2013 Season Countdown List

Tag: 2013 season countdown

28Aug 2013
Uncategorized 12 comments

2013 Season Countdown List

Whew. Ninety-five player profiles over 95 days. It is finished. I think I’ll go nap until 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

I had some people ask me to link each profile, but that’s a crap ton of linking and time I don’t have. I apologize, and while it does take some scrolling, you can click on “2013 Season Countdown” at the bottom of this post to read all the profiles.

1. Devin Gardner
2. Taylor Lewan
3. Jeremy Gallon
4. Thomas Gordon
5. Michael Schofield
6. James Ross III
7. Frank Clark
8. Fitzgerald Toussaint
9. Blake Countess
10. Devin Funchess
11. Quinton Washington
12. Cameron Gordon
13. Desmond Morgan
14. Raymon Taylor
15. Matt Wile
16. Derrick Green
17. Jack Miller
18. Jibreel Black
19. Drew Dileo
20. Jarrod Wilson
21. Dennis Norfleet, #23
22. Brendan Gibbons
23. Ben Braden
24. Jake Ryan
25. Amara Darboh
26. Keith Heitzman
27. Jareth Glanda
28. A.J. Williams
29. Kyle Kalis
30. Joe Bolden
31. Ondre Pipkins
32. Mario Ojemudia
33. Dymonte Thomas
34. Courtney Avery
35. Jehu Chesson
36. Willie Henry
37. Matt Godin
38. Brennen Beyer
39. Delonte Hollowell
40. Jake Butt
41. Royce Jenkins-Stone
42. Joe Kerridge
43. Jeremy Jackson
44. Shane Morris
45. Graham Glasgow
46. Taco Charlton
47. Chris Wormley
48. Josh Furman
49. Joe Reynolds
50. Jeremy Clark
51. Thomas Rawls
52. Sione Houma
53. Joe Burzynski
54. Richard Ash
55. Justice Hayes
56. Chris Bryant
57. Brian Cleary
58. Mike McCray II
59. Dylan Esterline
60. Antonio Poole
61. Terry Richardson
62. Drake Johnson, #20
63. Allen Gant
64. Tom Strobel
65. Da’Mario Jones
66. Ross Douglas, #29
67. Erik Gunderson
68. Ben Gedeon
69. Mark Lawson
70. Russell Bellomy
71. Jourdan Lewis
72. Delano Hill
73. Khalid Hill
74. Kristian Mateus
75. Jordan Paskorz
76. Erik Magnuson
77. Blake Bars
78. Kyle Bosch
79. Kenneth Allen
80. Jaron Dukes
81. Alex Swieca
82. Maurice Hurst, Jr.
83. Channing Stribling
84. Henry Poggi
85. Wyatt Shallman
86. DeVeon Smith
87. Patrick Kugler
88. Reon Dawson
89. Csont’e York
90. Logan Tuley-Tillman
91. David Dawson
92. Chris Fox
93. Dan Samuelson
94. Scott Sypniewski
95. Will Hagerup

28Aug 2013
Uncategorized 9 comments

2013 Season Countdown: #1 Devin Gardner

Devin Gardner

Name: Devin Gardner
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 210 lbs.
High school: Detroit (MI) Inkster
Position: Quarterback
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #12
Last year: I ranked Gardner #25 and said he would be a backup quarterback and wide receiver with 25 catches for 425 yards and 3 touchdowns. He started games at wide receiver and quarterback, finishing with 16 catches for 266 yards and 4 touchdowns; 75/126 passing for 1,219 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions; and 47 carries for 101 yards and 7 touchdowns.

