2014 Season Countdown List

Tag: 2014 season countdown

30Aug 2014
Uncategorized 4 comments

2014 Season Countdown List

Juwann Bushell-Beatty was #91 on the countdown

Here’s the 2014 Season Countdown list, from #1 to #91. Each profile is linked for your viewing pleasure. I hope you enjoyed your (mostly) daily profiles over the last three months. Maybe I’ll go rehab my carpal tunnel now . . .

  1. Devin Gardner
  2. Devin Funchess
  3. Graham Glasgow
  4. Erik Magnuson
  5. Frank Clark
  6. Jake Ryan
  7. Jarrod Wilson
  8. Blake Countess
  9. Kyle Kalis
  10. Brennen Beyer
  11. Jake Butt
  12. Raymon Taylor
  13. James Ross III
  14. Kyle Bosch
  15. Willie Henry
  16. Matt Wile
  17. Chris Wormley
  18. Freddy Canteen
  19. Ty Isaac
  20. Amara Darboh
  21. De’Veon Smith
  22. Desmond Morgan
  23. Jabrill Peppers
  24. Dennis Norfleet
  25. Shane Morris
  26. Jourdan Lewis
  27. Ben Braden
  28. Ondre Pipkins
  29. Derrick Green
  30. Joe Bolden
  31. Delano Hill
  32. Scott Sypniewski
  33. Mario Ojemudia
  34. Will Hagerup
  35. Royce Jenkins-Stone
  36. Sione Houma
  37. Ben Gedeon
  38. Taco Charlton
  39. Jehu Chesson
  40. Keith Heitzman
  41. Maurice Hurst, Jr.
  42. Justice Hayes
  43. Dymonte Thomas
  44. Delonte Hollowell
  45. A.J. Williams
  46. Channing Stribling
  47. Joe Kerridge
  48. Matt Godin
  49. Jeremy Clark
  50. Lawrence Marshall
  51. Jack Miller
  52. Bryan Mone
  53. David Dawson
  54. Ryan Glasgow
  55. Joe Burzynski
  56. Allen Gant
  57. Ian Bunting
  58. Mason Cole
  59. Drake Johnson
  60. Khalid Hill
  61. Da’Mario Jones
  62. Csont’e York
  63. Henry Poggi
  64. Mike McCray
  65. Michael Ferns III
  66. Wyatt Shallman
  67. Tom Strobel
  68. Kenny Allen
  69. Ross Douglas
  70. Maurice Ways
  71. Drake Harris
  72. Noah Furbush
  73. Brandon Watson
  74. Chase Winovich
  75. Patrick Kugler
  76. Blake Bars
  77. Dan Samuelson
  78. Russell Bellomy
  79. Logan Tuley-Tillman
  80. Oops!
  81. Jaron Dukes
  82. Jared Wangler
  83. Chris Fox
  84. Bo Dever
  85. Terry Richardson
  86. Michael Jocz
  87. Wilton Speight
  88. Brady Pallante
  89. Reon Dawson
  90. Brian Cleary
  91. Juwann Bushell-Beatty
29Aug 2014
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2014 Season Countdown: #1 Devin Gardner

Devin Gardner

Name: Devin Gardner
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 216 lbs.
High school: Detroit (MI) Inkster
Position: Quarterback
Class: Redshirt senior
Jersey number: #98
Last year: I ranked Gardner #1 and said he would be the starting quarterback with 63% completions, 3,200 passing yards, 29 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. He was 208/345 (60.3%) for 2,960 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions; he also ran 165 times for 483 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Congratulations to Gardner, who has earned the #1 spot two years in a row! Gardner had a topsy-turvy season in 2013. It started with a mediocre game against Central Michigan (2 interceptions), which was followed by a great game against Notre Dame (5 total touchdowns), then a mediocre stretch, and ending with some great performances against Indiana (a school-record 503 passing yards) and Ohio State (451 yards, 4 touchdowns). With the exception of that game against the Fighting Irish – in which he still threw an ugly interception in his own endzone – Gardner had an uninspiring first half of the year. He was careless with the football and made lots of poor decisions, throwing 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in those first six weeks. Then, despite a blip against Northwestern, Gardner looked pretty darn good in the last six games; he threw 10 touchdowns and 1 interception over that stretch. In his outstanding game against the Buckeyes to end the regular season, he broke his foot and tore ligaments but still led the team to a near victory. Only after the game did we find out that he would be unavailable for the bowl game against Kansas State.

