2019 Season Countdown: #9 Donovan Peoples-Jones

2019 Season Countdown: #9 Donovan Peoples-Jones


August 22, 2019
Donovan Peoples-Jones (image via Wolverines Wire)

Name: Donovan Peoples-Jones
Height:
6’2″
Weight:
208 lbs.
High school:
Detroit (MI) Cass Tech
Position:
Wide receiver
Class:
Junior
Jersey number:
#9
Last year:
I ranked Peoples-Jones #6 and said he would have 40 catches for 600 yards and 6 touchdowns (LINK). He caught 47 passes for 612 yards and 8 touchdowns; and returned 25 punts for 250 yards and 1 touchdown.
TTB Rating:
92

Peoples-Jones is the ninth-highest rated recruit in Michigan history (in the recruiting era), and last year he started to show some of that promise. There were flashes in 2017, but not the production. Michigan started handing out a team Offensive Skill Player of the Year award in 2018, and Peoples-Jones was the recipient. He led the team with 47 receptions and 8 touchdowns, and his punt returning was solid, too. Highlights of his 2018 season included a 79-yard touchdown against SMU, a 3-touchdown performance against MSU, a 60-yard punt return TD against Nebraska, and a career-high 7 receptions against Ohio State.

Enter the Josh Gattis era. Peoples-Jones has been battling some groin issues, so as long as those problems don’t persist, he should take another step forward. He has the speed to take the top off the defense, the strength to fight off tackles, and the hands to make difficult catches. One area I think Peoples-Jones could improve is in his route running, but Gattis has a reputation as one of the top wide receiver coaches in the country. Alabama threw the ball a ton in 2018, but the top five receivers all had 40+ catches, 6+ touchdowns, and an average of 16+ yards per reception. Will that happen for Michigan in 2019? I doubt it, because the same pieces aren’t available for the Wolverines. Shea Patterson isn’t regarded as highly as Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama’s offensive line was superior, and Alabama had multiple 5-star running backs to threaten on the ground. But we should see an uptick in Peoples-Jones’s production.

Prediction: Starting wide receiver and punt returner; 50 catches for 800 yards and 9 touchdowns

56 comments

  1. 17years
    Comments: 275
    Joined: 2/6/2018
    17years
    Aug 22, 2019 at 8:15 AM

    “a 3-touchdown performance against MSU”
    I know you meant SMU.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1575
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      je93
      Aug 22, 2019 at 8:22 AM

      Yeah, Mason & Nico ea got a TD against sparty

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3318
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Aug 22, 2019 at 12:48 PM

      I did mean SMU. Thanks. He only had 1 catch against MSU, but he made it count.

  2. Avatar
    Comments: 1575
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Aug 22, 2019 at 8:24 AM

    I really want to be excited about DPJ, but I expect that groin – and having options – to limit him quite a bit
    Maybe we’ll get to keep him for 2020

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3318
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Aug 22, 2019 at 8:57 AM

      If anything, I think it will be the groin. Michigan is going to run more plays and pass the ball more in 2019. Peoples-Jones will benefit from that. There really aren’t a ton of options. The only other experienced guys are Collins, Black, and Bell before you get to freshmen and walk-ons. I’m not saying Michigan will be as good as Alabama, but five guys with 40+ receptions is pretty dang good. If Michigan were to replicate that, it would presumably be Peoples-Jones, Black, Collins, Bell, and Sainristil.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5445
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Aug 22, 2019 at 12:37 PM

        “There aren’t a ton of options” vs. list of 3 excellent options plus probably the top spring standout.

        Michigan doesn’t need to try to replicate Alabama’s WR distribution and they shouldn’t try, given their personnel. Michigan should lean on it’s 3 excellent WRs to play as many meaningful downs as they can. Bell, Sainristil, Jackson, Johnson, All, etc. can fill in around the edges or execute more specialized roles.

        ’17 PSU had 3 guys with 50 plus catches. The 4th and 5th WR had 17 and 10. Meaningful snaps for these guys were limited and that was/is perfectly fine.

        The bench WRs are relevant only if they earn the right to be. It’s not a big need. If one of the top 3 goes down you have so many options to step into the critical 3rd spot.

        Michigan is more than fine at WR, even if they aren’t overflowing with 5-stars like Alabama and Clemson.

