Vacation time is over. Time to get back to work and pick up where we left off in our Team 134 Preview series. This time around, we take a look at a very underrated group of players on this roster: the wide receiver corps.As we’ve mentioned before, you’re going to get much more of a pro-style look this season with redshirt junior Devin Gardner taking snaps under center this year, but many think that Gardner doesn’t quite have the weapons he needs to work to the best of his capabilities this season. I’m here to tell you that couldn’t be further from the truth. Let’s take a closer look.
With recruits like Drake Harris, Moe Ways, and Freddy Canteen not coming in until next year, it’s easy to overlook the group of guys that Team 134 will put out there. As far the number-one spot goes, it starts and ends with senior Jeremy Gallon, who had 49 receptions for 829 yards and four touchdowns in 2012. Not a bad year by any means considering the first half or so of the year, Denard Robinson was the starting quarterback and the passing game left much to be desired. 31 of his 49 catches last season came in five with Devin Gardner at quarterback at the end of the year, so the chemistry between these two is there. Though the production hasn’t quite been there throughout his career, Gallon has always showed the ability to make a tough catch and go up and get the ball, despite only being 5-8. Despite his size, he should be playing on the outside. A full off-season’s work with Gardner should do him wonders and I believe he surpasses 1,000 receiving yards easily this season.
Who lines up across from Gallon should be one of the more intriguing storylines in camp this year, but I believe the front-runner is sophomore Amara Darboh. The 6-2, 213 pound product of Des Moines, Iowa didn’t see the field last season, but by all accounts has emerged as a threat in the passing game in the off-season. He’s a bigger target and I think is a sleeper in terms of what he can bring to this team. Darboh is a guy who can catch the ball in traffic and should be a very nice “move the chains” type of player. I think he has a real shot to become a household name among Michigan fans this year.
Two other guys I think step up and making solid contributions to the wide receiver corps regularly are senior Drew Dileo and redshirt freshman Jehu Chesson. Dileo only has 30 career receptions, but he has made some big catches in his career, and experience will be a factor in him being near the top of the depth chart. Chesson sat out last season, but he’s a big guy that many quarterbacks love to have, so look for him to contribute some as well.
Other guys that I expect to make marginal contributions are Joe Reynolds (RS SR) and Jeremy Jackson (SR). The incoming freshman are Jaron Dukes, Da’mario Jones, and Csont’e York, but I do not expect to see much of an impact from them this season.
Devin Gardner has a solid group of guys to work with that should compliment him nicely. Gallon is your playmaker and Darboh is the possession receiver, two key pieces that any offense needs to be successful, and I believe that they will. This will be one of the more intriguing position groups of Team 134.
Keep it locked here for a preview of the tight ends and offense line this week. Football season is right around the corner!
- Team 134 Preview: Quarterbacks (bleedbluerecruiting.com)
- Team 134 Preview: Running Backs (bleedbluerecruiting.com)