Premature 2014 Depth Chart

Premature 2014 Depth Chart

December 3, 2013

I’m doing this more because I was asked than because I want to do it on December 3rd, but this is always a fun exercise, I guess. I am including class of 2014 commits and a few roster players who may not return next year. No walk-ons are included who haven’t already seen significant playing time, so the random guys who pop into the lineup like Ryan Glasgow and Jordan Kovacs are going to naturally be surprises.

 Devin Gardner (5th), Shane Morris (So.), Russell Bellomy (RS Jr.), Wilton Speight (Fr.)*
RB: Derrick Green (So.), DeVeon Smith (So.), Drake Johnson (RS So.), Thomas Rawls (Sr.)
FB: Joe Kerridge (RS Jr.), Sione Houma (Jr.), Wyatt Shallman (RS Fr.)
WR: Devin Funchess (Jr.), Jehu Chesson (RS So.), Freddy Canteen (Fr), Jaron Dukes (RS Fr.)
WR: Amara Darboh (RS So.), Csont’e York (RS Fr.), Drake Harris (Fr.)*, Maurice Ways (Fr.)*
SR: Da’Mario Jones (So.), Justice Hayes (RS Jr.), Dennis Norfleet (Jr.)
TE: Jake Butt (So.), A.J. Williams (Jr.), Jordan Paskorz (5th), Khalid Hill (RS Fr.), Ian Bunting (Fr.)*
LT: Erik Magnuson (RS So.), Logan Tuley-Tillman (RS Fr.), Juwan Bushell-Beatty (Fr.)*
LG: Kyle Bosch (So.), Chris Bryant (RS Jr.), David Dawson (RS Fr.), Mason Cole (Fr.)*
C: Graham Glasgow (RS Jr.), Patrick Kugler (RS Fr.), Jack Miller (RS Jr.)
RG: Kyle Kalis (RS So.), Joe Burzynski (5th), Blake Bars (RS So.), Dan Samuelson (RS Fr.)
RT: Ben Braden (RS So.), Chris Fox (RS Fr.)

SDE: Chris Wormley (RS So.), Keith Heitzman (RS Jr.), Matt Godin (RS So.)
NT: Ondre Pipkins (Jr.), Richard Ash (5th), Maurice Hurst, Jr. (RS Fr.), Brady Pallante (Fr.)*
DT: Willie Henry (RS So.), Bryan Mone (Fr.), Ryan Glasgow (RS So.), Henry Poggi (RS Fr.), Tom Strobel (RS So.)
WDE: Frank Clark (Sr.), Taco Charlton (So.), Mario Ojemudia (Jr.), Lawrence Marshall (Fr.)*
SAM: Jake Ryan (5th), Brennen Beyer (Sr.), Allen Gant (RS So.), Noah Furbush (Fr.)*, Chase Winovich (Fr.)
MIKE: Desmond Morgan (Sr.), Joe Bolden (Jr.), Mike McCray (RS Fr.), Michael Ferns (Fr.)*
WILL: James Ross III (Jr.), Ben Gedeon (So.), Royce Jenkins-Stone (Jr.), Jared Wangler (Fr.)*
CB: Raymon Taylor (Sr.), Channing Stribling (So.), Delonte Hollowell (Sr.), Reon Dawson (RS Fr.), Brandon Watson (Fr.)
CB: Blake Countess (RS Jr.), Jourdan Lewis (So.), Ross Douglas (RS Fr.), Terry Richardson (RS So.)
NB: Jabrill Peppers (Fr.)
FS: Jarrod Wilson (Jr.), Jeremy Clark (RS So.)
SS: Dymonte Thomas (So.), Josh Furman (5th), Delano Hill (So.)

 Matt Wile (Sr.)
P: Will Hagerup (5th)
KR: Dennis Norfleet (Jr.), Jehu Chesson (RS So.)
PR: Jabrill Peppers (Fr.)
LS: Scott Sypniewski (RS Fr.)

* Denotes players I expect to redshirt at this time.
– Slot receiver is not counted as a starting position, and the only guys listed are the guys I expect to be limited to slot receiver. For example, Dennis Norfleet could get lots of snaps in the slot, but he won’t play flanker.
– The nickel position is counted as the guy I would expect to come in as the fifth defensive back. Whether he lines up in the slot or whether Countess moves into the slot, it doesn’t really matter.