This off-season has included an annoying “quarterback controversy” story line that had no business getting started in the first place. I have no idea why a senior with 4,440 passing yards, 34 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions – despite a subpar/terrible running game the entire time – would be on the hot seat when the only challenger is a sophomore with 0 touchdowns and 2 picks to his name. Those people who stuck to that story were people looking to create drama. The bottom line is that Gardner is one of the most physically talented quarterbacks in the country, essentially a Vince Young clone stuck behind a porous offensive line. Gardner can make all the throws, can create on his own within the pocket, or take off and run like the wide receiver that he was for the first half of the 2012 season. People might think I’m crazy, but physically, I fully believe that Gardner could be a top ten NFL draft pick. The issue with Gardner has been his decision-making. He is loose with the football at times, holds onto the ball too long, pretends he’s on the playground . . . . And yet. The pocket will break down a lot this year, and Michigan needs his creativity in and out of the pocket to make things happen offensively. I believe Michigan will be in good hands in the future once Morris takes over the starting job, but he’s still raw and would get snowed under with the shaky offensive line in front of him. Gardner gives Michigan a chance in every single game, and he has developed a good relationship with tight end Jake Butt and wide receivers Devin Funchess, Amara Darboh, and Freddy Canteen.

Prediction: Starting quarterback; 3,000 passing yards, 30 touchdowns, 8 interceptions; First Team All-Big Ten

28Aug 2014
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2014 Season Countdown: #2 Devin Funchess

Devin Funchess

Name: Devin Funchess
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 230 lbs.
High school: Farmington Hills (MI) Harrison
Position: Wide receiver
Class: Junior
Jersey number: #87
Last year: He caught 49 passes for 748 yards (15.3 yards/catch) and 6 touchdowns, plus he had 6 carries for 34 yards.

Funchess entered the 2013 season as a starting tight end with significant promise. Unable to block with any consistency whatsoever, the coaches decided to split him out wide midway through the season. He ended the season as a budding star wideout, an All-Big Ten selection (albeit still as a tight end), and someone who looked capable of potentially wearing the #1 jersey at Michigan.  Opposite record-setter Jeremy Gallon, they were opposites in many ways. Gallon was 5’8″, while Funchess is 6’5″. Gallon was tough and hard-nosed, whereas Funchess is a finesse player despite his size. Upperclassman Gallon was as consistent as receivers come, but Funchess would turn some easy catches into drops. What they both had in common was a knack for the big play and an ability to stretch the defense. Funchess had huge days against Minnesota (7 catches, 151 yards, 1 touchdown) and Penn State (4 catches, 112 yards, 2 touchdowns), not to mention some mind-blowing disrespect for gravity as he hurdled diving tacklers against Indiana and Ohio State. It’s not a total stretch to throw out a comparison to Calvin Johnson due to their similar dimensions (Johnson is 6’5″, 236 lbs.) and reported speeds (Johnson ran a 4.35 prior to his draft, while Funchess is rumored to have run a 4.33 hand-timed forty this summer). That’s a lofty comparison, but it’s inevitable.

Funchess will be a full-time wide receiver in 2014, which means he’ll be coached by Jeff Hecklinski, who has worked wonders with the likes of Gallon and Junior Hemingway. New offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier’s quarterbacks have averaged 32 touchdown passes a year over the past three seasons, and a large portion of those touchdowns will likely be tossed from quarterback Devin Gardner to Funchess. Funchess is a matchup nightmare with his size and speed, and he’s agile enough to be an end around or bubble screen threat. He has been prone to concentration lapses at times, so Michigan fans should probably expect an occasional frustrating drop. Nussmeier likes to run the ball, and the play action passing game will probably be a large part of the arsenal. Funchess won’t put up video game numbers because of the balance required, but he will probably find himself around 1,000 yards by the end of the season and nearing double-digit touchdowns. His backup is redshirt sophomore Amara Darboh, someone with lots of practice hype but nothing to show for it on the field. There would still be potential at receiver if Funchess were to go down for any stretch of time, but that would be a huge blow to the Wolverines’ offense.