        • Thunder
          Comments: 3318
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Aug 22, 2019 at 12:47 PM

          Michigan is fine at WR if the guy who always breaks his foot doesn’t break his foot again, and if the guy with the pulled groin doesn’t pull his groin again, and if the freshmen pan out…

          I get that there’s a lot of WR talent on the team, but freshman wide receivers don’t often stand out. The big leap often takes place in year #2, both in college and in the NFL. Oliver Martin was supposed to be a good option, but he’s gone. I’m not going to count on Black being a standout, so we have actual proven receiving talent in Peoples-Jones, Collins, and…Bell (if you can even count Bell).

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5445
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Aug 22, 2019 at 1:04 PM

            You rated Bell pretty highly. I was surprised by that but I think you deserve credit for it. Bell has drawn consistent praise this camp and had a good freshman year. He seems like a legit player. If Bell’s your 3rd guy — it’s not a problem.

            You rated Sainristil even higher. I’m a bit surprised you’re buying the hype here but that’s neither here nor there. Michigan recruited a whole lot of WRs in this class so the odds are that one of the freshman can step into the 4th spot and/or a slot-specialist/H-back type of role, regardless of what happens with the Big 3.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 5445
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Aug 22, 2019 at 1:00 PM

          Why not get DPJ to 80 catches? He’s probably gone after this year and if he’s healthy I think they should be getting to Edwards, Avant, Walker, Gallon levels. Why not if we’re playing faster and attempting more passes?

          Same for Collins or Black. If Funchess and Darboh can catch 60 balls why can’t they?

          There’s plenty of capacity here. Give the ball to your best talents and let them go to work.

          • Thunder
            Comments: 3318
            Joined: 7/13/2015
            Aug 22, 2019 at 1:02 PM

            Only two players in the Big Ten caught 80+ balls last year: Rondale Moore (114) and Parris Campbell (90). That’s a big jump…especially for a guy who has questions about his groin.

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 5445
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Aug 22, 2019 at 1:15 PM

              I was aiming too low. DPJ needs to catch 100 balls. Collins and Black can combine for another 90.

              If a Lloyd Carr offense can get it’s top 3 WR to 97/38/34 in a 12 game season I don’t see why a Gattis offense can’t get to 100/50/40 in a 13 or 14 game season.

              This goes especially with a so-so receiving threat at TE.

              • Thunder
                Comments: 3318
                Joined: 7/13/2015
                Aug 22, 2019 at 1:20 PM

                No offense, but I think you have a misconception about how this offense is going to look. The reason a Lloyd Carr offense got to 97/38/34 is because he “force fed” his alpha, and he was only putting 2-3 receivers on the field. Michigan is going to run a bunch of 11 and 20 personnel, so they’re going to have 3 receivers on the field the vast majority of the time, and the ball is going to be more spread out. You say Peoples-Jones needs to catch 100 balls, but some people are saying Collins has been the best player in practice, period, and others were saying Black was the best receiver on the team going into 2018. And the most impressive receiver this spring was Sainristil.

                I would be very, very, very surprised if Peoples-Jones got anywhere near 90 catches, let alone 100.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 5445
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Aug 22, 2019 at 1:36 PM

                No offense taken. Honestly I don’t care how it’s distributed among the top 3. I’m fine if Black is the top guy. Whatever.

                My point is those 3 alphas should get most of the targets and production.

                Michigan doesn’t have 5 alphas at WR like Alabama had, they have 3. Penn State had none (their alpha was a RB and then a TE) and they still got 50+ catches.

                I do agree there will be plenty of 3 WR sets. But the alphas should be handling 70-80% of those snaps (in meaningful downs). The 4th guy is still very relevant. But he doesn’t need to be targeted equally. Not even close.

                I just don’t see that as a spot to have any concern about when we have so many good options for a support role.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 5445
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Aug 22, 2019 at 1:38 PM

                No offense taken. Honestly I don’t care how it’s distributed among the top 3. I’m fine if Black is the top guy. Whatever.

                My point is those 3 alphas should get most of the targets. The 4th guy doesn’t need to be targeted equally. Not even close.

                • Thunder
                  Comments: 3318
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Aug 22, 2019 at 1:46 PM

                  Okay, but of the 3 alphas, one has a bad groin and one breaks his foot every year. That’s a factor. These projections are not assuming 100% health for the entire season.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 5445
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Aug 22, 2019 at 2:13 PM

                  An injury to the big 3 would certainly spread the distribution lower down the depth chart but it would also consolidate targets to the top 2.