  1. Comments: 21381
    Dec 03, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    Since this isn't a high-profile blog (no offense) and this is the comments section, can we speculate about who probably won't be back? There are 5th year guys the staff could give a firm handshake to, and then there are "I want playing time (at a MAC school)" guys.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      This is THE blog. I don't know what you're talking about.

      But go ahead and speculate.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 3:33 PM

      I wouldn't be to shocked to see RB Rawls transfer. Final year of eligibility and having fallen down the depth chart after early playing time I really couldn't blame him. I also seem to remember Richardson causing a stir during his recruitment with comments about looking around because he wanted early playing time. If my memory is correct I wouldn't be surprised to see him look for playing time elsewhere as he's also fallen behind younger guys, and future recruiting at the position looks bright.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 3:42 PM

      Rawls has no role in this team. Can't play in special teams either I think. I hope he takes his degree and go. Another player is obviously Josh Furman, who might stick around due to depth but I hope he packs his bags and go. He kept hurting the team with his slow and uninspired play. That's about it, I think. Richard Ash isn't very good either but the depth is so thin at the D line.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 4:16 PM

      Now that Furman is sort of a default incumbent starter, I definitely don't see him leaving. I expect Thomas or Hill or Clark will beat him out, but the staff won't let him go (we have 5 safeties total) and he will think he has a good chance. Ash is a possibility; maybe Paskorz depending on what the coaches think about Hill, etc. As for playing time guys, I would say Rawls, possibly Hayes (although I think he will get more 3rd down back time with Fitz gone), maybe Jenkins-Stone, definitely Richardson.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 6:02 PM

      Agree that Richardson is a likely transfer…he was jumped on the depth chart by two true freshmen, and there's even more talent in front of him next year. RJS is very possible too, for similar reasons.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 6:14 PM

      suduri: "He kept hurting the team with his slow and uninspired play." Harsh! I'd agree that he seems football-clueless, but have you been inside his head sufficiently to call him uninspired? You seem to be implying that he doesn't care.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 6:59 PM

      Well. Yeah that might've been a bit harsh. But at OSU game for example, he was moving so slow and was hurting us big time. I don't understand how a scholarship guy in the secondary can be so slow and ineffective. He might've costed us the game. That's why I said that out of frustration.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 7:11 PM

      I dislike this kind of speculation. I think it's pretty disrespectful to the players who work hard and contribute. Just because a veteran isn't an all-conference starter, doesn't mean he can't be a significant contributor, especially by senior year.

      Richard Ash is probably a key rotation player next year on the DL, especially with the uncertainty surrounding Pipkins. He's a veteran – not a bad player. At the very least, he's a goalline package player. In the best case scenario, he might even fight for a starting spot (though I don't expect it.)

      Paskorz may be the 3rd TE. Furman may start at Safety. RJS was a decent special teams player (and one of the MVPs of the OSU game!). He could move to SAM and be Ryan's backup.

      Even Richardson could end up developing into a special teams standout, slot corner down the line. Still just arrived to campus a little over a year ago.

      Don't count these guys out. Be patient.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 7:28 PM

      Ok Lanknows, good for you. You think no one should say bad things about guys playing, even when they do a shitty job. If that's what you think, that's great, but I am of the opinion that people consistently doing bad jobs should be called out. Let's say it's a difference of opinion.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 9:51 PM

      Saying someone didn't play well, or even saying they don't deserve to start, is not the same as saying they don't deserve to be on the team.

      There is football playing time and then there is the fact that these are student-athletes, human beings who rely on scholarships to set themselves up for the future.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 11:42 PM

      Yeah. I can agree with that, but remember I never said they don't deserve to be on the team. I said I'd rather see them take the degree and move on. Do you really think Furman can make a meaningful contribution? Even as a fifth-year senior? I doubt it man. I appreciate his effort, but this is big boy football. Guys who cannot contribute need to move on (hopely after getting their degrees). They already got 200k in tuition and living expenses.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 04, 2013 at 1:22 AM

      Furman is already making meaningful contributions on special teams. I think he can compete for the starting SS job. He's got the speed and size to be a quality player, just has to get the mental side down. Will it happen? Probably not if you ask me but people make nice leaps as seniors pretty routinely. I think Taylor or Clark will start at safety. Maybe Hill or Thomas even, before Furman. But none of us know.

