Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Zach Charbonnet. Charbonnet’s first carry of the game was a 70-yard touchdown up the gut on power. He ended up with 70 yards on 4 total carries, so his other three carries netted zero yards, but I would still like to see Charbonnet touch the ball more if/when the game is on the line. Michigan did a good job of spreading out carries to keep people happy and fresh, but we know Charbonnet is tough – and that touchdown run showed more speed than what he had last year. In the 2019 season opener, he broke away against Middle Tennessee and didn’t have the same explosion he showed against the Gophers.
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: Michael Barrett Height: 6’0″ Weight: 224 lbs. High school: Valdosta (GA) Lowndes Position: Viper Class: Redshirt freshman Jersey number: #6 Last year: I ranked Barrett #53 and said he would be a backup Viper (LINK). He made 7 tackles, rushed 1 time for 14 yards, and completed a 25-yard pass. TTB Rating: 82
Barrett had a very interesting 2019 season. Playing behind eventual 5th round draft pick Khaleke Hudson, Barrett did not see a lot of time on the field since it’s a position that rarely rotates. The Viper is usually one of the most versatile all-around football players on the field. It made sense in Jabrill Peppers’s case (he played QB/WR/RB/LB/CB/PR/KR) in his college career, and it made sense for Hudson (he was a standout RB/S in high school).
So whomever the coaches peg to take over for Hudson must be highly valued as an athlete. Barrett is no slouch, either, when it comes to positional versatility. He was a high school QB who has bounced between linebacker and slot receiver in college. Michigan used him as an upback on the punt team in 2019, allowing him to run a couple fake punts – one for a 14-yard rush and another for a pass that turned into a 25-yard completion to Dax Hill against Army.
On the one hand, I don’t have much tangible evidence to say that Barrett can be an impact Viper. After all, I evaluated him as an offensive player and he’s been on campus for two years without playing much defense.
On the other hand, it seems like we can trust the coaches to pick the right Viper based on the two guys who have manned the position over the past four years (along with Don Brown’s previous contributors there, including current NFLer Matt Milano).
I probably should rank Barrett higher, because the linebacker unit is very inexperienced behind the starting crew. The backup is probably either sophomore Anthony Solomon, who also plays some WILL, or a true freshman. But because Barrett has little experience, I can’t place too much faith in him just yet. Hopefully he’s a pleasant surprise this season.
Name: Michael Barrett Height: 6’0″ Weight: 224 lbs. High school: Valdosta (GA) Lowndes Position: Viper Class: Redshirt freshman Jersey number: #6 Last year: I ranked Barrett #67 and said he would be a backup slot receiver (LINK). He played in two games on special teams and redshirted. TTB Rating: 82
Coming into the 2018 season, it was anyone’s guess where Barrett would play in college. There was talk that he could be a Wildcat quarterback. There was talk that he would be a running back or a slot receiver or a linebacker. Personally, I pegged him as a slot receiver with the caveat that…I had no idea.
Well, it seems he has settled in at linebacker. The coaching staff has been grooming to take over – or at least be an option – at the Viper position once Khaleke Hudson and Jordan Glasgow graduate. Hudson is the starter and Glasgow can play all three linebacker positions, but Michigan will need to start over in 2020. Whether it’s Barrett, a position-switcher (J’Marick Woods, Brad Hawkins), or a 2019 freshman (Daxton Hill, Joey Velazquez, Quinten Johnson), there will be an opening. Barrett had an interception and a decent return in April’s spring game, and I expect him to get some snaps in 2019 while the coaching staff feels out whether he can take over full-time or not.