Prediction: Starting split end; 60 catches, 950 yards, 10 touchdowns

27Aug 2014
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2014 Season Countdown: #3 Graham Glasgow

Graham Glasgow (image via Michigan Daily)

Name: Graham Glasgow
Height: 6’6″
Weight: 311 lbs.
High school: Aurora (IL) Marmion Academy
Position: Offensive guard
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #61
Last year: I ranked Glasgow #45 and said he would be a backup center. He started thirteen games at both guard and center.

Going into the 2013 season, nobody really knew what to expect from Glasgow. He was a highly regarded walk-on – for whatever that’s worth – but he really struggled to pull in his early spring game appearances, which caused me to question his ability to play that position for a team that wanted to “power” the ball down the field. He began the year as a left guard, and despite some difficulties, he eventually became a solid player. Along with Taylor Lewan, the left side was the strongest side of the line. When center Jack Miller had problems holding the point of attack, the coaches bumped Glasgow to center, benched Miller, and played musical chairs with the left guard position. The move was frustrating to watch, because Glasgow botched at least one exchange per week for his first four games at center; prior centers Elliott Mealer and Miller had zero memorable exchange issues during 2012 or the first few games of 2013. However, Glasgow ironed out his problems by the last third of the season and turned into a solid player.

Observers and coaches seem to agree that Glasgow is Michigan’s best lineman going into 2014. He has experience at center and guard, and he also has the ability to play tackle. When I saw him play in high school, I thought he looked like a natural right tackle. Unfortunately, due to a DUI incident this offseason, he will be watching this Saturday’s game against Appalachian State. He does not appear on the depth chart, so it’s not clear where the coaches see him fitting once he returns from suspension. The possibilities are numerous with his ability to play several positions, but he will almost certainly be a starter from week two onward. Michigan has a true freshman left tackle, a once-benched redshirt junior center, a questionable trio of guys fighting for right guard, and a first-time starter at right tackle; realistically, any of those players could be sidelined in favor of Glasgow, but my guess is that he will play right guard, at least until Kyle Kalis returns to full strength after having back issues for much of August.

Prediction: Starting right guard but will play multiple positions

26Aug 2014
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2014 Season Countdown: #4 Erik Magnuson

Erik Magnuson

Name: Erik Magnuson
Height: 6’6″
Weight: 294 lbs.
High school: San Diego (CA) La Costa Canyon
Position: Offensive guard
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #78
Last year: I ranked Magnuson #76 and said he would be a backup offensive tackle. He started seven games at offensive guard.

I woefully underranked Magnuson last season, and I even got caught up in the whole “Ben Braden started the spring game so the coaches must like him” wave. Alas, Braden played as a backup in just a couple games, and Magnuson eventually earned his way onto the field as one of the five people to start games at left guard. Magnuson was not what I would call “good” but he was solid playing next to Taylor Lewan. (Personally, I was extremely frustrated when Michigan put Magnuson in at left guard for an unbalanced quarterback sneak against UConn, because I would think Lewan should be nearest to the quarterback and plowing forward for yardage. The attempt failed.)

Magnuson returns to his left guard position this fall after missing much of the spring due to shoulder surgery. The depth chart released on Monday says that he will start at left guard while left tackle will be manned by freshman Mason Cole. I am not a fan of starting a freshman on the offensive line, but that’s the way it goes with so much uncertainty, a lack of much experience, and some terrible play fresh in everyone’s mind. Magnuson’s recruiting profile and play last year suggest that he could play left tackle, and he would probably bump out to that spot if anything were to happen to Cole. But in the meantime, this will give the team a solid interior blocker. Nobody on the line will be approaching all-conference status, but I look for him to be Michigan’s best or second-best lineman this year, right up there with Graham Glasgow.

Prediction: Starting left guard