      Keeping Furman on the team lets Michigan keep a red-shirt on a '14 freshman, which I think is a nice luxury. Better than using someone like Ferns or Thomas to fill needs on special teams.

  2. Comments: 21381
    Dec 03, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    Looks to be a strong team if the OTs can play and the interior line improves – but wow that's a young line. Hopefully Gardner can elevate the offense. Defense should be approaching top-tier.

    We'll need a little luck at Safety and WR but the talent is there. And Borges may need to give up on 2 TE sets unless Hill is ready or Bunting can do what Butt did this year.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 3:54 PM

      It's a young offense overall. We'll only have four upperclassmen starters, and that's if you count Kerridge/AJ Williams as one full starter. It could be three upperclassmen starters if Kugler beats out Glasgow at Center.

  3. Comments: 21381
    Dec 03, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    The big elephant in the room obviously is the youth of the OL. If Kugler somehow wins the Center spot (stranger things have happened), we could actually have all Soph's starting. I can already feel the pain for Gardner…. Morris better be game ready for sure by next fall. Funk coaching up a bunch of Soph's on the OL just doesn't give me the warm and fuzzies.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 3:44 PM

      It can be a good line I think. Most guys have redshirted so they're in their 3rd years in the program… which isn't too young. I hope the guys realize what's at stake and eat/lift like crazy.

  4. Comments: 21381
    Dec 03, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    Interesting that you have Canteen contributing with a redshirt for Ways. What have you seen out of Canteen that leads you to believe he will contribute vs. Ways? Granted, there is more film out there on Ways – but he seems bigger, stronger, and just a touch faster overall than Canteen…although Canteen has the route running and short-area "quicks". Just interested in your thoughts!

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 3:46 PM

      Ways is more physically developed, but Canteen is a very good route runner. I think he might be able to play in the slot or on the outside, and I think he has more ability to run some of those long developing routes that Borges loves. I have high hopes for Ways, too, but it's just technical ability vs. raw physical ability. I really wouldn't be surprised either way.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 7:13 PM

      Team Canteen! Hipster-love for Freddie as a future star!

  5. Comments: 21381
    Dec 03, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    Scary thing is with that much youth, especially in key positions is that this team may actually take a step back next year if you can believe that. 6-6 is as much a possibility as is 9-3. Depends on how the kids play.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 5:32 PM

      Sure there's some youth, but the only concerning place where's there's youth is on the O-line and Dymonte at SS. Everyone else who's young is a proven contributor as we speak (Butt, Henry, Wormley, Green)

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 7:14 PM

      The key is the OL.

      The D should take a significant step forward with so much returning talent.

  6. Comments: 21381
    Dec 03, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    Do you think any of your "pure" slot receivers are going to see many actual snaps? None of them could beat out Jeremy Jackson for snaps this year, aside from the telegraphed Norfleet jet sweeps. Would you be surprised to see one of the other young receivers getting most of the time as a third WR?

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 4:03 PM

      I'm thinking/hoping Jackson was a glitch. He was a coach's son and probably less physically talented than any other WR on the roster. I wouldn't be surprised to see someone else play in the slot, such as Chesson, Canteen, etc. But yes, I do think Jones, Norfleet, or Hayes will get quite a few snaps next year.

  7. Comments: 21381
    Dec 03, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    Thanks, this is why I like this site much more than MGOBLOG

  8. Comments: 21381
    Dec 03, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    Couple of questions…
    Is Burzynski a walk-on or scholarship?
    Isn't Allen the scholarship punter still here?
    Thanks for considering.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 4:28 PM

      Burzynski was a walk-on. I'm not sure if he's on scholarship now or not.

