It’s time for unbridled speculation, because this is sadly a rather dull time to be a Michigan fan, what with all the bad football and lack of football we’re seeing. Keep in mind that this information is purely speculative.
So what kind of attrition are we likely to see going into the 2021 season?
The elephant in the room. Joe Milton looked good. He completed 15/22 passes for 225 yards and 1 touchdown, while running 8 times for 52 yards and 1 touchdown. I thought he would look shaky, and he didn’t. Yes, there were some mistakes, but he also made some very nice plays. Obviously, the arm strength is impressive, but he didn’t really complete any deep shots. The throws he hit were in the short and intermediate areas. It was a good debut for a starting QB.
Name: Joel Honigford Height: 6’6″ Weight: 284 lbs. High school: Sugarcreek (OH) Garaway Position: Offensive guard Class: Redshirt junior Jersey number: #59 Last year: I ranked Honigford #50 and said he would be a backup offensive guard (LINK). He played in ten games. TTB Rating: 84
Honigford spent the 2019 season as a backup offensive guard, who also spent some time at tackle after Andrew Stueber got injured. Reports out of practice were good though lacking true buzz, but he was mentioned as a guy who could play numerous spots along the offensive line if necessary. Ultimately, he played in three games as a backup lineman and in ten total, including special teams.
Honigford has an interesting outlook for his final two years of college. On the one hand, he has excellent coaching, solid talent, and some experience under his belt. On the other hand, Michigan keeps recruiting well and some younger guys are pushing from behind. The 2020 season will be a huge one for him since none of the projected starters are seniors of any sort. If Honigford earns a starting position, he would presumably have two years to play. If he spends another year as a backup to a guy who isn’t slated to graduate, Honigford would almost certainly spend his fifth year wearing a different uniform. I like Honigford as a swing guy, but it’s getting down to crunch time.
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Name: Joel Honigford Height: 6’6″ Weight: 295 lbs. High school: Sugarcreek (OH) Garaway Position: Offensive guard Class: Redshirt sophomore Jersey number: #59 Last year: I ranked Honigford #86 and said he would be a backup offensive guard (LINK). He played in two games. TTB Rating: 84
There’s a reason you recruit a lot of linemen (take notes, Rich Rodriguez), and that’s because you want veterans to be available in case an opportunity opens up for playing time. Over the past couple years, players like Ja’Raymond Hall, James Hudson, Juwann Bushell-Beatty, and Nolan Ulizio have all departed. Jim Harbaugh has done a good job of increasing numbers on the offensive line, meaning people like Honigford, Stephen Spanellis, and Chuck Filiaga are still around if they’re needed.
Four-fifths of Michigan’s offensive line is basically decided going into 2019, with Jon Runyan, Jr., Ben Bredeson, Cesar Ruiz, and Michael Onwenu seeming to have locked up their spots. The competition is still open at one tackle position, though, with Andrew Stueber and Jalen Mayfield both vying to start. Honigford has been repping at offensive guard, and word out of the spring is that he has taken some big strides over the past year. Barring injury, there’s no chance for him to start in 2019, but he will be jostling with the aforementioned Spanellis and Filiaga to be the first offensive lineman off the bench. Spanellis appears to be the top backup interior guy and has the ability to play center, too, but we should start to see Honigford emerge in 2019. Both Bredeson and Onwenu will graduate after 2019, so the top backup guards will probably be your starters in 2020.
Name: Joel Honigford Height: 6’6″ Weight: 275 lbs. High school: Sugarcreek (OH) Garaway Position: Offensive guard Class: Redshirt freshman Jersey number: #59 Last year: I ranked Honigford #92 and said he would redshirt (LINK). He redshirted.
Honigford came out of high school at a pretty scrawny 6’6″ and 275 lbs., and so far that weight has not been changed on Michigan’s roster. He was destined for a redshirt last season, which is indeed what happened. Now with a full off-season under his belt, it seems like not much has changed. He has been practicing mostly at offensive guard, where there are a couple fairly entrenched starters in Ben Bredeson and Michael Onwenu. Even if one of those two players stumbles or gets injured, there are more experienced players ready to step in, such as Stephen Spanellis and Jon Runyan, Jr. If Honigford is limited to guard, nothing good happened for him on the roster over the winter, because Michigan’s only losses on the offensive line were center Patrick Kugler, left tackle Mason Cole, and freshman guard Ja’Raymond Hall, who was supposedly a step behind Honigford. I still think Honigford has potential for the future, but for now, he’s a backup.