I’m calling this Week Zero because if Michigan isn’t playing, then has the football season really started?
RB Zach Charbonnet (UCLA): Charbonnet was third on the team in rushing attempts (6), but he led the team in yardage (106 yards), touchdowns (3), and rushing average (17.7). That rushing average was boosted by a 46-yard touchdown on which he broke several tackle attempts. Here are all three of his scores:
Punter Will Hart posted on Twitter that he’s pursuing a grad transfer opportunity elsewhere in 2021. This is very interesting, because Hart was a fifth year senior in 2020, so he’s the first “senior” of any sort for Michigan to indicate that he plans to play college football again in 2021. Of course, because of COVID and the NCAA’s exception for collegiate athletes this year, every player still has eligibility in 2021, including seniors, fifth year seniors, and even sixth year seniors.
Hart had a very weird career at Michigan. A walk-on player, he was a Ray Guy Award semifinalist and first team all-conference player in 2018 after averaging 46.98 yards per punt. He followed that up by averaging 44.24 yards per punt in 2019 and . . . a very disappointing 37.75 yards in 2020. So he steadily regressed, and Brad Robbins took his punting job during the 2020 season. I’m unaware if that was because of injury, a loss of confidence, etc., but regardless, Hart looks to be headed out the door.
This does not really affect Michigan’s roster or scholarship numbers, considering Hart was a walk-on who had lost his starting job. But it does remove a punting option, and Robbins himself has had injury issues. It’s also worth noting that Michigan signed one of the top punters in the 2020 class in Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary’s specialist Tommy Doman.
Name: Will Hart Height: 6’3″ Weight: 206 lbs. High school: Hunting Valley (OH) University School Position: Punter Class: Redshirt senior Jersey number: #17 Last year: I ranked Hart #24 and said he would be the starting punter (LINK). He punted 51 times for 2,256 yards (44.2 yards/punt), 7 touchbacks, 13 fair catches, and 11 inside the 20-yard line. TTB Rating: N/A
Hart was a superstar punter in 2018 and borderline All-American after averaging 47 yards per punt. His numbers dipped a little bit in 2019, but he was still very good. His punting average of 44.2 yards per attempt was slightly behind conference leader Blake Hayes (Illinois) and his 44.6-yard average. It’s not that he lost leg power, but his technique and timing seemed to be a little off, and he shanked a couple punts throughout the year.
For the second year in a row, Hart comes in at #24 in the countdown. He has a decent backup in Brad Robbins (42.8 yards/attempt in 2019), but Hart has a stronger leg and can be a weapon at times. Hopefully he returns to his 2018 form and can work out some of the kinks he experienced last season.