      Kenny Allen is a walk-on punter, and yes, he's still here. I've heard good things about him. He'll probably be the kicker and/or punter in 2015, if not earlier.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 9:32 PM

      Burzynski is on scholarship. He's been on scholarship since his RS SO year

  9. Comments: 21381
    Dec 03, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    A little OT, but when is your next version of "what am I reading" coming out? Our tastes run the same, and I usually get suggestions that I end up enjoying.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 4:29 PM

      That's a good question. I haven't done one in awhile because I don't have a lot of reading time during football season, but now I'm about to finish a couple different books. I'm guessing I'll probably post one by the end of the month. I'm glad you appreciate those posts.

  10. Comments: 21381
    Dec 03, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    The O-Line is still so young.

  11. Comments: 21381
    Dec 03, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    The Defense better step it up big time and pitch some shutouts or relatively low scoring outings. With the amount of experience and talent on that side of the ball it should be one of the best in the B1G, if not #1.

    And for the bad… I'm afraid to say the OL will once again be our Achilles' heel, thanks RichRod!

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 6:17 PM

      While you're at it, save about 10% of your angst for the people (former players, Freep) that created a difficult recruiting atmosphere.

      Notice that I left 90% for RichRod. He still should have taken fliers on a couple of Rivals 5.5s (say).

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 7:19 PM

      Hoke will have had 4 recruiting classes to address the situation Rodriguez left behind on OL. Yes, I know 2011 wasn't his fault and yes, I know that OLmen typically red-shirt. Nonetheless, if you can't field 5 starters after that long it's mostly on you.

      To get specific – I think taking only 4 OLmen in the '12 class was a big mistake by Hoke. Once you saw that the only carry-overs were Miller (small), Bryant (injury-prone) and Burzynski (walk-on), you should have taken at least 6 in that class. Rodriguez did that in 2008.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 04, 2013 at 1:31 AM

      Very good point. I thought 2013 was a bit of overkill with Dan Samuelson and all that. If Hoke wanted to fill in the depth chart's gap, 2012 was the year.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 04, 2013 at 1:39 AM

      @Anonymous LMAO. Yeah A big chunk of blame definitely goes to Rich Rod, who wasted several scholarships on risky players such as DJ Williamson (a track star with no football skills), Austin White (character flaws) and Demar Dorsey (character flaws).

      Had he invested those scholarships on some solid O-linemen, we would've won a few more games this season.

  12. Comments: 21381
    Dec 03, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    Thanks Thunder, FWIW I pretty much agree with what you predict with the obvious caveat that some of these guys will not be here through attrition…. but no one of great moment. A few things I think might go another way: McCray to SAM – he is has always been listed as a MLB but sure looks like a SAM and we have a need for immediate depth there. Poggi to SDE – not big enough for 3 tech though may wind up there later in his career. (I actually would like to see him tried at Big Blocking Tight End. We really need one (sorry AJ) and he looked good pancaking fools in HS.) Strobel to SDE – similar to Poggi (but not the TE bit). Safety depth is thin so I expect one or two of the larger corners to be moved back… and Delano Hill will move past Furman. Thanks again for the work.

  13. Comments: 21381
    Dec 03, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    Nice to see some depth beginning to appear at O-line. It's young, but you can see the layers of O-line recruits building.

    Also nice to see that just about every single projected starter for next year has had significant PT already including 10 of 11 on a good defense and 9 of 11 on offense

  14. Comments: 21381
    Dec 03, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    Do you really expect Beyer to move back to SAM? I guess I could see it due to the depth issues there… guess I'm just hoping for too much out of the young guys at this point.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 7:34 PM

      There's not much at SAM, though. Gordon is gone, so it's just Jake Ryan and Brennen Beyer. Then Allen Gant and freshmen.

  15. Comments: 21381
    Dec 03, 2013 at 7:03 PM

    Fun exercise. Here is where I differ:

    Chesson over Darboh – I think they year of experience and health gives him the edge. He was always the higher ceiling player too based on speed.

    Beyer over Heitzman – Ryan will get most of the SAM snaps and they won't keep Beyer off the field. Wormley could end up at DT.

    Clark over Thomas at Safety. Clark's a big boy and could make a pretty good SS. 2 years of practicing the position should be a big advantage over Thomas, who hasn't been practicing at safety yet(?).

    Stribling over Taylor. I don't think Taylor will be benched, but he could move around a bit, maybe even to safety if Clark doesn't work out. I don't think they'll be able to keep Stribling off the field even with Peppers. Speaking of…

    Peppers – I think he'll return kicks, maybe play some slot WR, and have spot duty in the secondary.

