2024 Season Countdown: #121 Jack MacKinnon

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17Apr 2024
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2024 Season Countdown: #121 Jack MacKinnon

Jack MacKinnon

Name: Jack MacKinnon
Height: 
6’4″
Weight: 
244 lbs.
High school: 
Sarasota (FL) Cardinal Moooney
Position: 
Linebacker
Class: 
Redshirt freshman
Jersey number: 
#39
Last year: 
I did not rank MacKinnon. He redshirted.
TTB Rating: 
N/A

MacKinnon was a preferred walk-on in the class of 2023. A high school defensive end (he had 58 tackles, 26 tackles for loss, and 13 sacks as a senior in 2022), he was originally committed to play baseball at USF. But according to this article (LINK), Jack Harbaugh saw him play football and recommended him to the Michigan coaching staff as a PWO.

I like MacKinnon’s high school film, but he’s now listed as a linebacker. Can he be a true linebacker at 6’4″ and 244 pounds? Or would he potentially be better off trying to grow into a stand-up edge player like Jaylen Harrell? Either way, he’s unlikely to play this early in his career at Michigan. I could potentially see him playing in Ann Arbor down the road, but he also seems like a prime candidate to transfer at some point for a clearer path to playing time. Regardless, he’s on Michigan’s roster for now and should be a solid scout team player for the time being.

Prediction: Backup linebacker

15Apr 2024
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2024 Season Countdown: #122 Shomari Stone II

Shomari Stone II (image via Twitter)

Name: Shomari Stone II
Height: 
5’8″
Weight: 
198 lbs.
High school: 
Washington (DC) St. John’s
Position: 
Safety
Class: 
Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: 
#37
Last year: 
I ranked Stone #140 and said he would be a backup defensive back (LINK). He was not on the roster during the season.
TTB Rating: 
N/A

One of the problems with counting down such a deep dive into the roster for any season is we have no idea what the roster will look like in the fall. Sometimes there are roster casualties of some sort, and Stone was one of those. A member of the team in 2022, he left the program for the 2023 season and missed the national championship run. Now he’s back for a team that probably won’t win the natty.

Stone was a solid high school player who’s probably more known for being the son of D.C.-area media personality Shomari Stone. At 5’8″ and at a position where it’s tough to get on the field to play defense, he’s unlikely to play much of a role this fall. Perhaps some special teams might be in order, but it will be an uphill battle for Stone to see the field much this fall.

Prediction: Backup defensive back

14Apr 2024
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2024 Season Countdown: #123 James Kavouklis

James Kavouklis (image via MGoBlue)

Name: James Kavouklis
Height: 
6’1″
Weight: 
279 lbs.
High school: 
Tampa (FL) Berkley Prep
Position: 
Center/Long snapper
Class: 
Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: 
#64
Last year: 
I ranked Kavouklis #139 and said he would be a backup center (LINK). He did not see game action.
TTB Rating: 
N/A

NOTE: I skipped a couple spots in the countdown since running back Danny Hughes and tight end Josh Beetham are both in the transfer portal and were originally in the countdown.

Kavouklis played in one game as a true freshman back in 2022, but he did not see any action in 2023. If you want some positive fluff about new strength and conditioning coach Justin Tress, Kavouklis was a scrawny 272 pounds last season but is now up to a whopping 279 this spring.

On the plus side, Kavouklis doubles as a long snapper, so he could play center or long snap, so that might open some opportunities if there’s an injury or two. He’s not going to elevate to starter in either spot, but sometimes when there’s a blowout, the coaches start emptying the bench. The path to long snapper is typically a little shorter, but Kavouklis is probably #4 there behind William Wagner, Greg Tarr, and Evan Boutorwick.

Prediction: Backup center and long snapper

12Apr 2024
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2024 Season Countdown: #126 Bryson Kuzdzal

Bryson Kuzdzal

Name: Bryson Kuzdzal
Height:
5’11”
Weight:
185 lbs.
High school:
Ada (MI) Forest Hills Eastern
Position:
Running back
Class:
Redshirt freshman
Jersey number:
#41
Last year:
I did not rank Kuzdzal. He redshirted.
TTB Rating:
N/A

Kuzdzal was a preferred walk-on for Michigan in the class of 2023, and he’ll be getting a national championship ring for his good taste of choosing the Wolverines over MSU as his walk-on destination. As a high school senior in the fall of 2022, he ran for 1,379 yards and 22 touchdowns, caught 1 touchdown pass, and returned 3 kicks (2 kickoffs, 1 punt) for touchdowns while averaging 10.4 yards per carry. But with a loaded backfield, he was unlikely to play in 2023, and he didn’t.

This fall the depth chart doesn’t look much better for his chances. Despite the graduation of Blake Corum and the transfer of C.J. Stokes to Charlotte, Michigan returns Donovan Edwards and Kalel Mullings – the #2 and #3 backs from last season – and they added freshmen Jordan Marshall and Micah Ka’apana in the 2024 class. Throw in Tavierre Dunlap, Ben Hall, and Cole Cabana, and it’s a pretty full running back room. Kuzdzal could potentially get some garbage time snaps, but Michigan has invested more scholarship spots at running back than a couple seasons ago when a guy like Leon Franklin was getting a fair number of snaps.

Prediction: Redshirt

10Apr 2024
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2024 Season Countdown: #127 Manuel Beigel

Wallingford (CT) Choate Rosemary Hall DT Manuel Beigel

Name: Manuel Beigel
Height:
6’5″
Weight:
280 lbs.
High school:
Wallingford (CT) Choate Rosemary Hall
Position:
Defensive tackle
Class:
Freshman
Jersey number:
N/A
Last year:
Beigel was a senior in high school. He made 10 tackles and 4 sacks.
TTB Rating:
79

Beigel is a transplant from Germany who is a blank slate. Jim Harbaugh tried to go heavy on international prospects over the past several years, recruiting Beigel, fellow German Julius Welschof, Frenchman Aymeric Koumba, Canadian Luiji Vilain, Canadian Benjamin St-Juste, and several other foreign players who did not end up signing with the Wolverines.

I’m not sure what to think of Beigel so far because his film is so limited, but athletically, he looks to be top-notch when it comes to movement for his size. A soccer player when he was younger, he maintains foot quickness and change-of-direction skills rarely seen in players his size. The real questions are about his technique and strength, both of which seem to have a way to go. Already at 6’5″ and 280 pounds, he is likely to end up as a 3-tech defensive tackle, but he looks like a guy who might get pushed around and washed out of the play in the Big Ten. My guess is that he redshirts this season while learning some nuances of big-time college football.

Prediction: Redshirt