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Now’s your chance to lambaste me for my idiocy, so you can go check out my season predictions if you want (LINK).
Season prediction: Hassan Haskins, 900 yards
Actual: Hassan Haskins, 1327 yards
Scoop: I thought Michigan might spread the ball around a little more – and I did not expect Haskins to get 270 carries – but Haskins got a big boost in production when Blake Corum injured his ankle. Haskins notched 27, 31, 20, and 28 carries in the wake of Corum’s injury before the latter returned healthy. The last time any running back topped 270 carries in a season was Mike Hart, who had 318 attempts in 2006.
Season prediction: Ronnie Bell, 800 yards
Actual: Cornelius Johnson, 620 yards
Scoop: Bell got hurt in the first game of 2021, tearing his ACL on a punt return. He had 1 catch for a 76-yard touchdown at that point. After a two-year run as Michigan’s leading receiver, it was time for a new king, and that new king was 6’3″, 210 lb. Cornelius Johnson. Johnson made 39 catches for 620 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Hit the jump for more.
Season prediction: Joshua Ross, 75 tackles
Actual: Joshua Ross, 106 tackles
Scoop: Ross pretty much led the team in tackles from start to finish, and not by a close margin. The #2 guy was 37 tackles back (Daxton Hill, 69 tackles).
Season prediction: Aidan Hutchinson, 6 sacks
Actual: Aidan Hutchinson, 14 sacks
Scoop: Well, I was right on it being Hutchinson, but by golly, I underestimated how effective he would be. Moving to a new position, he exploded onto the national scene in 2021. After being a strongside end with his hand on the ground for the first three years of his career, he became a stand-up defensive end/outside linebacker (though he did still get in a three-point stance at times) and set a new school record with 14 sacks. That included 3 against Ohio State, 3 against Penn State, and 2.5 against Washington.
Season prediction: D.J. Turner II, 2 interceptions
Actual: D.J. Turner II and Daxton Hill, 2 interceptions each
Scoop: Turner turned into Michigan’s best cover corner. Finally healthy after dealing with some injury issues, he had a pick against Northwestern and another against Maryland that he returned for a touchdown.
ALL-BIG TEN FIRST TEAM
Season prediction: Aidan Hutchinson
Actual: Aidan Hutchinson, David Ojabo, Dax Hill, Jake Moody, Hassan Haskins, Andrew Stueber
Scoop: Well, I very much underestimated how many impact players Michigan would have. Hutchinson was expected. Ojabo came out of nowhere to make 11 sacks. Jake Moody came out of nowhere to win the Lou Groza award. I didn’t think Hill would put up the numbers to be First Team, but good for him. Haskins got more opportunities than any Michigan running back since 2006, and he did well with them (1,327 yards, 4.9 yards/carry, 20 touchdowns). And I thought Stueber was Michigan’s best lineman, but I figured Ohio State would dominate the post-season awards.
Season prediction: None
Actual: Aidan Hutchinson, Jake Moody
Scoop: Hutchinson (14 sacks) and Moody (23/25 on field goals) ended up All-Americans.
LEADING SCORER (NON-KICKER)
Season prediction: Hassan Haskins
Actual: Hassan Haskins, 120 points
Scoop: Haskins scored 120 points in 20 rushing touchdowns. (Moody led the team with 125 points, but he’s a kicker and I don’t count them.)
BREAKOUT OFFENSIVE PLAYER
Season prediction: Cornelius Johnson
Actual: I don’t know
Scoop: I think you can make a case for Johnson (39 catches, 620 yards, 3 TD), Erick All (38 catches, 437 yards, 2 TD), Blake Corum (949 yards, 11 TD), or Andrew Vastardis.
MOST DISAPPOINTING OFFENSIVE PLAYER
Season prediction: J.J. McCarthy
Actual: J.J. McCarthy
Scoop: I think McCarthy is the pick here, even though I don’t think he was supremely disappointing. It’s just that some people expected him to come in and start immediately, and obviously that didn’t happen. He put up okay numbers for a backup (34/59 for 57.6% completions, 5 TD, 2 INT; 27 carries for 124 yards and 2 TD). I think everyone else either met or exceeded expectations except for Ronnie Bell, who got injured in week one.
BREAKOUT DEFENSIVE PLAYER
Season prediction: Gemon Green
Actual: David Ojabo
Scoop: Green played okay this season, but he did get beat on some plays. He never seemed to get beaten terribly but was just an inch or two away from making a few pass breakups that turned into nice completions. But no, David Ojabo went from making 1 tackle – his only recorded college stat – in 2020 to making 35 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, 3 pass breakups, and 8 quarterback hurries in 2021. That might be the best single-season level up for any non-freshman in Michigan history. He had a great year and may have played his way into the first round of the NFL draft.
MOST DISAPPOINTING DEFENSIVE PLAYER
Season prediction: Jordan Whittley
Actual: Jordan Whittley
Scoop: Fans seemed genuinely excited about the Wolverines landing a mammoth nose tackle as a transfer from Oregon State, and Whittley seemed to play very sparingly. He recorded zero statistics this year and usually seemed to be slow off the ball when he got in there. He can’t be moved, but he also doesn’t really move.
Season predictions: 8-4 with losses to Washington, Wisconsin, Penn State, Ohio State
Actual: 11-1 in the regular season with a loss to Michigan State; 12-2 overall with an additional loss to Georgia
Scoop: Washington had a down year, Wisconsin scuffled early before righting the ship, and Penn State put up a good fight before succumbing by three points. Michigan beat the Buckeyes for the first time since 2011. I feel like I was more optimistic than a lot of fans, and even I ended up being way too pessimistic about how this season would go.
Overall, I got some right and I got some wrong. For the most part, I’m glad I was wrong on some predictions (not the Ronnie Bell one; I wish he had stayed healthy), because there turned out to be some very positive developments, such as the turnaround season for Jake Moody and the breakout of David Ojabo. It was a great year.
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