    Canteen/Harris/Jones over Ways/Duke/York – Just my guess based on recruiting profiles, but I don't think Ways, Duke, or York will ever be more than depth players.

    Slot is not a position, in my mind. I think whoever the #3 WR is will get the bulk of action there – could be Darboh if Funchess moves to WR fulltime. Could be Norfleet or Hayes. Could even be Bunting.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 7:07 PM

      I guess I don't see what you mean about slot receiver. Dileo was pretty clearly the third-best WR on the roster to begin the year, but the coaches didn't insert him in Darboh's place. They kept him at slot receiver and elevated Jehu Chesson, who was still very raw early in the year.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 7:33 PM

      A) I think that was a mistake, but B) I think Dileo was an exception – where the coaches just didn't trust a guy that small to play outside (other than Gallon, who was simply special.) The small receivers are gone now.

      I think slot is a position where you can put a more limited player (height or speed) if you need to.In other words, my view is that any outside WR can slide inside, but not every receiver can play outside. I don't see too many guys they coaches are recruiting that are limited to the slot (except guys they've moved there from RB).

      It might be different if we ran a bunch of bubble screens to the slot WR and wanted a 'space' player, but we're throwing our screens to TEs, RBs, and FBs as often as prototypical 'slot' WRs.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 7:35 PM

      But the small receivers aren't gone now because Hoke has said that Norfleet and Hayes are slot receivers.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 9:52 PM

      I didn't hear Hayes had been moved.

      Norfleet – yeah, OK – but he's one guy and not been used as a receiver much. Seems like more of a "we gotta put him SOMEWHERE" kind of situation to me.

  16. Comments: 21381
    Dec 03, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    Vic Enwere after the Ohio game: "It was cool I guess." Sounds like a dud. I think we can take a pass on taking a RB for 2014 unless Fournette changes his mind.

  17. Comments: 21381
    Dec 03, 2013 at 9:37 PM

    Thunder, I know you're the expert, but at OL, I have from LT to RT Erik Magnuson—>Chris Bryant—>Graham Glasgow—>Kyle Bosch—->Kyle Kalis THOUGHTS?

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 9:44 PM

      In my personal opinion, Michigan's late-season success with the inside zone will translate to Michigan running a lot of zone next year with Devin Gardner still at the helm. If Gardner leaves for some reason, then I could see Michigan transition full-time to power/iso runs. I think you also have to have the outside zone as an option, and I just don't think Bryant is a good fit for that system. Bryant is a better gap/power blocker than zone blocker, which is why I was more interested in Bryant once Rodriguez was fired and Hoke was hired. Rodriguez's pursuit of Bryant always confused me a little bit because the system and player didn't mesh.

      So anyway, more zone = less Bryant. Take Bryant out of your equation, and now you're left with filling a guard spot OR putting Kalis back at guard and filling a tackle spot. Otherwise, our lineups are approximately the same.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 9:54 PM

      Yeah, I know where you're coming from. It'd be neat to have all 5 starters be Hoke's guys, but the thing is I'm legimately scared to see an OL with Ben, not anything against him, but the fact that he has almost no game experience, and the OL did horrible with 3 OL with little to no game experience.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 9:56 PM

      re: Bryant I think Rodriguez wanted to run some power. You saw a good dash of I-form running from him, you saw recruiting players like Hopkins. I think he wanted to eventually be able to have not only the mighty-mite space players but also the straight ahead power game.

      Worth remembering that he was still in transition with that offense too. The offense had improved, but lots hadn't been installed yet – especially tempo stuff.

  18. Comments: 21381
    Dec 03, 2013 at 10:13 PM

    Only two Freshman in the two deep is a step in the right direction. I hope it lasts, with the one exception below.

    My buddy with the Cass Tech connections continues to assure me that Delano Hill is a beast in waiting ….. I'm pulling for him.

    But ….. and I know that somebody has already come up with this one, I'd really like to see one of the tall Corners and Jehu Chesson get a good look at Safety. I would feel a whole lot better about six or seven guys competing there than I do about five. Jehu Chesson has some pretty nice size for a Safety and sure seems to like his contact. Wide receiver is a strength of this incoming freshman class, and I think that any of the three have a legitimate chance for playing time at a position where Freshman are often able to contribute.

