Way Too Early 2020 Depth Chart: November 2019

Way Too Early 2020 Depth Chart: November 2019


December 1, 2019
Zach Charbonnet (image via MLive)

Based on how the 2019 regular season has gone, here’s a look at what the depth chart could look like in 2020.

NOTE: It’s hard to anticipate departures and there are a few I have in mind for transfer, but there have been rumblings about numerous players leaving early. Josh Uche has already accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl, so I removed him. DT Carlo Kemp and WR Tarik Black have previously given indications that this would be their final season in Ann Arbor, but I left them on here. Other players with decisions to make regarding the NFL: WR Nico Collins, WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, C Cesar Ruiz.

QB: Dylan McCaffrey (RS Jr.), Joe Milton (RS So.), Cade McNamara (RS Fr.)
RB: Zach Charbonnet (So.), Hassan Haskins (RS So.), Chris Evans (RS Sr.), Christian Turner (RS So.), Ben VanSumeren (RS So.), Blake Corum (Fr.)
FB: Ben Mason (Sr.), Peter Bush (RS Sr.)
WR1: Nico Collins (Sr.), Cornelius Johnson (So.), George Johnson III (RS Fr.),
WR2: Donovan Peoples-Jones (Sr.), A.J. Henning (Fr.), Roman Wilson (Fr.)
WR3: Ronnie Bell (Jr.), Tarik Black (RS Jr.), Mike Sainristil (So.), Giles Jackson (So.), Eamonn Dennis (Fr.)
TE: Nick Eubanks (RS Sr.), Erick All (So.), Luke Schoonmaker (RS So.), Matt Hibner (Fr.), Nick Patterson (Fr.)
LT: Ryan Hayes (RS So.), Greg Robinson (RS Sr.), Trente Jones (RS Fr.), Jeffrey Persi (Fr.)
LG: Stephen Spanellis (RS Sr.), Chuck Filiaga (RS Jr.), Zak Zinter (Fr.)
C: Cesar Ruiz (Sr.), Andrew Vastardis (RS Sr.), Nolan Rumler (So.), Reece Atteberry (Fr.)
RG: Andrew Stueber (RS Jr.), Joel Honigford (RS Jr.), Zach Carpenter (RS Fr.), Micah Mazzccua (Fr.)
RT: Jalen Mayfield (RS So.), Karsen Barnhart (RS Fr.), Trevor Keegan (RS Fr.), Jack Stewart (RS Fr.)

SDE: Aidan Hutchinson (Jr.), Julius Welschof (RS So.), Michael Morris (RS Fr.), David Ojabo (RS Fr.), Aaron Lewis Jr. (Fr.)
DT: Michael Dwumfour (RS Sr.), Chris Hinton (So.), Jess Speight (RS Jr.), Carl Myers (RS Sr.), Kris Jenkins Jr. (Fr.)
NT: Carlo Kemp (RS Sr.), Donovan Jeter (RS Jr.), Mazi Smith (RS Fr.), Phillip Paea (RS Jr.)
WDE: Kwity Paye (Sr.), Luiji Vilain (RS Jr.), Gabe Newburg (RS Fr.), Braiden McGregor (Fr.)
Viper/SAM: Michael Barrett (RS So.), Joey Velazquez (RS Fr.), Quinten Johnson (RS Fr.), William Mohan (Fr.)
MIKE: Josh Ross (RS Jr.), Charles Thomas (RS Fr.), Cornell Wheeler (Fr.), Osman Savage (Fr.)
WILL: Cameron McGrone (Jr.), Devin Gil (RS Sr.), Jordan Anthony (RS Jr.), Anthony Solomon (RS Fr.), Kalel Mullings (Fr.), Nikhai Hill-Green (Fr.)
CB: Vincent Gray (RS So.), Jalen Perry (RS Fr.), Andre Seldon (Fr.)
CB: Ambry Thomas (Sr.), D.J. Turner II (RS Fr.), Jaylen Kelly-Powell (Sr.), Gemon Green (RS So.)
FS: Daxton Hill (So.), German Green (RS So.), Sammy Faustin (RS So.), Makari Paige (Fr.)
SS: Brad Hawkins (Sr.), Jordan Morant (Fr.), R.J. Moten (Fr.)

K: Jake Moody (Jr.), Quinn Nordin (RS Sr.)
P: Will Hart (RS Sr.)

32 comments

  1. Avatar
    Comments: 15
    Joined: 11/23/2015
    Burge333
    Dec 01, 2019 at 2:12 PM

    Hi Thunder,

    Any thoughts on QB and whether we pursue a transfer? If you look at the difference between OSU and UM and why one team wins and the other doesn’t the biggest gap is QB productivity. Ruddock and Patterson are the best Michigan has had, neither very good compared to OSU’s QB’s.

