2020 Season Countdown: #23 Ben Mason

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28Aug 2020
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2020 Season Countdown: #23 Ben Mason

Ben Mason

Name: Ben Mason
Height: 
6’3″
Weight: 
254 lbs.
High school: 
Newtown (CT) Newtown
Position: 
Fullback
Class: 
Senior
Jersey number: 
#42
Last year: 
I ranked Mason #41 and said he would be the starting fullback and a backup defensive tackle (LINK). He ran the ball 1 time for 3 yards and made 7 tackles.
TTB Rating:
 74

Mason was probably the most controversial player on the 2019 squad. He came to Michigan as a linebacker/fullback, and prior to last year, he bulked up to play defensive tackle. That seemed somewhat forced – and perhaps frustratingly necessary – because Michigan was both thin at the defensive tackle position and switching to an offense that de-emphasized fullbacks. Early in the season, Michigan messed around with him on the defensive line, and it did not go well. By the end of the year, Mason was basically a “sniffer” fullback, a guy who rarely ran or caught the ball and acted like a pulling guard.

Since last year Mason has dropped 16 pounds and defensive tackle no longer appears to be an option. That was a failed half-year experiment.

I like what Mason brings to the table. He’s tough and loves to hit, and he would have been a stud fullback when it really mattered. The position utilization has dwindled, but it’s a nice change-up in a spread offense. Most teams running a spread use a 10, 11, or 12 personnel, and those tight ends usually hate blocking. Mason gives Michigan a little more toughness at the point of attack, a guy who can effectively kick out a defensive end, wham a defensive tackle, or lead on a linebacker.

Prediction: Starting fullback

25Aug 2020
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2020 Season Countdown: #24 Will Hart

Will Hart

Name: Will Hart
Height: 
6’3″
Weight: 
206 lbs.
High school: 
Hunting Valley (OH) University School
Position: 
Punter
Class: Redshirt senior
Jersey number: 
#17
Last year: 
I ranked Hart #24 and said he would be the starting punter (LINK). He punted 51 times for 2,256 yards (44.2 yards/punt), 7 touchbacks, 13 fair catches, and 11 inside the 20-yard line.
TTB Rating:
 N/A

Hart was a superstar punter in 2018 and borderline All-American after averaging 47 yards per punt. His numbers dipped a little bit in 2019, but he was still very good. His punting average of 44.2 yards per attempt was slightly behind conference leader Blake Hayes (Illinois) and his 44.6-yard average. It’s not that he lost leg power, but his technique and timing seemed to be a little off, and he shanked a couple punts throughout the year.

For the second year in a row, Hart comes in at #24 in the countdown. He has a decent backup in Brad Robbins (42.8 yards/attempt in 2019), but Hart has a stronger leg and can be a weapon at times. Hopefully he returns to his 2018 form and can work out some of the kinks he experienced last season.

Prediction: Starting punter

24Aug 2020
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Ranking Michigan’s Wide Receivers

David Terrell (image via Michigan Football History)

Previously, I ranked the Michigan quarterbacks (LINK) and running backs (LINK) from the beginning of the Lloyd Carr era onward. That corresponds with the time that I have paid close attention to Michigan football.

Now we will take a look at the receivers. Because I don’t have an endless amount of time, I have to trim this down to guys who started at least twelve games in a Michigan uniform, which represents roughly one full season as a starter. The lone exception here is Devin Gardner, who started a bunch of games, but mostly at quarterback.

Hit the jump for the list.

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