If I Had My Druthers . . . 2020 Transfers

If I Had My Druthers . . . 2020 Transfers

December 23, 2019
Jovan Swann (#51, image via Rivals)

Michigan is rumored to have some interest in various potential transfers. I will address some of those rumored players here. I cannot claim to have watched all of these players play – especially in college – but I will do my best to evaluate how they would fit on Michigan’s roster.

NOTE: I am only looking at players that Michigan has been tied to in one way or another, because otherwise, obviously this would be way too overwhelming.

Hit the jump for the list.

  1. Jovan Swann (RS Sr.) – DE/DT – Stanford: Swann was not recruited by Michigan out of the state of Indiana in 2016. He made 31 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, and 4 sacks starting as a 4-tech or 4i in Stanford’s three-man front. I like Swann’s motor and quickness off the ball. He may be a little undersized to play 3-tech in a four-man front, but I think he would jump into Michigan’s rotation pretty easily if they go with four down linemen. Some combination of Carlo Kemp, Chris Hinton, and Swann would be Michigan’s best trio on the interior, in my opinion.
  2. Michael Thompson (RS So.) – OL/DT – Oklahoma: Thompson is a former 4-star and top-100 player from the class of 2018. A one-time Army All-American, he tore his ACL before starting his career at Oklahoma and has not played a college game yet. He came in as a defensive tackle and was moved to the offensive line. Watching his high school film (LINK), I think he would be doing a disservice to himself if he tried to play defensive line. He has potential galore on the offensive line, though his technique was lacking. Listed at 6’5″ and 336 lbs., he’s a mammoth human who can move well. He would be somewhat of a boom-or-bust transfer target, but I think Michigan has room for someone like that.
  3. Michael Williams (RS Sr.) – NT – Stanford: Williams is a little undersized at 6’2″ and 290 lbs. He was recruited by Michigan out of high school but picked the Cardinal instead. A 25-game starter, he had 24 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 2 quarterback hurries in 2019. I think Williams is a good player, but he’s not a difference-maker; he’s a place-holder. If everyone returns for Michigan (Carlo Kemp, Michael Dwumfour, Mazi Smith, Chris Hinton), I don’t know that Williams is much of an upgrade.
  4. Almosse Titi – DT – Iowa Western Community College: Titi is a 6’3″, 310 lb. defensive tackle who’s coming from the JUCO level. He’s considered to be a 3-star and the #142 JUCO player. Michigan doesn’t take many JUCO players, so the Wolverines have to be selective. Titi is originally from France, so the distance from “home” is going to be basically the same anywhere he goes: an Atlantic Ocean away. I like Titi’s quickness off the ball; he’s more explosive than Williams (see above) or Walker (see below), but he’s not as ready to play as Swann (see above) or Williams. (Watch his film here.)
  5. K.J. Costello (RS Sr.) – QB – Stanford: Costello only played in five games in 2019 due to injury, but he completed 61.1% of his passes for 1,038 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. (His numbers were much better in 2018 when he completed 65% of his passes for 3500 yards, 27 TD, and 11 INT.) Michigan recruited Costello out of high school. Costello lacks the athleticism to run Josh Gattis’s offense to its full potential (18 carries for 24 yards in 2019), and he also has some issues with his mechanics. He would also cause upheaval to Michigan’s quarterback depth chart. If you bring him in, you probably intend for him to start – which would probably ensure that Dylan McCaffrey and/or Joe Milton transfer.
  6. Devery Hamilton (RS Sr.) – OT – Stanford: Hamilton was committed to Michigan during the class of 2016 and will be a grad transfer with immediate eligibility. He started at left guard for Stanford to begin this season. I went back and watched some film of Hamilton this year (prior to an injury that cost him a large chunk of the season), and I was not impressed. He’s less physical than I expected from a redshirt junior Stanford offensive lineman. Maybe that’s coaching – Stanford did struggle this year – but his performance doesn’t scream that he would be an immediate upgrade. I think Michigan has two good offensive tackles in Jalen Mayfield and Ryan Hayes, but Hamilton could step in at one of the guard positions and help bridge the gap for the departing Ben Bredeson and Michael Onwenu.
  7. Issaac “Ike” Walker (RS Fr.) – DT – UCF: Walker is listed at 6’4″ and 350 lbs. He was not recruited by Michigan in the 2019 class. Since he redshirted at UCF this season, there’s no college film of him. Based on some high school clips (LINK), he would be a huge project. There’s potential there, but I’m not sure it’s worth it unless you’re desperate for big bodies.
  8. Coy Cronk (RS Sr.) – OT – Indiana: Cronk is listed as a 6’5″, 325 lb. player on Indiana’s roster. He has started 40 games in his career, but an injury in 2019 caused him to miss all but four games. Cronk was a 3-star, the #41 offensive tackle, and #393 coming out of high school in 2016, but he is playing well below that ranking. When coaches say “Pass blocking isn’t passive,” that must be a dig at Cronk. He does not take good angles, he does not move his feet well, and he lacks aggression. On top of that, he looks shorter than his listed height. Not only does he not seem to be on par with Michigan’s starters from 2019, he does not even seem to be on the same level as the key backups.

If there are any other potential transfers connected to Michigan that you want me to add to the list, please mention them in the comments.


