2021 Season Countdown: #96 Peyton Smith

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7Jun 2021
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2021 Season Countdown: #96 Peyton Smith

Peyton Smith (image via MGoBlue)

Name: Peyton Smith
Height:
6’3″
Weight:
190 lbs.
High school:
Traverse City (MI) Central
Position:
Quarterback
Class:
Redshirt freshman
Jersey number:
#7
Last year:
I ranked Smith #104 and said he would redshirt (LINK). He redshirted.
TTB Rating:
N/A

Smith is another pretty solid walk-on quarterback. Michigan has a few guys with potential, including Max Witter (profiled yesterday). He was pretty skinny coming out of high school, and he hasn’t filled out to an ideal size yet. He also doesn’t have the number of snaps you really want to see in a quarterback, as he played wide receiver until midway through his junior year. But given a few years in college, I think Smith could be a pretty decent player. This year isn’t that time, though, and he has a few more talented players ahead of him.

Prediction: Backup quarterback

6Jun 2021
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2021 Season Countdown: #97 Max Wittwer

Max Wittwer (image via MGoBlue)

Name: Max Wittwer
Height:
6’2″
Weight:
205 lbs.
High school:
Utica (MI) Eisenhower
Position:
Quarterback
Class:
Redshirt junior
Jersey number:
#18
Last year:
I ranked Wittwer #102 and said he would be a backup quarterback (LINK). He did not play.
TTB Rating:
N/A

Wittwer enters his fourth season as a walk-on quarterback at Michigan, and he has yet to see time on the field. Despite the revolving door during a shortened season in 2020, he was not in the conversation to play and found himself behind the likes of Dan Villari and fellow walk-on Ren Hefley (who has since transferred to Presbyterian). I think Wittwer could have been a starter at a lower level – and had an offer from Air Force coming out of high school – but it’s a major uphill battle for playing time at Michigan.

Prediction: Backup quarterback

4Jun 2021
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2021 Season Countdown: #98 Jerome Nichols

Jerome Nichols (image via MGoBlue)

Name: Jerome Nichols
Height:
6’1″
Weight:
218 lbs.
High school:
Detroit (MI) Renaissance
Position:
Linebacker
Class:
Redshirt freshman
Jersey number:
#50
Last year:
I ranked Nichols #108 and said he would redshirt (LINK). He redshirted.
TTB Rating:
N/A

Nichols was a standout thumper at inside linebacker in high school. Unfortunately, thumpers in high school often don’t translate well to the college game, where players have to be able to run well, too. I do think Nichols has a little better chance of playing in Mike Macdonald’s system (more of a 3-4) than Don Brown’s (more of a 4-2), but the opportunities may still be limited due to the caliber and experience of some players ahead of him.

Prediction: Backup linebacker

3Jun 2021
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Cornell Wheeler, Ex-Wolverine

Cornell Wheeler

Redshirt freshman linebacker Cornell Wheeler put his name into the transfer portal. Wheeler was a 3-star, the #22 inside linebacker, and #471 overall in the class of 2020.

Wheeler played for Ron Bellamy at West Bloomfield High School, so it surprises me a little bit that he would transfer before even spending one full season with Bellamy on the coaching staff. However, Bellamy coaches safeties, so their contact might be a bit limited. Regardless, this seems like a slightly odd development.

On the other hand, I always thought Wheeler was a bit of a project and would have his best chance to succeed only if he stuck around for a few years. Athletically, he did not jump off the screen on his highlights. I do think he has a chance to be a hard-hitting, solid inside linebacker at the college level, but I would not expect that from him until he’s been in school for three to five years.

Michigan signed five linebackers in the 2020 class, and the only two remaining on the roster are Nikhai Hill-Green and Kalel Mullings. Wheeler, William Mohan (Tennessee), and Osman Savage (Alabama A&M) have all decided to find greener pastures elsewhere.

2Jun 2021
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2021 Season Countdown: #99 Isaiah Gash

Isaiah Gash

Name: Isaiah Gash
Height:
5’11”
Weight:
172 lbs.
High school:
Green Bay (WI) Bay Port
Position:
Running back
Class:
Redshirt freshman
Jersey number:
#41
Last year:
I ranked Gash #102 and said he would redshirt (LINK). He redshirted.
TTB Rating:
N/A

Gash is the son of former NFL fullback Sam Gash. Listed at 5’10” and 185 pounds last year, he is now on the roster at 5’11” and 172 pounds. That’s just another reminder to never trust high school/recruiting site measurements. His former listed weight is too light for a Big Ten running back, let alone his current weight. I don’t think I’ve seen a running back that light at Michigan since 5’6″ walk-on Alijah Bradley (171 lbs.).

Chances are once again slim for Gash to get on the field. Not only is he particularly light, but he’s behind some very talented players, some of whom are already established. Even special teams might be a stretch. For now Gash is likely to be a scout team player.

Prediction: Backup running back