2018 Season Countdown: #55 Drew Singleton

Tag: 2018 season countdown

11Jul 2018
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2018 Season Countdown: #55 Drew Singleton

Drew Singleton

Name: Drew Singleton
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 219 lbs.
High school: Paramus (NJ) Catholic
Position: Linebacker
Class: Redshirt freshman
Jersey number: #8
Last year: I ranked Singleton #78 and said he would be a backup linebacker (LINK). He redshirted.
TTB Rating: 83

Singleton was a very highly touted linebacker, but he tore his ACL as a senior in high school. Cameron McGrone seemed to heal from his ACL injury very quickly, but Singleton took a little bit longer, which impacted his ability to play last season. Now Singleton has a chance this season to spell Devin Bush, Jr. at middle linebacker. Bush rarely came off the field last season, but this year maybe he’ll get a little bit of a break. Plus Michael Wroblewski was his primary backup last season, and Wroblewski graduated. I expect to see Singleton gets his feet wet this year and perhaps get prepared to succeed Bush, who could potentially leave for the NFL in the 2019 draft.

Prediction: Backup middle linebacker

11Jul 2018
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2018 Season Countdown: #56 Luiji Vilain

Luiji Vilain (image via Hudl)

Name: Luiji Vilain
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 242 lbs.
High school: Alexandria (VA) Episcopal
Position: Defensive end
Class: Redshirt freshman
Jersey number: #18
Last year: I ranked Vilain #30 and said he would be a backup defensive end with 20 tackles and 2 sacks (LINK). He redshirted.
TTB Rating: 90

Kwity Paye was more raw than Vilain coming out of high school, but Paye got the jump when it comes to playing time. Maybe I overrated Vilain, but he dealt with a couple injuries. Michigan thought about burning his redshirt late in the season, but it didn’t happen.

Now that Paye has a year of experience, I have him slotted ahead of Vilain. Will that pecking order continue? It’s tough to say. I still think Vilain will be a good player, and I’ve heard good things coming out of practice. But Michigan did just fine on defense last year with Chase Winovich playing the majority of the snaps, along with Paye and others playing some weakside end. Vilain should strengthen that position, but he won’t pass Winovich. Everybody else is vying for backup snaps.

Prediction: Backup weakside end

11Jul 2018
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2018 Season Countdown: #57 Brad Hawkins

Brad Hawkins (image via MWolverine)

Name: Brad Hawkins
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 204 lbs.
High school: Suffield (CT) Suffield Academy
Position: Safety
Class: Sophomore
Jersey number: #20
Last year: I ranked Hawkins #75b and said he would redshirt (LINK). He made 2 tackles and 3 kickoff returns for 42 yards.
TTB Rating: 79

Hawkins has had an odd journey to this point in his career at Michigan. He was a wide receiver and safety in high school at Camden (NJ) Camden, but he didn’t qualify in 2016 and ended up in the 2017 class after spending a year at Suffield Academy. He played wide receiver at Suffield, which I thought would ensure his becoming a receiver at Michigan . . . except Michigan brought in four other receivers in 2017, too, several of whom were higher rated (Tarik Black, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Nico Collins, Oliver Martin). So after taking a year off from playing safety, Hawkins played safety.

I thought that inexperience would necessitate a year redshirting, but instead Michigan played him in a spot where explosiveness – something that’s not exactly his forte – is valued: kickoff return. Hawkins returned 3 kickoffs for an average of 14.0 yards/return, which is not good. What will Michigan do with him in 2018? If they played him on kickoff return in 2017, I see no reason why they’ll stop in 2018. So there’s that. Otherwise, Hawkins has been playing safety and Viper. He shouldn’t play much at either position this season, considering who’s coming back, but I do expect him to do get a few snaps on defense and continue to play on special teams.

Prediction: Backup safety/Viper, special teamer

11Jul 2018
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2018 Season Countdown: #58 Kareem Walker

Kareem Walker (image via MLive)

Name: Kareem Walker
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 207 lbs.
High school: Wayne (NJ) DePaul Catholic
Position: Running back
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #6
Last year: I ranked Walker #46 and said he would be a backup running back (LINK). He had 20 carries for 68 yards and 1 touchdown.
TTB Rating: 86

I won’t blather on too long about Walker, who has left the program. But this list was made prior to his departure, and this is where he stood. Michigan seems pretty content with a two-headed monster of Karan Higdon and Chris Evans, and the rest of the running backs do not seem to be held in high esteem. Walker looked okay in his limited time last season, basically getting what was there for him. He made a nice run against Indiana, and he made some silly choices, too. I do think Walker has potential as a football player (and also could have been a good pass protector, something Michigan has lacked lately), but if he realizes that potential, it will have to come elsewhere.

Prediction: Doesn’t matter; is transferring

10Jul 2018
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2018 Season Countdown: #59 Nolan Ulizio

Nolan Ulizio (image via Twitter)

Name: Nolan Ulizio
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 291 lbs.
High school: West Chester (OH) Lakota West
Position: Offensive tackle
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #70
Last year: I ranked Ulizio #53 and said he would be a backup offensive tackle (LINK). He started six games at right tackle.
TTB Rating: 65

Ulizio had a rough go of it in 2017. Brought in as a last-minute addition to the 2015 class, he waited his turn for a couple years. Offensive tackles (and tight ends) coach Greg Frey picked Ulizio to start the 2017 season at right tackle, and it was immediately a trouble spot in the opener against Florida. Michigan stuck with him for half the season before finally yanking him in favor of Juwann Bushell-Beatty, who was a decent run blocker, while Ulizio was good at . . . not very much.

Talk about Ulizio has disappeared this off-season. The former starter is seen by most as a backup, whether it’s to Bushell-Beatty or James Hudson or Chuck Filiaga or Andrew Stueber or someone else. The coaches haven’t talked about Ulizio much, and insiders haven’t, either. It’s great to have a guy available with a fair number of game experience, but he proved last year that he probably doesn’t have what it takes to be a long-term solution on the offensive line.

Prediction: Backup offensive tackle