Consider helping out the blog by making your Amazon purchases through these here links (LINK):
The BBQ at the Big House will take place on July 27. With so many 2020 commitments right now, this probably won’t be a big weekend for the current class, but more for the rising juniors in the 2021 class.
Reece Atteberry – C – Centennial (CO) Eaglecrest: Atteberry is committed to Michigan (LINK).
Blake Corum – RB – Baltimore (MD) St. Frances: Corum is committed to Michigan (LINK).
Eamonn Dennis – ATH – Worcester (MA) St. John’s: Dennis is committed to Michigan (LINK).
Name: Oliver Martin Height: 6’1″ Weight: 200 lbs. High school: Des Moines (IA) West Position: Wide receiver Class: Redshirt sophomore Jersey number: #80 Last year: I ranked Martin #44 and said he would be a backup wide receiver with 10 catches for 110 yards and 1 touchdown (LINK). He made 11 receptions for 125 yards and 1 touchdown. TTB Rating: 83
Hello, you self-loathing bastards who clicked on this article!
Martin transferred to Iowa, in case you didn’t know. But he was here at #40 on the countdown before that rumor finally became true, so I present to you a reason for disappointment.
Martin was indeed a backup wide receiver, and I was only 1 catch and 15 yards off in my prediction for his 2018 stats. He started one game and his career-best performance so far came against Rutgers with 3 catches for 38 yards and 1 touchdown.
After an off-season full of rumors about whether he would stay or go, he finally decided to head home to greener pastures, where he wouldn’t be blocked for playing time by a gaggle of 4-star recruits who are all 6’2″+ and super fast. I had hopes that Martin would have a good career if he stuck around long enough, but he was always unlikely to pass up the likes of Donovan Peoples-Jones, Nico Collins, and Tarik Black.
Now his 2019 season looks like him redshirting for the second time in three years, this time due to NCAA transfer rules. He will probably be pretty good for Iowa in 2020 and 2021, but it seems like an odd choice to transfer right now. He could have pushed to graduate in three years, played this season, and then become immediately eligible in 2020 with two years left to play for the Hawkeyes. Instead, he sits out this year and will only be able to play 3 out of 5 potential seasons, not 4 out of 5.
Martin’s departure hurts Michigan from a depth perspective. Tarik Black has been constantly injured during his two years on campus, leaving Collins and Peoples-Jones as the dependable returners. Otherwise, Michigan is looking at Ronnie Bell, walk-ons (Jake McCurry, Nate Schoenle), and freshmen (Mike Sainristil and others) to hold down the slot/backup receiver spots.
Name: Ben Mason Height: 6’3″ Weight: 270 lbs. High school: Newtown (CT) Newtown Position: Fullback/defensive tackle Class: Junior Jersey number: #42 Last year: I ranked Mason #18 and said he would be the starting fullback (LINK). He ran 33 times for 80 yards and 7 touchdowns, caught 1 pass for 15 yards, and made 5 tackles. TTB Rating: 74
Mason is a fan favorite for a lot of reasons. An old-fashioned tough football player who does a little bit of everything, he came to Michigan in 2017 with hopes to play linebacker and fullback like Owen Marecic did at Stanford. After a freshman year spent as a backup, Mason took over the starting fullback role with Khalid Hill-like season: 7 touchdowns on less than 3 yards per carry. Michigan even lined him up at tailback sometimes and gave him a 7-yard running start at the defense. He scored a career-high 3 touchdowns in the blowout of Nebraska.
This year Mason has plans to do something we’ve never really seen at Michigan over the time I’ve been around. Vince Helmuth was a ballyhooed fullback in the 2007 recruiting class who eventually ended up practicing at defensive tackle once Rich Rodriguez essentially got rid of the fullback position and Helmuth outgrew it, anyway. But Helmuth never actually played in a game on defense. In Mason’s case, he’s listed as both a fullback and defensive tackle on the official roster, and the coaching staff has talked about his ability to contribute at both positions this fall.
Michigan is de-emphasizing the fullback position in much the same way Rodriguez did, but I still expect Mason to get some playing time as an H-back type of fullback. He probably won’t be in a three-point stance four yards behind the center, but he might be in a two-point stance in the guard-tackle gap. The coaches have also talked about him playing 3-tech defensive tackle. It’s not often that someone his size (he was reportedly up to 270 in the spring) plays 3-tech, but Michigan doesn’t have a lot of depth on the interior line, so it’s a possibility that he could get some reps there.
I like Mason, but with the fullback spot losing importance and the fact that he’s learning a new position to be a 270-280 lb. defensive tackle, I just don’t see him having a huge, season-changing impact on the 2018 team.
Prediction: Starting fullback when there is one, backup defensive tackle