Orange Bowl Preview: Michigan Receivers vs. Florida State Secondary

Tag: Jehu Chesson

27Dec 2016
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Orange Bowl Preview: Michigan Receivers vs. Florida State Secondary

Tarvarus McFadden (image via Warchant)


Starters: Fifth year senior Amara Darboh (52 catches, 826 yards, 7 TDs) has been more productive this year than any Michigan receiver since Jeremy Gallon in 2013. Darboh has had some key drops, but that’s because he’s the go-to guy for quarterback Wilton Speight and gets the ball thrown to him in crunch time. Otherwise, he has made some highlight-reel catches and turned in some big plays this year. Michigan likes to use him as both a possession guy and a downfield threat, although he’s not a huge weapon in the deep passing game. Classmate Jehu Chesson (31 catches, 469 yards, 2 TDs) has seen his production fall off dramatically from the second half of the 2015 season, and he just doesn’t look like the same player after a knee injury against Florida in last year’s bowl game. Senior tight end Jake Butt (43 catches, 518 yards, 4 TDs) stands 6’6″, 250 lbs. and won the Mackey Award for the country’s best tight end. He’s not a great blocker, but he’s a very good route runner with sure hands.

Key backups: Michigan will be without the legally challenged Grant Perry (13 catches, 183 yards, 1 TD) due to legal troubles, and he’s the only other wideout who has been regularly targeted this season. The next most productive guy is 6’0″, 180 lb. freshman Eddie McDoom (5 catches, 59 yards; 15 carries, 154 yards), a speedster who has clearly made more of a mark on end arounds and reverses than in the passing game. Fellow freshman Kekoa Crawford (4 catches, 47 yards, 1 TD) and redshirt sophomore Drake Harris (2 catches, 11 yards) may also see some additional time. The backup tight ends haven’t factored into the passing game much: five tight ends have caught either 1 or 2 passes. We should see a lot of 6’6″, 276 lb. redshirt freshman Tyrone Wheatley, Jr. and 6’3″, 287 lb. freshman Devin Asiasi in mostly blocking roles.

Hit the jump for the rundown of Florida State’s defensive backfield.

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6Nov 2016
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Michigan 59, Maryland 3


Wilton Speight (image via Lexington Herald Leader)

Maryland just doesn’t have the horses. I actually liked what Maryland was doing offensively and defensively, but they just can’t match up physically. They have some speed offensively, but they’re not very good up front and they’re lacking talent on the defensive side of the ball. They knew they couldn’t push Michigan around at the line of scrimmage, so they consistently tried to get to the edge. That worked for a while, but once Michigan figured out that’s all they were going to do, the safeties and linebackers just started booking it for the edge. Lorenzo Harrison III is a pretty darn good running back to have for the future. If the Terps can keep some of that Maryland/D.C. home, then they have a chance to be dangerous in a year or two.

Hit the jump for more.

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29Oct 2016
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Michigan 32, Michigan State 23


Jabrill Peppers (image via MLive)

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A win is a win. I know people are upset that the #2 team didn’t beat Michigan State by more, but anything can happen in a rivalry game like this. Michigan State probably isn’t as bad as their 2-6 record suggests, and Michigan hasn’t really proven that they can hang with the big boys like Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and the like. Michigan fans seemed overconfident this week when talking about this game, and I think that was partially wishful thinking. Ultimately, all we really needed out of this game was a win. It didn’t need to be a by a wide margin, and Michigan didn’t need to be pulling away. When the clock ran out, Michigan just needed to be up by a point. They needed to get over that hump and that mental roadblock stemming from recent years, especially last year’s debacle. Mission accomplished.

Hit the jump for more.

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1Sep 2016
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2016 Season Countdown: #4 Jehu Chesson

Senior wide receiver Jehu Chesson celebrates a touchdown against Florida at the Citrus Bowl.

Jehu Chesson

Name: Jehu Chesson
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 203 lbs.
High school: St. Louis (MO) Ladue Horton Watkins
Position: Wide receiver
Class: Fifth year senior
Jersey number: #86
Last year: I ranked Chesson #18 and said he would be a starting wide receiver with 25 catches for 320 yards and 2 touchdowns (LINK). He started twelve games, making 50 catches for 764 yards and 9 touchdowns; he ran 8 times for 155 yards and 2 touchdowns; and he returns 4 kickoffs for 166 yards and 1 touchdown.

Chesson was the offensive breakout star of the Michigan Wolverines in 2015. Earlier in his career, I had lamented his ball skills, and that even reared its ugly head early in the year when Jake Rudock tried to connect with Chesson on deep balls numerous times. The ball was either overthrown or Chesson wouldn’t adjust properly to it. Then about halfway through the year, the light came on for Chesson and he turned into one of the most dynamic receiving threats in the country. He had 33 catches for 632  yards and 7 touchdowns over the final six games, including a 207-yard effort against Indiana. One of the most exciting moments of the year was his kickoff return against Northwestern, which he took 96 yards for a touchdown and was completely untouched.

I have high expectations for Chesson in 2016. I think his game meshes well with Wilton Speight, who has a stronger arm than Rudock. Again, I’m putting my faith in Jim Harbaugh to pick the right quarterback, so hopefully Speight will push the ball down the field at times so he can connect with guys like Chesson. I’ve had questions about Speight’s accuracy on the deep ball, but Chesson can leave corners in the dust and out-leverage safeties. He may not be needed so much in the running game if the Wolverines can run the ball more effectively, but based on what teams saw him do last season, he can be a threat to make defenses pause on end around and jet sweep fakes.

Prediction: Starting wide receiver; 60 catches for 900 yards and 9 touchdowns

1Sep 2016
Blog, Uncategorized 17 comments

2016 Season Predictions

Jourdan Lewis 311x

Jourdan Lewis

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This one doesn’t leave much to the imagination. Michigan’s leading rusher from last season returns, and nothing that happened this off-season suggests that he will lose his mantle as Michigan’s top back. Unless a serious injury befalls him, it will be . . .
Prediction: De’Veon Smith, 870 yards

Last year I had Amara Darboh with 650 yards, and I was a little low with that yardage total. He also lost out late in the season to Jehu Chesson, who became a big-time deep threat down the stretch. There’s talk that Darboh is the #1 receiver and has stepped up this fall, but I don’t expect him to change much from his redshirt junior season to his redshirt senior year.
Prediction: Jehu Chesson, 900 yards

Hit the jump for the rest of the season predictions.

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