    Do you see a change in philosophy? What do you think the reason is that after 5 years Harbaugh hasn’t recruited a legitimately good QB? It is the most important position on the field OSU is elite, we are not. Look at OSU this year, they took an extreme risk to get a great QB, we didn’t even make a play for him. Risk paid off they look great, for us big 10 average again. If Fields is on UM, is it a different outcome?

    This isn’t meant to say anythign poor about Patterson, but every OSU QB has been significantly better than any QB UM has had in the past 15 years.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3358
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 01, 2019 at 4:19 PM

      I don’t think Michigan will pursue a grad transfer unless something happens with McCaffrey (such as his injury is a career ender or something). I would not be surprised to see them land a regular underclassman transfer if there are any quality guys available. With J.D. Johnson out of the 2020 class, Michigan could use at least one more QB in the program. Otherwise, it’s just McCaffrey, Milton, and McNamara going forward.

      I don’t know if your statement is true that Harbaugh hasn’t recruited a legitimately good QB. The 2015 class doesn’t really count, so you’re talking about 2016 and beyond. Peters is doing okay at Illinois, and he would probably be doing better with better athletes around him. But even taking him was a whiff, Michigan got McCaffrey in 2017 and Milton in 2018. It just so happens that Michigan also got Shea Patterson around the same time that those guys were potentially ready to play. So far you’ve just seen them play with the practice reps that backup QBs get, which is to say, not many.

      Next year is the year when we’re going to find out if Jim Harbaugh can recruit and develop quarterbacks. Other guys’ guys are gone, and only his guys are left. I’ll only buy into your premise if McCaffrey/Milton/McNamara bomb in 2020.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 15
        Joined: 11/23/2015
        Burge333
        Dec 01, 2019 at 11:32 PM

        My point wasn’t necessarily that Jim hasn’t recruited good quarterbacks, more that OSU has way better quarterbacks. Patterson is not likely to get drafted or play in the NFL, he will be lucky to have Ruddocks career. Harbaugh has now had 4 quarterbacks in 5 years, ok is the best we have hit, no legitimate pros.

        The biggest difference between OSU and UM is at quarterback and productivity at the position. In the last 18 years I am not sure you would ever pick Michigan’s QB over Ohio State’s, it is no coincidence none of UM’s QB’s have gone on to any real success. At one point our back up QB’s had a chance to have Ruddocks career, now we are hoping our starters can get on a practice squad.

        I realise OSU hasn’t had many QB’s in the NFL but they have had either mobile QB’s that have detroyed us or a combo of the two. Until we can match their QB play we are not likely to compete, I don’t know if Macaffrey is the equaliser.

        • Thunder
          Comments: 3358
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Dec 02, 2019 at 8:25 AM

          When it comes to the QB position, I just don’t know if that is accurate. You’re talking about offensive systems. Jason White was a superstar quarterback at Oklahoma back in the day, but was he a better quarterback than Drew Henson or Chad Henne? What about Josh Heupel? Powerhouse offensive systems sometimes are good, regardless of who’s pulling the trigger. Was Jake Rudock a worse quarterback than Braxton Miller or J.T. Barrett? One is still hanging around as a backup QB in the NFL, and the other two are not…

          Now Justin Fields might be a different animal. He’s big and strong and fast with a pretty strong arm, and he’s a 5-star recruit. But Cardale Jones, Barrett, Miller, etc….they were all just guys plugged into a great system.

          • Avatar
            Comments: 12
            Joined: 10/6/2019
            awolverine10
            Dec 02, 2019 at 3:51 PM

            Thunder, it would be fun to read a post from you on what makes a powerhouse offensive system. Recently I heard the opinion expressed (can’t remember where, maybe here?) that one major advantage of the OSU offense is its simplicity — they practice a few core plays to perfection, they are well balanced in terms of playing off each other in response to what the defense gives you, and they don’t spend practice time reactively installing and uninstalling new concepts on a week to week basis. Is that accurate, in your view? Is that a fair way to characterize OSU in particular, or is that the ideal end state of *any* offense (i.e. that’s where Gattis is intending to go, but there’s understandable fits & starts on the way there)? Appreciate any insight you have.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1277
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Dec 03, 2019 at 9:18 AM

        Sorry, what? It takes SIX years to figure out if Harbaugh can recruit and develop quarterbacks? I see lots of coaches out there getting really good performances out of freshmen, RS freshmen and sophomores at QB. McCaffrey will be a senior and we’re still crossing our fingers about him for next year. The “practice reps” meme is bullshit. I see guys come off the bench for other teams and have big games all the time. It really isn’t that hard to develop two QBs at once.