                  I don’t think we can predict future injuries with any confidence.

                  I’ll take the over on 50 catches for the #2 WR.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 5445
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Aug 22, 2019 at 2:14 PM

                  I’ll take the over on the second WR getting 50 catches.

                  I don’t think we can predict future injuries.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 5445
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Aug 22, 2019 at 1:39 PM

                Michigan doesn’t have 5 alphas at WR like Alabama had. They have 3. PSU had zero. Their alphas were at RB and TE. The WRs still all got 50 catches.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 5445
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Aug 22, 2019 at 1:05 PM

          You rated Bell pretty highly. I was surprised by that but I think you deserve credit for it. Bell has drawn consistent praise this camp and had a good freshman year. He seems like a legit player. If Bell’s your 3rd guy it’s not a problem.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5445
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Aug 22, 2019 at 1:07 PM

            You rated Sainristil even higher. Surprised you buying the hype here but that’s neither here nor there. Michigan recruited a whole lot of WRs in this class so the odds are that one of the freshman can step into the 4th spot or a slot specialist or Hback type of role. Thats regardless of what happens with the big 3.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5445
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Aug 22, 2019 at 1:07 PM

            You rated Sainristil even higher. Surprised you buying the hype here but thats neither here nor there. Michigan recruited a whole lot of WRs in this class so the odds are that one of the freshman can step into the 4th spot or a slot specialist or Hback type of role. Thats regardless of what happens with the big 3.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5445
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Aug 22, 2019 at 1:09 PM

            You rated Sainristil even higher. While I don’t agree that specific player deserves it, I do think that given the number of freshman WRs they took you can count on one of them to be a solid contributor for a 4th WR or a specialist role.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5445
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Aug 22, 2019 at 1:15 PM

            Sainristil was even higher.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 5445
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Aug 22, 2019 at 1:06 PM

          You rated Sainristil even higher. Bit surprised you’re buying the hype here but that’s neither here nor there. Michigan recruited a whole lot of WRs in this class so the odds are that one of the freshman can step into the 4th spot and/or a slot-specialist or Hback type of role, regardless of what happens with the Big 3.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 5445
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Aug 22, 2019 at 1:08 PM

          If 2 starters get hurt, every position is screwed. WR less than CB, QB, …every position on the roster save maybe LB.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1262
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Aug 22, 2019 at 12:39 PM

      Doubt it. It’s pretty much a given that he’ll bolt for the NFL. Why wouldn’t he? I just hope we get one elite season out of him.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5445
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Aug 22, 2019 at 1:21 PM

        I expect him gone because he has the elite athleticism that the NFL craves. I hope he has a great year and leaves after it.

        That said – it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where he returns. He’s been outplayed by Black before and Collins broke out last year as an excellent option. Then you have the change in offense and maybe possibly an emergence of slots. He might just be one guy in a crowd like Thunder seems to think he might be.

        If he’s held back by injury or down in the 40s in receptions against a kid like DPJ might see the opportunity to jump from say a 4th round pick to a 1st round pick. Trade off a year of pay to jump a few rounds in the draft is not worth it for most elite players but he might see value in graduating and experiencing college fully too.

  3. Avatar
    Comments: 17
    Joined: 8/20/2015
    GoBlue
    Aug 22, 2019 at 10:41 AM

    I know the WRs have been held back by the type of offense we have been running, but man I hope this year at least one of these big-time kids breaks out. Between the Big 3 of Black, Collins, and Peoples-Jones, I know they get respect, but it just doesn’t seem like any of them, let alone all of them, scare people as they should. Hopefully, the schematic change helps them all, I have high hopes for Collins and Peoples-Jones.
    I’m holding out on Black until he stays healthy and shows out on some of his potential.

  4. Lanknows
    Comments: 5445
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Aug 22, 2019 at 1:04 PM

    You rated Bell pretty highly. I was surprised by that but I think you deserve credit for it. Bell has drawn consistent praise this camp and had a good freshman year. He seems like a legit player. If Bell’s your 3rd guy it’s not a problem.

    You rated Sainristil even higher. I’m a bit surprised you’re buying the hype here but that’s neither here nor there. Michigan recruited a whole lot of WRs in this class so the odds are that one of the freshman can step into the 4th spot and/or a slot-specialist/H-back type of role, regardless of what happens with the Big 3.