    While I have no problem with the above starting defensive backfield, I really do like the idea of a physical presence at the Nickel and would like to see Dymonte Thomas get another look there before anointing Jabrill Peppers for the spot, and despite his wealth of experience, I'd like to see Ramon Taylor in just a dogfight for playing time with Stribbling/Peppers/somebody/anybody ….. Nothing personal, it's just that we are on the cusp of a pretty solid almost athletic across the board defense for the first time since 2006. I've been around here a long time and am not properly wired to handle bad defense.

  19. Comments: 21381
    Dec 03, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    The nice thing here is that we lose very few players of consequence after the 2014 season. Gardner and Ryan, and that's about it. If we're able to finally develop the talent we've been recruiting, we'll be loaded in 2015.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 03, 2013 at 11:48 PM

      Absolutely. I am expecting big things in 2015. We also get MSU and OSU at home.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 04, 2013 at 1:14 AM

      There has never been a time when projections 2 years out haven't looked good.

      In 2011 people said the same thing. "Once Hoke gets this thing stabilized and some of his recruits contributing…"

      In 2015 people will say the same thing.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 04, 2013 at 6:00 PM

      …. in 2011 I thought the line was going to be an issue moving forward. I looked at the OL and said we're absolutely screwed in 2013 because the numbers weren't there in the underclassmen. In 2012 I looked at the OL and said we're absolutely screwed in 2013, and 2014 might be able to hold their own. In 2013 I looked at the OL and said we might be decent in 2014, but there should be enough depth where we're going to be ok moving forward.

      It's not always a 2 year projection looks good. In this year, it legitimately does. There were a lot of glaring issues in recruiting during Rich Rod's tenure. For chrissakes, there were times he had more SLOT receivers than interior defensive linemen, or offensive linemen. That's an issue. It has taken a little time for Hoke to right the ship, but it seems like he's doing it. When I look at the roster now, there are good numbers moving forward, and I see no glaring positional needs. SAM might be a little young right now, but Winovich, Furbush, and McCray all seem like they could become viable options. Heck, if Gant puts on weight he might be able to excel there as well.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 04, 2013 at 6:08 PM

      You have too many players playing out of position.

      Beyer could be at SDE in some packages, but we're really going to need him to be able to spell Ryan at SAM unless Gant or any freshmen come in and surprise the pants off all of us.

      Bolden isn't a SAM. He is not the swiss army knife that can rotate to SAM. He doesn't have the strength or ball hawking screaming instincts you want in your SAM.

      Taco is not a SDE. He has the frame where he could bulk up, but right now he has good speed and length to be a good WDE. Our SDE rotation of Wormley Heitzman and Godin should be good enough where we don't have to throw Taco in there.

      Pepper isn't going to start off at SS. It's rare to have freshmen make impacts on the OL/DL, and it's rare to have freshmen make impacts at safety. It's your last line of defense – typically, it takes a bit of coaching for a player to be great back there. Corner or Nickel is a much more realistic position for Peppers because those positions take less learning, and more raw athletic talent. Not saying he can't end up at safety, but that's not his position freshman year.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 04, 2013 at 8:09 PM

      @Lankows, you know, a part of what you say may be true, but listen: speculations in 2011 about 2013 was just based on sheer optimism of that BCS bowl winning season. The optimism now is based on facts (solid recruiting and Hoke's guys growing in the system).

  20. Comments: 21381
    Dec 03, 2013 at 11:26 PM

    One player no one has commented on yet is Mone. You have him in the two-deep at a position where true freshmen rarely play. What are your thoughts there? How excited are you or is that more of a knock on the other guys?

    I think Braden will be given every chance to play RT next year and he was the 6th lineman on the field against OSU. I also think that the rest of your OL prediction is highly likely. But if Braden doesn't cut it, can you summarize your feelings on the rest of the candidates? (Fox, LTT, interior player like Kalis moving to tackle, etc.)

    Finally, with so little film to go on, can you offer your take on the open safety spot between Clark/Hill/Thomas?