        • Thunder
          Comments: 3358
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Dec 03, 2019 at 9:39 AM

          Can Lincoln Riley recruit and develop quarterbacks? We’ll be waiting until at least year four to know the answer to that one…

          • Avatar
            Comments: 1277
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            WindyCityBlue
            Dec 03, 2019 at 9:50 AM

            We’ve waited until year 4 and year 5 with Harbaugh, and the answer is still no. Why do you think that years 6 and 7 will produce a massive change? It’s not like Harbaugh just started coaching.

            • Thunder
              Comments: 3358
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Dec 03, 2019 at 10:06 AM

              I don’t understand this. Harbaugh brought in a 5-star transfer quarterback, who has played pretty well overall. Years 4 and 5 are “N/A” when it comes to determining whether Harbaugh can recruit/develop a QB. That’s my point with the Lincoln Riley thing. It’s been Mayfield and Murray and Hurts, none of whom started off at Oklahoma. That doesn’t make Oklahoma any less of a team or Riley any less of a coach.

              Who said anything about bringing in a “significant starter from another school”? I didn’t. Transfers aren’t always guys who were significant starters elsewhere. Most guys (not all, obviously) who transfer weren’t starters to begin with.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1277
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Dec 03, 2019 at 9:13 AM

      For Harbaugh, to go after yet another QB transfer would be essentially admitting that he has no confidence in the guys he has recruited and developed himself. And what top-notch QBs are going to want to come here if they know they aren’t going to get to play until they’re a senior?

      • Thunder
        Comments: 3358
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Dec 03, 2019 at 9:41 AM

        QB transfers are pretty normal. Michigan has guys going out (Peters, Malzone, etc.), so it’s only natural to expect some to come in (Rudock, Patterson, O’Korn, etc.). It’s not an admission of a lack of confidence. It could just be filling out your depth chart. You don’t want to go into a season with only 3 scholarship quarterbacks.

        • Avatar
          Comments: 1277
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          WindyCityBlue
          Dec 03, 2019 at 9:54 AM

          When you bring in a transfer that has already been a significant starter at another school, that’s not just “filling out your depth chart”. That’s saying that you don’t have confidence in your projected starter and that you feel like you need insurance at that position.

  2. Avatar
    Comments: 1609
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Dec 01, 2019 at 2:53 PM

    I still don’t get the Memo projection. He played all 4yrs, and in 2016 had a Scout Team Player of the Week recognition. How does that clear MedRS procedure?

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3358
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 01, 2019 at 3:59 PM

      I don’t know what the deal is, but Don Brown made a comment at one point about Kemp potentially coming back for another year.

  3. Avatar
    Comments: 10
    Joined: 1/16/2019
    Blue83
    Dec 01, 2019 at 7:52 PM

    I didn’t do an exact count, but eyeballing it tells me that at least 7 or 8 of those names won’t be on the roster if only to make scholarship numbers work. And that doesn’t even include the (small) possibility that Theo, Stroud or maybe a grad transfer at corner or d-tackle signs up. My guess is that DPJ and Nico enter the draft as opposed to taking a gamble on D-Mac remaining healthy for an entire season. Likely a handful of those seniors who have graduated, especially 5th years, will get the handshake, and maybe a few players who anticipate limited playing time will hit the transfer portal. I could guess at those, but you’d have a much better idea.

  4. Avatar
    Comments: 100
    Joined: 9/28/2015
    PapaBear
    Dec 01, 2019 at 8:57 PM

    Please tell me why or where Tarik Black will go? Transfer? How does that help him? In saying this was his last year, did he anticipate a better season individually?

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3358
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 01, 2019 at 9:34 PM

      I got the impression that he felt he was primed for a big year and would be off to the NFL.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 5498
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Dec 03, 2019 at 8:28 PM

      Black will be back.

  5. Avatar
    Comments: 100
    Joined: 9/28/2015
    PapaBear
    Dec 01, 2019 at 10:17 PM

    Gray or Turner or Perry will fill in at CB. Smith and Hinton will be stronger and better technique-wise next year. IF Kemp and Dwumfour return along with a leap from another guy as has happened every year, the defense will be better next season.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1277
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Dec 03, 2019 at 9:26 AM

      Thomas will probably be gone, which leaves us with Gray as the only CB with any real game experience. Harbaugh has done a poor job recruiting CBs for years, and we’ve seen the result the last two years against OSU. You need at least one stud CB every class, and at least two, period. Same goes for DTs. Again, we saw the result of having a soft Dline against quality competition like Wisconsin and OSU. Those shortcomings are not going to get fixed next year, if ever. I don’t have much confidence in Smith or Hinton, given how little they showed this year. They may be bodies, and decent, but if they were going to be difference makers at DT, we’d have seen more from them.

      • Thunder
        Comments: 3358
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Dec 03, 2019 at 9:47 AM

        I would be surprised if Thomas is gone. If he does leave, he’s not going to get drafted very high.

