2017 Season Countdown List

2017 Season Countdown List

August 31, 2017

Nolan Ulizio is my nomination for “most underrated” in the 2017 Countdown

First of all, thanks for reading. I can’t tell you how monumental of a task it was to write approximately 100 posts about the upcoming football season. This year was more of a Herculean task than others, and I thought about cutting it off numerous times. There were several times where I was up at 4:00 a.m. or staying up until midnight to get posts ready. It brings a literal sigh of relief to have this thing finished.

Below is the countdown from beginning to end. Due to a couple stupid omissions and counting errors, I have rearranged the following list to hold true to a numerical countdown, rather than keeping the 3A, 3B, 5A, 5B, etc. This should give you a truer sense of the ranking, even if the actual posts themselves might have slightly different numbers.

  1. Wilton Speight
  2. Rashan Gary
  3. Maurice Hurst, Jr.
  4. Mason Cole
  5. Tyree Kinnel
  6. Bryan Mone
  7. Mike McCray II
  8. Chase Winovich
  9. Patrick Kugler
  10. Khaleke Hudson
  11. Devin Bush Jr.
  12. Ben Bredeson
  13. Quinn Nordin
  14. Chris Evans
  15. Josh Metellus
  16. Kekoa Crawford
  17. Khalid Hill
  18. Ian Bunting
  19. Michael Onwenu
  20. Lavert Hill
  21. Tyrone Wheatley, Jr.
  22. Carlo Kemp
  23. Keith Washington
  24. Brandon Peters
  25. David Long, Jr.
  26. Michael Dwumfour
  27. Cesar Ruiz
  28. Jordan Glasgow
  29. Aubrey Solomon
  30. Tarik Black
  31. Henry Poggi
  32. Brad Robbins
  33. Luiji Vilain
  34. Jon Runyan, Jr.
  35. Andrew Robinson
  36. Michael Wroblewski
  37. Donovan Peoples-Jones
  38. Brandon Watson
  39. Karan Higdon
  40. Noah Furbush
  41. Eddie McDoom
  42. Juwann Bushell-Beatty
  43. Ty Isaac
  44. Ambry Thomas
  45. Grant Perry
  46. Nate Johnson
  47. Stephen Spanellis
  48. Garrett Moores
  49. Kareem Walker
  50. John O’Korn
  51. Nate Schoenle
  52. Drake Harris
  53. Zach Gentry
  54. Josh Uche
  55. Sean McKeon
  56. Nolan Ulizio
  57. J’Marick Woods
  58. Nick Eubanks
  59. Maurice Ways, Jr.
  60. Reuben Jones
  61. Jordan Anthony
  62. Joshua Ross
  63. Carl Myers
  64. Lawrence Marshall
  65. Oliver Martin
  66. James Hudson III
  67. Andrew Vastardis
  68. Benjamin St-Juste
  69. Jaylen Kelly-Powell
  70. Andrew Stueber
  71. Nico Collins
  72. Elysee Mbem-Bosse
  73. Chuck Filiaga
  74. Ron Johnson
  75. O’Maury Samuels
  76. Devin Gil
  77. Ryan Tice
  78. Jared Wangler
  79. Brad Hawkins, Jr.
  80. Donovan Jeter
  81. Ben Mason
  82. Drew Singleton
  83. Kurt Taylor
  84. Will Hart
  85. Ja’Raymond Hall
  86. Kwity Paye
  87. Corey Malone-Hatcher
  88. Tru Wilson
  89. Camaron Cheeseman
  90. Conner Edmonds
  91. Joe Hewlett
  92. Phillip Paea
  93. Dylan McCaffrey
  94. Deron Irving-Bey
  95. Simeon Smith
  96. Joel Honigford
  97. Jack Wangler
  98. Michael Sessa
  99. Grant Newsome


  1. DonAZ
    Comments: 523
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    Aug 31, 2017 at 11:42 AM

    We all appreciate your efforts very much! But I can imagine how much work it is to do.

    In the future, perhaps group the 21 – 100 list to weekly updates, offered 10 at a time? And then go to one-a-day for the top 20?