  1. Avatar
    Comments: 1785
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    Dec 24, 2019 at 12:28 AM

    Williams & Swann are deficit worth looking in to

    I get the anti-Costello thought, but with Mac we have to HOPE he can make it through more than a few plays without getting himself killed. In that sense, is Costello’s lack of running any worse a situation?
    The. There’s Milton, who we haven’t seen anything promising from; he gifts balls to defenders, regardless of the lack of pressure or creative coverage

    Both QBs COULD do well, but neither is likely to be Costello 2018, or Shea in November2019

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1785
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      Dec 24, 2019 at 12:29 AM

      *definitely, not deficit

      **Then there’s Milton…

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3543
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 24, 2019 at 7:17 AM

      Depth chart with Costello (2020): 1. Costello, 2. McNamara, 3. Villari
      Depth chart with Costello having graduated (2021): 1. McNamara, 2. Villari, 3. McCarthy
      Depth chart without Costello (2020): 1. McCaffrey, 2. Milton (maybe), 3. McNamara, 4. Villari
      Depth chart without Costello (2021): 1. McCaffrey, 2. Milton (even more unlikely), 3. McNamara, 4. Villari, 5. McCarthy

      I don’t think that’s worth it.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1785
        Joined: 1/19/2016
        Dec 24, 2019 at 7:34 AM

        You’re assuming both transfer. That’s a big “if,” and also assumes one won’t transfer anyway, regardless of who they lose out to

        As for 2021, there’s always the portal…

        I’m not saying I want this. I’m saying it’s how CFB must be looked at, every year from now on. Players will consider it, and so should coaches

        • Thunder
          Comments: 3543
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Dec 24, 2019 at 7:54 AM

          That stance is somewhat hypocritical. On the one hand, you’re complaining that Michigan’s recruited quarterbacks don’t play/aren’t developing. On the other hand, you’re suggesting that Michigan should make moves to keep the transfer QBs rolling in. If you keep bringing in transfer QBs, you’re basically ensuring that you’re going to lose the recruited players below them.

          Do you want Michigan to put the best QB possible out there? Or do you want Michigan to develop its homegrown QBs?

          There’s ALWAYS going to be a better QB out there than your backup. It’s the “The Devil you know is better than the Devil you don’t” situation. A K.J. Costello with a “proven” track record and a lot of film is going to look more enticing than your #2 or #3 guy who didn’t play much, and there are guys like that every year, going back to O’Korn, Rudock, Patterson, etc. This year there’s Costello, Franks, Gatewood, Sears, etc., all of whom are enticing.

          P.S. I would prefer to put the best QB out there, but I don’t think Costello is necessarily that guy. IMO, he’s better than Milton but not as good for this offense as McCaffrey.

  2. Avatar
    Comments: 1785
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    Dec 24, 2019 at 8:11 AM

    How is it hypocritical? I didn’t complain, I asked a question, regarding improvements in recruiting. QB is mentioned (last) as a gap because none of the six who have signed have started a season

    If the results were ou or ohio, great. But that’s not what we’re getting; instead QB play (except Nov 2015&19) has been not great. Again, not complaining, but a recruiting “win” would be much, much better than what we’ve had.
    Is that wrong?

    To answer your question, I’d rather have home grown QBs be the best answer, but am not sure that’s what we have. Harbaugh hasn’t trusted Mac to pass, despite the hype; from what we’ve seen in Milton, I don’t trust him to pass

    That’s why I’m saying it’s at least worth looking around

  3. Lanknows
    Comments: 5873
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Dec 24, 2019 at 12:48 PM

    I don’t see any big needs on the roster if we get everybody back but if there is a good two-way fit you always welcome a potential contributor. Danna was really helpful this year.

    I wouldn’t mess with QB hierarchy. McCaffrey-Milton-McNamara. Nice mix of upside and experience (on the practice field at least). If Harbaugh goes for a transfer it would be a sign things aren’t going well. I’m looking forward to hopefully NOT managing another transition. Hopefully the team is closer to a finished product in September than it has been in recent years. If McCaffrey, Gattis, and Warriner all return I think the offense will look quite good.

    Read Eubanks may not return in which case a veteran TE might fit in nicely, particularly if he can block. That said, I’m not sure where Eubanks thinks he’s going to just yet. Guessing he is back and TE continues to be solid and deep.

    Not worried about OL yet with Mayfield, Hayes, Steuber, Spanellis, Vastardis all hopefully back and the kids to push them. If Ruiz goes pro a transfer might make more sense. If he doesn’t I doubt there’s an upgrade out there.

  4. Avatar
    Comments: 408
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    Dec 24, 2019 at 9:34 PM

    I’m weary of Harbaugh not playing the qb’s he’s recruited to come to Michigan. Back to ’18 – I don’t believe Michigan’s record is any different if McCaff started & Patterson never arrived……..
    ’19 – Michigan’s record is no different with McCaff starting and Patterson never arrived.
    ’20 – Michigan has a 2 year starter going onto year 3 and Milton with more experience which would’ve made a big difference I think re the ’20 season which is going to be a tough one any way but if Michigan had a now 3 year starter maybe they’d win some games they are most likely going to lose in ’20.
    As I see It ………INTJohn

    • GKblue
      Comments: 347
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Dec 25, 2019 at 8:26 AM

      “I’m weary of Harbaugh not playing the qb’s he’s recruited to come to Michigan.” – I agree with this. His recruits need experience and confidence. QB development is always important.

      Although I think they would have benefited with more snaps strategically when Patterson got squirrely or in junk time, I am glad we had Patterson. I think the risk of McCaff getting injured has to be accounted for in your theory and both he and Milton (as far as we know) couldn’t convince Harbaugh they were ready to take over. Saying the records would be unchanged is pure speculation, we were not there to judge them in practice. But, I do understand where you are coming from.

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