Each week throughout the football season, we will be posting the stat lines of current Michigan commits.
This week the games were at a minimum as many schools do not begin their seasons until next week, but for the three headed trio from Indiana of Chris Evans, Kiante Enis, and Brandon Peters, the season began and boy did it start with a bang.
Peters seemed to thrive early and demonstrate an even better arm than last season per Jake Thompson of the Hendricks County Flyer.
Peters may be the top quarterback in state of Indiana and showed in week 1 just why the hype has been so real.
Chris Evans may be the best athlete in the 2016 class for Michigan.
His speed has been clocked at a sub 4.45 level and in his first week of play, he showed just how dynamic he is.
With only 4 carries, he amassed 112 yards and 3 touchdowns while adding 12 yards on two receptions.
Evans is another contender for the Mr. Football award in the Hoosier state and could see early playing time when he gets to Ann Arbor thanks to his game changing abilities with the ball in his hands.
Evans projects as a Slot WR/CB at the next level.
23 carries for 341 yards, 4 TD’s, and a 69yard INT return for a TD
Enis is the smallest of the three, and is the main competition of Evans for the best athlete in the Michigan class as it stands.
Last season he amassed 49 TDs and really blew up on the scene.
He wasted no time tonight in starting up his senior campaign while going for 341!!! yards and 4 TD’s. He also added a pick six to end the first half.
Much like Evans, Enis could project on both sides of the ball but it is my belief that he could be primarily seen on the offensive side of the ball.
After the game, GoBlueWolverine staff writer Josh Newkirk caught up with Enis and Enis mentioned that Michigan wants him to come in as a RB.
It’s pretty easy to see why after the record setting performance..
His coach Mike Jones added, “Easy, Kiante makes our job easy.”
Michigan may have landed the top three prospects in the state of Indiana for 2016, and in Game 1, these three young men proved me, and the coaches to be correct.
Look out for the next weekly stat lines in 7 days.
We are almost there!! In less than two weeks this will no longer be speculation but straight facts. We all know that no one outside of Jimmy and Timmy have an idea of what the starting offense will look like at Utah next month, but here is my best guess at what the starting eleven will look like. I am going to base these predictions off of what I saw at spring practice in March and my own evaluations of the talent on the roster more so than the murmurs and rumors coming out of the submarine. As an added bonus, I am going to give the two deep depth chart a shot as well. Here goes nothing!
Shane Morris- I’ve been saying that Sugar Shane will be the Wolverines starting quarterback since last december. After seeing his performance at spring practice and in the spring game, I became more confident in my prediction. Morris simply has more talent and ability than Rudock, and there has been a largely publicized precedent for this situation under Harbaugh already. RE: Colin Kaepernick starting over Alex Smith. Smith got the job done and won games, but Kaep made plays and took the 49ers to the super bowl. Morris is an exceptional athlete and is a surprising runner. Couple that with his NFL level arm strength, and you have a starting QB.
2. Jake Rudock- Jake will be one of the most experience back ups in the country and will provide invaluable mentoring to Morris throughout the season.
Joe Kerridge- Should be a captain as one of the most veteran players on the team.
2. Sione Houma
Wyatt Shallman- Not quite a fullback, not quite a tailback and not quite a tight end. Shallman can do a little bit of everything and is a good enough athlete that it will be hard to keep him off the field. If not here then I see a switch to defense in line for Wyatt
2. Khalid Hill
Derrick Green- DG is a monster. While he has some flaws to his game, he has busted his butt coming back from injury and looked pretty good before he got hurt last season. I have faith that he’ll seperate himself from the pack.
2. Every and anyone else- Michigan will have at LEAST two backs with 500+ yards this season, with the potential to be 750+ with two or three other guys earning meaningful carries. De’veon Smith is a stud but is a limited athlete. Ty Isaac is a freak athlete but hasn’t done much since getting to Ann Arbor. Drake Johnson is all heart and one of my favorite players on the team. Karan Higdon is a dark horse and would have to pass all of the aforementioned backs ahead of him on the depth chart to avoid a red shirt.
Jake Butt- Enough said here. I believe Butt has All American potential this season and could be the Wolverines leading receiver.
2. Ian Bunting- Bunting’s body has responded wonderfully to U of M’s strength and conditioning program and he now has the body of an NFL tight end. I expect good things from him this season.
Mason Cole- This kid is an animal that will end up on a few post season accolade lists this year.
2. Logan Tuley-Tillman
Blake Bars- I thought Bars was the sixth lineman while observing spring practice. I have heard nothing but praise from Drevno thus far and I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes away a starting spot from “Incumbent” Erik Magnuson, who was a jack of all trades and a master of none for the Hoke staff.
2. Dave Dawson
Graham Glasgow- As long as he can keep his nose clean, Glasgow will be the anchor of this line from start to finish.
2. Patrick Kugler
Kyle Kalis- Another mainstay on the oline and no surprise here.