Last year was a very odd year for quarterbacks at the University of Michigan. The starter, of course, was Denard Robinson, a better runner than passer. Robinson hit Gardner on a 44-yard touchdown pass in the season opener against Alabama. A week later Gardner caught 5 passes for 63 yards and 1 touchdown against Air Force. Then 2 catches for 48 yards and 1 touchdown against UMass. So on and so forth. He was putting up decent numbers as a receiver, despite looking like a quarterback playing receiver – sloppy routes, some awkward catch attempts, poor body positioning. He was perhaps the best Michigan had at the position, yet he was out of his element. Then Robinson hurt his elbow in the first half of the Nebraska game, and Russell Bellomy entered with a thud. The following week, Gardner – who had apparently stopped taking snaps at quarterback during his WR tenure – started against Minnesota, where he went 12/18 for 234 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus a rushing score. That was followed by the Northwestern game, in which he went went 16/29 for 288 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus 47 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground; that earned him Co-Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week. He earned that honor again the following week with an 18/23 performance for 314 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 37 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground. The Ohio State and South Carolina games weren’t quite as productive, but he still performed adequately for being inexperienced when thrust into the position. Expectations skyrocketed, and this spring and summer, observers started to talk about how good he looked and how much he had grown at the position. People even started to suggest that he could leave early for the NFL after the 2013 season.

Here comes that 2013 season, and people around the country are looking at Gardner as a potential breakout star. His favorite target last year was Jeremy Gallon, who returns primed for a big year and wearing the #21 Legends jersey. Unfortunately, the guy expected to start across from Gallon (Amara Darboh) is out for the season after foot surgery. There aren’t many other proven targets on the roster, aside from senior slot receiver Drew Dileo and sophomore tight end Devin Funchess. One potential breakout receiver is redshirt freshman wideout Jehu Chesson, who should soak up some of Darboh’s vacated targets. Good quarterbacks can sometimes make mediocre receivers look good, too, and hopefully that’s the case this season. Gardner was on pace last season for well over 3,000 yards passing and to be an elite passer nationally. If he can find another consistent target, Gardner could race Ohio State’s Braxton Miller and Northwestern’s Kain Colter for Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year; he could also make a case to be the top quarterback in the nation if things fall just right. I don’t think Michigan has the talent at wideout to earn him national accolades, but I’m guessing NFL scouts will like what they see.

Prediction: Starting quarterback; 63% completions, 3200 yards passing, 29 touchdowns, 11 interceptions; Second Team All-Big Ten

27Aug 2013
Uncategorized 17 comments

2013 Season Countdown: #2 Taylor Lewan

Taylor Lewan

Name: Taylor Lewan
Height: 6’8″
Weight: 315 lbs.
High school: Cave Creek (AZ) Chaparral
Position: Offensive tackle
Class: Redshirt senior
Jersey number: #77
Last year: I ranked Lewan #3 and said he would be All-Big Ten First Team. He started all thirteen games and was named a First Team All-American and First Team All-Big Ten.

Lewan has been growing as a football player for the last few years, and last year he finally started to earn the national recognition that he deserved. A devastating drive blocker and adept pass blocker, he allowed just one sack (coming against Ohio State, unfortunately). He dominated regularly in Big Ten play, and against perhaps the best player in the nation, South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney, Lewan held his own. He was named a First Team All-American, First Team All-Big Ten, and the Big Ten’s Rimington-Pace Award winner, which is given to the conference’s best offensive lineman. He could have left for the NFL after last season to be a first round pick, but he surprised a lot of people by announcing his return.

Lewan will once again be the starter at left tackle, and he’s been named a Pre-Season First Team All-American by various outlets. With a brand new interior line that includes a redshirt sophomore walk-on, a redshirt sophomore, and a redshirt freshman, Michigan will lean heavily on Lewan to win football games. As the program returns to more power blocking, I expect to see a lot of him blocking down with the backside guard (Kyle Kalis) pulling to the left side. The Wolverines will not be a dominant running team this season because of that youth inside, but Lewan should be dominant at his position. If he goes down with an injury, we would likely see right tackle Michael Schofield flip to the left and redshirt freshman Ben Braden or Erik Magnuson step in on the right. I don’t think Schofield is a true left tackle, and redshirt freshmen usually scare me on the line, so hopefully Lewan eats his vitamins and stays healthy.

