Zach Gentry and David Long, Jr. are headed to the NFL

Tag: attrition

2Jan 2019
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Zach Gentry and David Long, Jr. are headed to the NFL

Zach Gentry

Michigan took a couple big hits in personnel on Wednesday when redshirt junior tight end Zach Gentry and junior cornerback David Long, Jr. said they would be skipping their final year of eligibility to go to the NFL.

New Mexico native Gentry was a 4-star recruit in the 2015 class, the #8 pro-style quarterback, and #174 overall. A one-time Texas commit, the then newly hired Jim Harbaugh got Gentry to pick Michigan late in the recruiting cycle. After a season spent attempting to learn the quarterback position, Gentry started catching passes during bowl practices of his freshman year. He didn’t catch his first pass until 2017. In total, he hauled in 49 passes for 817 yards (16.7 YPC) and 4 touchdowns over his career, and he was named Third Team All-Big Ten in 2018.

David Long, Jr.

Long, from Los Angeles, was a 4-star cornerback in 2016 and ranked as the #7 player at his position and #65 overall. Michigan hauled him in late in the 2016 class, and one of the big recruiting stories down the stretch was the story of Jim Harbaugh climbing a tree at Long’s house while on a home visit. Long played sparingly in 2016 but then became a lockdown corner for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. He allowed only one touchdown in 2018 and was named First Team All-Big Ten. He made 38 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 17 pass breakups during his career.

Gentry said he was not disappointed with his draft grade, and he should be highly valued at 6’8″ and 262 lbs. with good speed. He’s also a position-switcher who still has room to improve and develop. He won’t be a first round pick, but I would expect him to go somewhere in the middle rounds of the draft.

Long has decent size for a corner at 5’11” and 187 lbs. He tackles well, has good speed, and knows how to be physical. There’s no buzz about him being a first round pick, but he could go late on day two.

17Dec 2018
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Aubrey Solomon, Ex-Wolverine

Sophomore defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon is reportedly transferring. Solomon appeared in eighteen games over his first two seasons, making 24 tackles and 2 tackles for loss in a Michigan uniform. Despite being a former 5-star recruit, he was never able to break into the starting lineup. Solomon is the 13th highest rated recruit to sign with Michigan in the modern recruiting era, coming in at #25 overall in the 2017 class (LINK).

Solomon’s departure is a big blow to a team that was already losing and missing some big-time defensive linemen. Michigan loses Chase Winovich, Rashan Gary, Lawrence Marshall, and Bryan Mone were all starters, and Solomon was expected to step into a starting role in 2019. Now the Wolverines will have to switch some positions, bulk guys up, and attempt to fill the gaping hole at defensive tackle. Michael Dwumfour is a natural defensive tackle, but other potential tackles like Donovan Jeter, Carlo Kemp, Kwity Paye, and Aidan Hutchinson are inexperienced. Michigan will need to play true freshmen (such as Mazi Smith).

One unconventional fix I might explore is the idea of moving offensive guard Michael Onwenu to nose tackle. Onwenu is roughly 350 lbs. and a very powerful player, but there are some questions about whether he can be effective long-term at guard. Some insiders have even suggested that he might be replaced at right guard next season. If Michigan has a viable option at right guard and if Onwenu’s NFL prospects on the offensive line are dwindling, maybe he could spend a year at nose tackle. (Full disclosure: I’ve thought since Onwenu was recruited that he would make a better nose tackle than offensive guard, but now the team needs might make that a viable option.)

Michigan took 30 players in the 2017 class, and they are now down to 22 still remaining on the team. Solomon joins LB Drew Singleton (transfer to Rutgers), DT Deron Irving-Bey (transfer to Central Michigan), OT James Hudson (transfer to Cincinnati), DE Corey Malone-Hatcher (medical scholarship), RB O’Maury Samuels (dismissed from team), OG Ja’Raymond Hall (transfer to Central Michigan), and RB Kurt Taylor (transfer destination unknown).

12Dec 2018
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O’Maury Samuels, Ex-Wolverine

O’Maury Samuels (image via 247 Sports)

Sophomore running back O’Maury Samuels is a Wolverine no more. On Wednesday afternoon Michigan announced that he was being dismissed from the team.

Why? Well, information surfaced that he had been charged with domestic violence and malicious destruction of private property.


Samuels, from Los Lunas (NM) Los Lunas, had 8 carries for 13 yards as a freshman in 2017 and 13 carries for 66 yards as a sophomore in 2018. He was a promising recruit (4-star, #20 RB, #269 overall; 82 TTB Rating), but Urban Meyer doesn’t coach at Michigan.

Samuels had a chance to get into the regular rotation in 2019 with the graduation of Karan Higdon. Senior Chris Evans and redshirt junior Tru Wilson will probably be two pieces of the usual three-man rotation, and the third spot was probably going to come down to Samuels, Christian Turner, or Zach Charbonnet. This is disappointing because, well, the basis for the dismissal is not good, first of all. But also, Samuels was considered to be a potential home-run hitter, and while his first couple years on the field did not show a great deal, this limits Michigan’s options.

9Dec 2018
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Daxton Hill, Ex-Wolverine

Tulsa (OK) Booker T. Washington safety Daxton Hill

Tulsa (OK) Booker T. Washington safety Daxton Hill ripped Michigan fans’ hearts out on Saturday when he tweeted out that he was flipping to Alabama. Hill is the #1 safety in the country, according to the 247 Composite rankings, and is the #8 player in the country.

I gave Hill a TTB Rating of 100 (LINK), which means I think he’s the best safety in the country, too. This continues the trend of Alabama treating Michigan like Michigan used to treat Purdue, as the Crimson Tide have stolen Michigan’s top recruit – or close to it – in three of the last five years. In the 2018 class, offensive guard Emil Ekiyor (#113 overall, one spot behind Aidan Hutchinson) flipped to ‘Bama, and in 2015, it was running back Damien Harris (#31).

The Wolverines currently have zero safeties committed in the 2019 class. With 23 commits, this drops their overall 247 Composite ranking to #11 in the nation. Hill joins running back Eric Gray (uncommitted), defensive end Stephen Herron (Stanford), and defensive lineman Tyrece Woods (uncommitted) as decommitments from Michigan in 2019.

26Nov 2018
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Rashan Gary is headed to the NFL

Michigan defensive end Rashan Gary has spent his final season at the University of Michigan. It was announced today that he would be skipping his senior year to enter the 2019 NFL Draft, which most people expected.

Gary was the #1 overall recruit in the 2016 class. During his career at Michigan, he has made 136 tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, and 1 forced fumble.

Gary’s college career did not develop as expected. While he was solid and took on a lot of double-teams, which helped to limit his production, those career numbers are not as productive as most expected when the Wolverines landed the #1 recruit in the nation. Consider that his predecessor at the strongside end position, Chris Wormley, finished his career with 122 tackles, 32.5 tackles for loss, and 18 sacks in four years (for an apples-to-apples comparison, his first three years netted 83 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, and 12 sacks). Wormley was a 3rd round pick by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2017 NFL Draft with 11 tackles and 1 sack so far in his pro career so far.

Gary’s best days might be ahead of him, and he’s someone Michigan fans should be proud of for wearing the winged helmet. Gary carries himself with class, stays away from negative attention, and by all accounts, has an excellent work ethic. I look forward to watching his NFL career.

Meanwhile, there will be several candidates to replace him in 2019, including Kwity Paye (who played quite a bit when Gary suffered a shoulder injury this year), Aidan Hutchinson, Carlo Kemp (who played defensive tackle this year because he didn’t want to ride the bench behind Gary), and others.