  5. Lanknows
    Comments: 5445
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Aug 22, 2019 at 1:05 PM

    You rated Bell pretty highly. I was surprised by that but I think you deserve credit for it. Bell has drawn consistent praise this camp and had a good freshman year. He seems like a legit player. If Bell’s your 3rd guy it’s not a problem.

    You rated Sainristil even higher. I’m a bit surprised you’re buying the hype here but that’s neither here nor there. Michigan recruited a whole lot of WRs in this class so the odds are that one of the freshman can step into the 4th spot and/or a slot-specialist or Hback type of role, regardless of what happens with the Big 3.

  6. Lanknows
    Comments: 5445
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Aug 22, 2019 at 1:05 PM

    You rated Bell pretty highly. I was surprised by that but I think you deserve credit for it. Bell has drawn consistent praise this camp and had a good freshman year. He seems like a legit player. If Bell’s your 3rd guy it’s not a problem.

    You rated Sainristil even higher. I’m a bit surprised you’re buying the hype here but that’s neither here nor there. Michigan recruited a whole lot of WRs in this class so the odds are that one of the freshman can step into the 4th spot and/or a slot-specialist or Hback type of role, regardless of what happens with the Big 3.

  7. Lanknows
    Comments: 5445
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Aug 22, 2019 at 1:37 PM

    No offense taken. Honestly I don’t care how it’s distributed among the top 3. I’m fine if Black is the top guy. Whatever.

    My point is those 3 alphas should get most of the targets and production. The 4th guy doesn’t need to be targeted equally. Not even close.

    Michigan doesn’t have 5 alphas at WR like Alabama had, they have 3. Penn State had none (their alpha was a RB and then a TE) and they still got 50+ catches.

  8. Avatar
    Comments: 1262
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    WindyCityBlue
    Aug 23, 2019 at 6:32 AM

    Underlying all of this is the question of whether our offense will be significantly different and (hopefully) better than any other Harbaugh team. Assuming for the moment that Harbaugh has really, truly, cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die given total control of the offense to Gattis and that he won’t be having a khaki meltdown if Gattis doesn’t run Mason out there on every third and short, it is still a question of whether Gattis has the will and the wherewithal to use our talent to the fullest. Also remaining to be seen is whether Patterson can actually manage to look for and find those fourth and fifth options, or whether he’s going to be locking onto the same 2 or 3 guys all the time.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3318
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Aug 23, 2019 at 8:52 AM

      You come back to this every time the offense is discussed, even though the media/Gattis/Harbaugh have made it clear, and word is that Mason isn’t even practicing any offense.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1262
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Aug 23, 2019 at 9:31 AM

        What coaches say and what happens on the field when the game is on the line are two very different things.

        How much would you be willing to bet that Mason gets no carries on third and short this year?

        • Thunder
          Comments: 3318
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Aug 23, 2019 at 9:34 AM

          $0. I don’t bet with strangers on the internet.

          • Avatar
            Comments: 1262
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            WindyCityBlue
            Aug 23, 2019 at 11:11 AM

            Nice try at a dodge. Thanks for making my point.

            • Thunder
              Comments: 3318
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Aug 23, 2019 at 12:15 PM

              I don’t know what you want me to say. Gattis is in control of the offense, and Mason isn’t playing offense. Can I promise that Mason won’t get a Fat Guy Touchdown against Illinois in October? No, I can’t.

              • Avatar
                Comments: 1262
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                WindyCityBlue
                Aug 23, 2019 at 1:05 PM

                The point is that Mason will get FB carries this year. You know that. I know that. The fact that he’s taking reps at DT now doesn’t change that. And they won’t be “fat guy” gimmick carries. He’ll be used the way he was brought on the team to be used, the way he always has been used.

                • Avatar
                  Comments: 1575
                  Joined: 1/19/2016
                  je93
                  Aug 23, 2019 at 1:19 PM

                  I’ll take the bet. Even with maybe a gimmick thing, I doubt Mason gets more than 5 touches

                  Bet: TTB donation of $50, 100 from the loser?

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 5445
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Aug 23, 2019 at 6:09 PM

                  Most of Mason’s carries were RB carries.

                  But bluster aside, there is a relevant point here that I think is legitimate: there will probably still be jumbo-back carries in 2 back sets in this offense. Mason or BVS will tote the rock sometimes, maybe even often.

                  If the goalline offense is mostly 11 personnel I will be very surprised.