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3849
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Aug 31, 2017 at 12:00 PM

      Thanks. The issue is traffic, really. Traffic was up about 20% in July, and in August it’s up by about 75%. Naturally, more people care about #10 than they did about #95. Traffic is probably going to build as the season nears, anyway, but I don’t know if it would build to that extent if it was just a once-weekly update. On top of that, if I only did a once-a-week post, then I would still have to try to come up with content for the other six days of the week. As things stand, I’ve basically had to give up the weekly recruiting updates and opinion pieces. There’s just not enough time in the day.

      But I appreciate the suggestion. I may have to do a once-weekly post and forget about posting every day in the future.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 6285
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Aug 31, 2017 at 12:28 PM

      No way – daily updates in early summer make the countdown!

      My advice is write drafts of these things in February/March downtime and revise in the summer. Usually not that much changes in the spring for most players.

      • DonAZ
        Comments: 523
        Joined: 8/12/2015
        Aug 31, 2017 at 2:00 PM

        Oh, I agree … the daily updates are terrific. I lived off them like a poor college kid lives off Ramen noodles. But it must take a great deal of work collect all the information and formulate the posts.

        I like your idea of blocking out the posts in the Feb/Mar time frame. The order may change, but the content for a given player isn’t likely to change too much. What I don’t know is whether Thunder is already doing something like that …

  2. Lanknows
    Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Aug 31, 2017 at 12:21 PM

    You did an awesome job. Thanks for putting in the work. The countdown is my favorite feature/series on the site.

    Go Blue!

  3. JC
    Comments: 313
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    Aug 31, 2017 at 12:54 PM

    I think the only two scholarship players missing are Shelton Johnson and Alex Malzone.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 6285
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Aug 31, 2017 at 2:03 PM

      Johnson is gone for good after being on thin ice for a long while.

      Malzone was covered by Thunder as not worth ranking in the top 100. Even with that low of a bar it’s hard to disagree.

  4. Avatar
    Comments: 528
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    Aug 31, 2017 at 2:02 PM

    Great job on site. Love it. I do want (for the record) put down my own predictions as a reference. It’s the least I can do since Thunder has put down his projections.

    1. Higdon will have close to 600 yards rushing. Close.
    2. Running game will have a total of about 1600 yards.
    3. McKeon will be the leading TE in total yards receiving.
    4. UM will win 11 games which will include bowl game
    5. UM will beat OSU
    6. UM will lose at PSU

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 6285
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Aug 31, 2017 at 2:12 PM

      Hard to see 11 wins with such an unproductive run game. 1600 would be the lowest total in a long time. last year was nearly 2800. this decade’s low was 2013: 1634. I’m as worried about the OL as anyone, but I think we’ll top 2000 (the 2015 total).

  5. Avatar
    Comments: 528
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    Aug 31, 2017 at 5:11 PM

    Florida seems like a weaker team although if UM loses that game then my prediction goes out. I just think the Big Ten isn’t that deep and if UM beats Fla and with OSU at home then 11 is definitely possible since they will be in a winnable bowl game. Optimistic? Yes.

    You are definitely onto something with the run game totals. I was too conservative to justify an 11 win season although I believe the defense is going to be better than people may realize although growing pains early but against some flawed teams.

    I will bump up my initial projections and I give you credit. I call it a Lanmulligan.

    1. Higdon close to 750 yards
    2. Run game close to total of 2100 yards.

  6. Avatar
    Comments: 1863
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    Aug 31, 2017 at 10:19 PM

    Thanks for finishing this Thunder!

    What happened to Mike? He had some good stuff, and could probably fill in when you’re swamped. I like Lank’s idea of throwing much of this together early, and fine tuning as time passes. While you’re doing the initial stuff, Mike can cover; when you get busy as HS football picks up, he can cover again, but you can “catch up” by releasing more than one at a time as your schedule permits

    *all merely suggestions; anything to keep this going!


  7. UM_1973
    Comments: 111
    Joined: 10/14/2015
    Sep 01, 2017 at 12:59 AM

    Amazing job, Thunder! I can’t imagine the effort that you put into this.

    In general, I agree with the list but I can’t help but feel that a 9 win season SHOULD be considered a success. The top 25 are littered with first time sophomore/freshman starters. No matter how higly regarded they are, I think they have a steep learning curve. If Harbaugh can pull this off with a 10-win season, he deserved a Coach Of the Year award.

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