    – AC1997

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 04, 2013 at 1:13 AM

      It is fairly common for freshman DLmen to play. Mone looks physically mature already. I'm with Thunder in expecting him to contribute right away.

      Only way he red-shirts is if he behind other players, but with Washington and Black gone and Pipkins return in question, there is a whole lot of opportunity there.

    • Comments: 21381
      Dec 04, 2013 at 8:48 PM

      Usually more common for defensive ends than defensive tackles to play early. Sheer athleticism gets you further as an end than it does inside.

  21. Comments: 21381
    Dec 04, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    This staff has had the mentality of getting the best 11 out on the field. So defensively, I see some differences:

    SDE: Brennen Beyer (Sr.), Taco Charlton (So.), Keith Heitzman (RS Jr.), Matt Godin (RS So.)
    – Brennan Beyer moves to SDE full-time due to Hoke and Mattison's best 11 philosophy. Also, Taco moves from WDE to SDE because he will be 6'6 and 280ish.

    NT: Ondre Pipkins (Jr.), Bryan Mone (Fr.), Maurice Hurst, Jr. (RS Fr.), Richard Ash (5th), Brady Pallante (Fr.)*
    – Mone is the backup NT and Hurst pushes passed Ash.
    DT: Chris Wormley (RS So.), Willie Henry (RS So.), Henry Poggi (RS Fr.), Ryan Glasgow (RS So.), Tom Strobel (RS So.)
    – Wormley is moved to 3Tech full-time also due to best 11.

    WDE: Frank Clark (Sr.), Mario Ojemudia (Jr.), Lawrence Marshall (Fr.)*

    SAM: Jake Ryan (5th), Joe Bolden (Jr.), Allen Gant (RS So.), Noah Furbush (Fr.)*, Chase Winovich (Fr.)
    – Joe Bolden is the swiss army knife for our LB corp and rotates at SAM as well.

    MIKE: Desmond Morgan (Sr.), Mike McCray (RS Fr.), Michael Ferns (Fr.)*
    – In the case of an injury here, Bolden is the back-up MIKE.

    WILL: James Ross III (Jr.), Ben Gedeon (So.), Royce Jenkins-Stone (Jr.), Jared Wangler (Fr.)*

    CB: Raymon Taylor (Sr.), Channing Stribling (So.), Delonte Hollowell (Sr.), Reon Dawson (RS Fr.), Brandon Watson (Fr.)*
    CB: Blake Countess (RS Jr.), Jourdan Lewis (So.), Ross Douglas (RS Fr.), Terry Richardson (RS So.)
    FS: Jarrod Wilson (Jr.), Jeremy Clark (RS So.)
    SS: Jabrill Peppers (Fr.), Dymonte Thomas (So.), Delano Hill (So.), Josh Furman (5th)
    NB: Peppers or Countess

    In regards to the starting CB's and Safeties, these 4 spots will go to the four best defensive backs, period. IMO, they are (including experience level, not just talent) 1. Blake Countess 2. Raymon Taylor 3. Jabrill Peppers 4. Jarrod Wilson 5. Jourdan Lewis 6. Channing Stribling 7. Dymonte Thomas/Delano Hill (tie)

    Peppers or Taylor will move to safety and when Lewis or Stribling comes in Peppers or Countess can move to nickelback (unless Peppers is the starting safety. Peppers will be on the field on Day ONE!

  22. Comments: 21381
    Dec 05, 2013 at 4:07 AM

    Looks reasonable, except for a couple of caveats:
    1. I think it was a really bad sign that Braden couldn't get on the field this year, even ahead of undersized Magnuson. To get the best five linemen on the field, I believe Michigan will end up starting (from left to right) Magnuson, Bosch, Kugler, Bosch, Kalis.
    2. I find it very, very hard to believe that Drake Harris will be behind Csont'e York or Jehu Chesson at the beginning of next year. Simply has too much talent. Hell, I don't think it's a slam dunk that Darboh will start over him either.
    3. I do think they will try to move Beyer to SDE. Have him bulk up and become another Craig Roh.
    4. This is more hope than true conjecture, but I have to think Maurice Hurst, Jr. will pass Ash. Ash has done very little in his career, while Hurst should see a significant leap between his first and second years.

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