                • Avatar
                  Comments: 1262
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  WindyCityBlue
                  Aug 23, 2019 at 8:13 PM

                  Fine. If Mason gets more than 5 touches on offense, you donate $50. If he gets 5 or fewer, I will. Deal?

                • Avatar
                  Comments: 1575
                  Joined: 1/19/2016
                  je93
                  Aug 23, 2019 at 8:47 PM

                  Deal

                  🤝

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1575
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      je93
      Aug 23, 2019 at 10:20 AM

      The offense was already changed from 17 to 18. All that remains is
      1) no more FB dive (reportedly gone)
      2) pick up the MFn pace! The spring game showed we’re on the right track; and
      3) quicker-developing routes

      None of that is a stretch; Gattis should have this. Can he make it work well enough to make a playoff run? That’s a separate question

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1262
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Aug 23, 2019 at 11:14 AM

        No, what really matters is using the passing game more than 40% of the time, and gearing the offense towards more big plays.

        • Avatar
          Comments: 1575
          Joined: 1/19/2016
          je93
          Aug 23, 2019 at 11:22 AM

          With our RB – WR situation, I think we’ll definitely pass more than 40%. I just don’t ever see it going toward 60 – that’s just not realistic (see Bama, PennSt, MissSt or other similar offense)

          As for big plays, that’s our hope. Instead of the [email protected] developing PA, that our playmakers will create off of quicker “speed in space” situations. Remains to be seen

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 5445
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Aug 23, 2019 at 12:22 PM

      Couple thoughts —

      We’re all guessing about Gattis, a first-time coordinator, and the extent to which he will be influenced by Harbaugh. Spring and summer buzz can guide our expectations (faster pace = more plays, slot WR replacing FB, real RPOs) but it’s absolutely true that the things said in mid-August often are meaningless in November.

      A lot of things affect the run/pass mix. I’d love to run a lot if it means we have commanding leads. If the defense is better than expected – that’s a trade-off I’ll take.

      I just want a higher rated offense (in terms of efficiency) and I want to see an offense that looks strong in the 2-minute drill. There’s no excuse to not be better overall given the returning personnel. Doing better in the 2 minute drill probably means leveraging our WR talent but I’ll take it anyway it comes.

      We don’t have to look like Alabama or PSU. We just need to get the job done. There are a lot of high end defenses on this schedule so there will be plenty of opportunity to prove it. It probably won’t happen exactly the way we expect, if it does at all.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1262
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Aug 23, 2019 at 12:40 PM

        We’ll know by halftime of the Army game what kind of offense to expect from Gattis. Will he use the passing game aggressively, especially against teams without great talent on defense, or will he be playing run-run-pass most of the time, with some play action on 2nd and 8, and running most of the time on 3rd and 1 or 2?

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 5445
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Aug 23, 2019 at 12:56 PM

          I care a whole lot more about what he does against teams with defensive talent than without.

          • Avatar
            Comments: 1262
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            WindyCityBlue
            Aug 23, 2019 at 1:09 PM

            Ultimately yes, but Army will be the first serious team we play, so we’ll know from that game whether Gattis is playing aggressively right from the first drive, or if it’s same-old, same-old until we get behind. Not putting any real stock in anything that we see against MTSU.

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 5445
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Aug 23, 2019 at 6:06 PM

              I’m not sure I’m buying this logic. MTSU had a better defense than Army last year. Army isn’t a score-fast team either so if anything you’d be more inclined to slow-play it against them.

              • Avatar
                Comments: 1262
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                WindyCityBlue
                Aug 23, 2019 at 8:11 PM

                Where is MTSU in the preseason polls? Nuf sed.

                And why would you slow play against Army? Silly to play their game and keep the score low against an inferior team. You score quickly, punish their mistakes quickly, and take them out of their game as early as possible. Make their clock-chewing offense a liability.

                • Thunder
                  Comments: 3318
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Aug 26, 2019 at 9:38 PM

                  Disagree. You do what you do on offense, but there’s no need to play at a breakneck pace.

  9. Lanknows
    Comments: 5445
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Aug 23, 2019 at 12:07 PM

    Thanks for posting all my failed attempts at getting through the formatting criteria. You rated Bell pretty highly. LOL.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3318
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Aug 23, 2019 at 12:13 PM

      I thought you would appreciate the bump in TTBGoPoints.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5445
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Aug 23, 2019 at 12:23 PM

        You should fine me 5000 points for… something. I’ve earned it.

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