, and McCray would probably slide over to MIKE if anything were to happen to Gedeon. McCray did a nice job of tackling and stuffing the run in the spring, and he was decent in pass coverage coming out of high school a few years ago. Hopefully, he can stay healthy and be a pleasant surprise for the Wolverines in 2016.

Prediction: Starting WILL linebacker; 60 tackles


  1. Lanknows
    Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Aug 22, 2016 at 12:06 PM

    We’re in the range of the unproven or unexceptional starters and I’m agreeing with most of these ranks.

    I think you’re overstating McCray’s abilities a bit. Hard to see him adding significantly to competition last year, when there were so many more capable options. It’s good that he’s come in some for some praise during spring and fall, but he’s still an unproven player that could feasibly be beaten out by a freshman.

    I do agree with the rank though, because it’s an important position to fill and one of the few unknowns on what looks to be an elite defense. Sometimes it comes down to the weakest link and just how exploitable they are.

    McCray doesn’t have to be great, but he does have to limit mistakes.

  2. Lanknows
    Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Aug 22, 2016 at 12:12 PM

    Also – time for my annual request to start the countdown earlier. I know it’s nice to tie it the start of the season but there’s always a content crunch in the final weeks, as opposed to the long summer lull.

    I think it’s fine to say 93 days till kickoff, here’s player #80. Not as elegant but it may give your posts more attention. (that they deserve).


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