2022 Season Countdown: #98 Nolan Knight

Tag: 2022 season countdown


1Jun 2022
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2022 Season Countdown: #98 Nolan Knight

Nolan Knight (image via MGoBlue)

Name: Nolan Knight
Height:
6’3″
Weight:
215 lbs.
High school:
Northville (MI) Northville
Position:
Linebacker
Class:
Redshirt junior
Jersey number:
#32
Last year:
I ranked Knight #104 and said he would be a backup linebacker (LINK). He played in one game.
TTB Rating:
N/A

As we inch closer to exhausting the list of walk-ons in the countdown, Knight is someone who appears fairly high on the list. Having watched him a little bit from when he was in high school, I think Knight could be one of those players who steps into some playing time late in his career, at least on special teams. He has good length and decent athleticism, and he’s going into his fourth year on the roster. Defensive playing time is going to be hard to come by because of what’s needed from the inside linebacker position and the depth, but Knight is a guy who could find a role on some special teams, such as the kickoff or kickoff return unit.

Prediction: Backup linebacker, special teamer

31May 2022
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2022 Season Countdown: #99 Connor Jones

Connor Jones (image via Freep)

Name: Connor Jones
Height:
6’7″
Weight:
285 lbs.
High school:
Monument (CO) Palmer Ridge
Position:
Offensive guard
Class:
Freshman
Jersey number:
#60
Last year:
Jones was a senior in high school.
TTB Rating:
65

Jones was offered by Michigan in September of 2020 when Ed Warinner was still Michigan’s offensive line coach. Warinner put in a fair amount of work in Colorado, and that paid off with the commitment of Jones in December of 2020. After Warinner left Michigan prior to the 2021 season, I wondered if new offensive line coach Sherrone Moore would still push for Jones, but he held steadfast in his commitment, signed his National Letter of Intent in December 2021, and enrolled early at Michigan in January 2022.

My initial read on Jones from his commitment post (LINK) is still something I stand by. He can be slow to get out of his stance, doesn’t move very well, and isn’t as aggressive as I would like to see. Jones made an appearance in Michigan’s spring game, and he looked overwhelmed and slow to react. That’s not unheard of for a lineman who should be finishing up high school, but it certainly doesn’t look like he’ll be much of a factor early in his career. I think a redshirt is virtually a guarantee in 2022.

Prediction: Redshirt

29May 2022
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2022 Season Countdown: #100 Jerome Nichols

Jerome Nichols (image via MGoBlue)

Name: Jerome Nichols
Height:
6’0″
Weight:
224 lbs.
High school:
Detroit (MI) Renaissance
Position:
Linebacker
Class:
Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number:
#50
Last year:
I ranked Nichols #98 and said he would be a backup linebacker (LINK). He did not play in any games.
TTB Rating:
N/A

Nichols is a walk-on linebacker at a position that is lacking proven depth. While Junior Colson is virtually guaranteed to be a starter this season, the backup inside linebackers will probably be some combination of Nikhai Hill-Green, Mike Barrett, and Kalel Mullings. There appears to be a chance that Mullings will spend some time playing running back this fall, and the coaching staff does not seem to think Barrett is a good fit on the inside unless it comes to an emergency.

So inside linebacker is a thin position, and the backup ranks will have to come from unproven scholarship players like Jimmy Rolder, Jaydon Hood, Tyler McLaurin, and Joey Velazquez; or from walk-ons. I doubt Nichols will burst onto the scene but he could start to work his way onto the field as a special teams player.

Prediction: Backup linebacker and special teamer

28May 2022
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2022 Season Countdown: #101 Will Rolapp

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Julio Cortez/AP/Shutterstock (12611603ai) Michigan wide receiver Will Rolapp, left, makes a catch against Maryland defensive back Corey Coley Jr. during the first half of an NCAA college football game, in College Park, Md. Michigan won 59-18 Michigan Maryland Football, College Park, United States – 20 Nov 2021

Name: Will Rolapp
Height:
6’0″
Weight:
186 lbs.
High school:
Darien (CT) Suffield Academy
Position:
Wide receiver
Class:
Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number:
#30
Last year:
I ranked Rolapp #123 and said he would be a backup wide receiver (LINK). He played in two games and caught 1 pass for 26 yards.
TTB Rating:
N/A

Just like Andrew Russell, whom I posted about earlier today (LINK), we’re getting into the walk-ons that I think will play a role this fall. Rolapp does not have great size or speed, but he’s a smooth runner and pass catcher that I have watched a little bit whenever the opportunity arises. He made the travel squad to go to Maryland last year, which is where he got an opportunity to make a nice 26-yard catch from backup Alan Bowman in the blowout.

I don’t expect Rolapp to factor into the regular rotation this season, but he’s perfectly capable of taking some late game snaps.

Prediction: Backup wide receiver

28May 2022
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2022 Season Countdown: #102 Andrew Russell

Andrew Russell (image via Twitter)

Name: Andrew Russell
Height:
6’2″
Weight:
191 lbs.
High school:
Victor (NY) Victor
Position:
Safety
Class:
Fifth year senior
Jersey number:
#43
Last year:
I ranked Russell #120 and said he would be a backup safety (LINK). He played in three games.
TTB Rating:
N/A

Okay, right here are #102 is where I started running into some difficulty. This is the demarcation line between walk-ons who probably won’t see the field (or will barely see the field) and some walk-ons and scholarship guys who may see the field for a few games or play special teams roles. Most walk-ons so far either didn’t play last year or played in just the blowout of Northern Illinois. Russell, however, played in the first three games of the season on special teams and also has decent size at 6’2″ and 191 lbs.

With the depth at safety, it’s going to be very difficult to crack the rotation on defense. However, playing special teams is always a possibility, and Russell could carve himself out a larger role with the experience he gained last year.

Prediction: Backup safety and special teamer