Prediction: Starting left tackle; First Team All-American, First Team All-Big Ten

26Aug 2013
Uncategorized 10 comments

2013 Season Countdown: #3 Jeremy Gallon

Jeremy Gallon

Name: Jeremy Gallon
Height: 5’8″
Weight: 184 lbs.
High school: Apopka (FL) Apopka
Position: Wide receiver
Class: Redshirt senior
Jersey number: #10
Last year: I ranked Gallon #19 and said he would be a starting wide receiver with 40 catches for 540 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with a punt return touchdown. He started at wideout and made 49 receptions for 829 yards and 4 touchdowns; he also had 11 carries for 67 yards, 2 kickoff returns for 23 yards, and 12 punt returns for 66 yards.

Gallon was arguably Michigan’s breakout offensive player last year when his production exploded with Devin Gardner at quarterback. He was okay with Denard Robinson throwing the ball (107 yards against Alabama), but the Gardner-to-Gallon combination was on pace for 1,331 yards, including 133 yards against Iowa and 145 against South Carolina. Sometimes guys have signature plays or playing styles, but it’s hard to pin down Gallon’s. Is it the slip screen that he takes to the house? Is it the leaping catches to outjump taller defensive backs? It’s not often that 5’8″ receivers are known for their jump ball skills, but Gallon is basically Junior Hemingway with speed.

With Gardner as the full-time quarterback going into 2012, the connection with Gallon is supposed to take off from the start. They should start where they left off, and if that’s the case, it will be a pretty sight for Michigan. I expect to see Gallon play a little more flanker this season to increase his targets, but offensive coordinator Al Borges will probably move him around to get him open in different ways. Gallon has been relieved of his punt return duties to keep him fresh and healthy (along with the fact that sophomore Dennis Norfleet might be a flat-out better option there). Gallon is ranked this highly because he has zero proven production behind him, and Michigan is severely lacking depth at receiver. There are a couple seniors who are backup material (Jeremy Jackson, Joe Reynolds), a quality slot guy (Drew Dileo), and then a bunch of youngsters with zero experience. If Gallon goes down, well . . . those young offensive linemen had better be able to run block.

Prediction: Starting wide receiver; 75 receptions, 1,200 yards, 10 touchdowns; First Team All-Big Ten

25Aug 2013
Uncategorized 13 comments

2013 Season Countdown: #4 Thomas Gordon

Thomas Gordon with Brady Hoke and Jordan Kovacs

Name: Thomas Gordon
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 210 lbs.
High school: Detroit (MI) Cass Tech
Position: Safety
Class: Redshirt senior
Jersey number: #30
Last year: I ranked Gordon #10 and said he would start at free safety with 70 tackles and 2 interceptions. He started at free safety and had 81 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 interceptions, 2 pass breakups, and 1 forced fumble.

Gordon has been starting in some capacity since his redshirt freshman season, and entered last season as a steady hand at free safety after posting 67 tackles and 4(!) fumble recoveries in 2011. He did not disappoint, although he wasn’t quite the turnover machine he was two seasons ago. He managed to pick off Purdue and Nebraska, but he was taken advantage of a little bit in the passing game at times. Not blessed with blazing speed or great size, Michigan’s safeties (along with the now departed Jordan Kovacs) were a little lacking in ideal physical traits. Both probably project best to strong safety, but it was necessary to put the two best safeties on the field; Gordon just happened to be the one playing more out of position. He did fine, as you can see from the statistics above, but he wasn’t the standout one might expect from a long-time starter.

Going into his fifth year, Gordon has taken on a leadership role and is likely to be named the defensive captain. He is one of the most indispensable members of the unit with depth somewhat lacking at safety. The backup could be anyone from redshirt junior Josh Furman – who has not been impressive at anything except punt coverage – to true freshman Delano Hill. If Gordon were to go down, we might see a safety combination of senior Courtney Avery and sophomore Jarrod Wilson at safety, two somewhat talented guys who are pretty inexperienced at playing safety. Gordon might be the glue that holds the defense together, and losing him for any stretch in Big Ten play could be quite detrimental. He may not be an all-conference player when everything is said and done because he doesn’t make the big hits or highlight-reel returns, but we could see him on the Honorable Mention list and winning some team awards after the season.

Prediction: Starting strong safety; 85 tackles, 2 interceptions