        Hinton and/or Smith will be fine. Lots of difference makers at Michigan have been invisible (or close to it) as true freshmen, including Chris Wormley, Willie Henry, Maurice Hurst, Ryan Glasgow, etc. You can throw Kemp in there, too, depending on whether you think he’s a difference maker or not; Kemp wasn’t even playing DL at that point. It’s silly to write them off already. You’re just being ornery.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5498
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Dec 03, 2019 at 8:06 PM

        DT and CB are both concerns.

        At DT – getting Dwumfour and/or Kemp would make a huge difference. Hinton could be a player and had an encouraging freshman year. Smith – who the hell knows. Jeter looks like a bust but maybe health was a factor? Hutchinson may need to move inside full time. Too much uncertainty. Recruiting needs to get better.

        At CB – I think Thomas will be back. Only one year of experience and he’s small. Gray was solid for a 2nd year player. Turner got some practice buzz. They could be OK but the depth and talent that has been there throughout the Harbaugh era seems to be gone. They need to add more than just Seldon.

        The thing that stands out to me here, just as much as recruiting is retention. Aubrey Solomon could have been a season-altering contributor. St Juste is playing a big role for Minn. These are players Michigan could have hung onto butfor their approach with injuries.

  6. Avatar
    Comments: 12
    Joined: 10/6/2019
    awolverine10
    Dec 02, 2019 at 3:42 PM

    Really great to have Evans back for a last hurrah. Could be a difference-maker.

    Receiver and O-line seem to be in great shape for the foreseeable future, regardless of early entries.

    QB depth scary. I’d be surprised if Milton doesn’t transfer this spring.

    A heck of a lot is riding on defensive tackle development / future recruitment. Same with CB.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3358
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 02, 2019 at 7:37 PM

      Yeah, Evans is a different kind of back than what we have in our current top two (Charbonnet, Haskins). Those two are more downhill/power backs, although I think Charbonnet wasn’t 100% this year and will be better in the future. Evans will hopefully be used a little more in the passing game.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1277
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Dec 03, 2019 at 9:07 AM

      Evans is not, and has never been, a “difference maker”. He’s on about the same level as Haskins and Charbonnet, which is good, solid, but nothing special (and that assumes he gets back to where he was before, which is not at all certain). We’ll have better depth at RB with him back, but that’s all. For “difference maker”, see JK Dobbins.

      As far as Oline, I’m not sure where you see “great shape”. We’ve got bodies, but nobody special, nobody dominant. Our YPC rushing was only 4.0 this year, with an experienced group. Not sure how that gets better after we lose 4 starters.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5498
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Dec 03, 2019 at 8:18 PM

        I agree. Saquan Barkley isn’t walking through that door. We keep talking about him, but he’s arguably a once-a-couple-decade talent.

        Our top 3 backs averaged 4.7, 5.0, and 5.4 ypc. Chris Evans was 5.2 ypc last year. 5-star, 4-star, 3-star, no-star — all producing at the same level.

        The OL was good but very far from dominant in the run game. I chalk it up to transition costs.

        Dobbins? I don’t know. Nice back – but his backups have the same YPC. When he leaves or gets hurt I’m guessing OSU just plugs in another “difference-maker” and it won’t make a difference.

  7. Lanknows
    Comments: 5498
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Dec 03, 2019 at 8:19 PM

    I would guess McGrone sticks at Mike and Ross moves back to WIL where he had more success and experience.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3358
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 03, 2019 at 9:02 PM

      It’s hard to have success when you’re injured. Ross is a better run fitter. McGrone tends to rely on his athleticism too much and tries to avoid blocks. Their skill fit better with Ross at MIKE and McGrone at WILL.

  8. Lanknows
    Comments: 5498
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Dec 03, 2019 at 8:21 PM

    Guessing Steuber sticks at OT and Hayes is a backup. Sounds like one of the freshman will pop at OG.

    Big thing will be if Ruiz returns.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3358
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 03, 2019 at 8:59 PM

      From what I’m hearing, Steuber is likely to move inside. But we’ll see…

  9. Lanknows
    Comments: 5498
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Dec 03, 2019 at 8:27 PM

    Bell and Black should play huge roles next year. Sainristil should step into a starting role assuming DPJ and Collins are gone. Opportunity for the other young guys to step into the rotation too. Jackson is a weapon. Johnson had a nice freshman year. The recruits look very promising too.

    I look forward to Speed in Space Year 2.

  10. Lanknows
    Comments: 5498
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Dec 03, 2019 at 8:31 PM

    Michigan needs a 4th QB. Could be a recruit or a transfer.

    I’d be surprised by a grad transfer simply because McCaffrey is so well positioned to step into the starting role. Milton has plenty of opportunity ahead of him, and being around the program must know that even if McCaffrey stays ahead, he’ll likely get a shot at some point.

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