Name: Jake Thaw
Weight: 190 lbs.
High school: Westport (CT) Staples
Position: Wide receiver
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #26
Last year: I ranked Thaw #118 and said he would be a backup wide receiver (LINK). He played in one game.
TTB Rating: N/A
Thaw is yet another solidly talented walk-on wide receiver. Since he has yet to play a down at Michigan, I want to take this opportunity to test out a theory. Is there a chance that walk-ons could be phased out of playing time at big-time programs? For example, if NIL deals are now running the sport, a 4-star receiver is not going to want to lose out on playing time to a 0-star walk-on when that could be a chance to make a big play, score a touchdown, and increase his visibility. Late in a 40-point blowout, a freshman like Darrius Clemons might be able to establish himself for a future NIL deal by scoring a 70-yard touchdown, but if the coaches empty the bench to play someone like Thaw, that could affect Clemons’s bottom line.
This is not specific to Thaw and Clemons (they’re just examples), but I wonder if coaches might start making on-field and depth chart decisions based on NIL.
Prediction: Backup wide receiver