2. Erik Magnuson
Ben Braden- A Freak athlete, I really don’t see Drevno uprooting Braden from his spot on what will now be the blind side with Morris under center.
2. Juwann Bushell-Beatty
Drake Harris- IF healthy, Drake will be a breath of fresh air for the Wolverines. Finally a play maker that can do it all. Again, IF healthy.
2. Amara Darboh
Brian Cole II- Cole is a stud athlete that I have been watching film on since his sophomore year of high school, growing up less than thirty minutes north of me on I-75. Cole was swimming with the offense in the spring but there is no question that he is physically ready. Cole and Harris could be a special tandem for a long time.
2. Jehu Chesson II
Freddy Canteen- Rumors of Freddy playing corner at practice are hard for me to fathom. I have to stick to what I saw in the spring and pencil Canteen into the slot spot with Norfleet gone.
2. Grant Perry
Get at me on twitter for any clarification or anymore questions. Thanks for the read and as always, GO BLUE!!!
After what has been a thrill ride of an offseason for Michigan fans everywhere, The Wolverines will finally kick off their 2015-2016 season on September 3rd, on the road against the Utah Utes. With Harbaugh and company still operating mostly in stealth mode to the media, the debates of depth progression and final starting roles have the internet going mad, and the rumors are spreading like wildfire.
In a new series here at BleedBlue called “Starting XI” each of the staff will analyze what we know, what new information has leaked out, and compile it into our starting predictions for the upcoming games of the season. Kyle released an awesome article earlier this week with his take against Utah, and now you’ll have mine! So without further delay, here are my predicted offensive starters against Utah. Cheers!
QB: Shane Morris
I’m taking Shane as the starter for the season opener. Why him over Rudock you ask? Well, I did an entire article on it earlier this week, but to make it short and sweet… Morris’ potential in my eyes, will outweigh Rudock’s almost 2 to 1. Shane has spent every practice with the bulk of the snaps prior to and after Rudock’s arrival and I think Harbaugh used the presence of Rudock to light a fire under the ass of Shane Morris. To me, it seems the coaching staff really sees something special with this kid. Shane has practiced as the starter all offseason, his grading in practices has been solid, he performed decent in the spring game and has shown the courage to be the captain of the ship thus far. With the presence of Harbaugh and Fisch in his ear, I have confidence that Shane could be a tremendous asset to this team. Michigan is not a roll over type of program and while we know Rudock can perform at a decent level, we also know Morris could perform at a great level. While I’ll take Morris to take the field as the starter for game one, I think it’s very plausible that we could and probably would still see some action from Rudock based on the performance of Morris through the first few possessions. Rudock didn’t come all the way from Iowa to sit on the bench.
RB: Ty Isaac
I have to go with my gut here. I like Green, I like Smith, but I just feel like Isaac will be the one touting the ball the majority this season, providing that he can stay healthy. Smith and Green have experience, but Isaac is the biggest option, a 6’3, 240 lb back that is built like a linebacker but can run the ball smoothly, with vision and with feet that stay moving. There is a lot of talent on the depth of this position so I see Smith, and Green getting the ball as well in complimentary roles throughout the season’s progression.
WR: Amara Darboh (X), Jehu Chesson (Z ), Brian Cole II (Slot)
Darboh has earned his spot, and should be no surprise as a standout receiver for the passing game. He makes the plays, and he’s got the seniority. From there, statistically Chesson seems to be the number two option and makes the most sense in my mind, with his main competition being Maurice Ways. Lastly, i’m taking Brian Cole edging out Freddy Canteen on the slot option. That is a tough call for me, but I like what I see out of Cole and I think he could be a monster as he progresses. There’s a reason he was so sought after, and I think Cole could show us why that is this season.
TE: Jake Butt
Easy peasy here, Jake Butt WILL start game 1. Down the field, sideline, wherever you need him, Butt is a standout option and will be a staple to this offense. I expect a lot of good things out of him this year, and you should too.
OL: Mason Cole (LT), Ben Braden (LG), Graham Glasgow (C), Kyle Kalis (RG), Erik Magnuson (RT)
The offensive line is one thing everyone on the inside has claimed has made a very solid improvement this off-season. With a Drevno/Harbaugh staff that has spent a ton of time over the shoulder of these guys day in and day out. I expect Glasgow to be the standout OL man. Cole will be the youngest of the bunch, but as Kyle said in his take, he could also be the best and help us solidify an O-Line to buy more time for the QB and RB’s that we haven’t been able to see out of our Wolverines in some time now.
As always, if you enjoyed this article or would like to discuss things with me, leave a comment below and follow me on twitter at @BleedBlue_CG
Back when Brady Hoke was fired, esteemed NFL writer, Gil Brandt, wrote on Twitter that Michigan offered its head coaching job to current Duke coach, David Cutcliffe and Cutcliffe turned down the job mentioning how,”The times have changed in college football.”
Amidst scrutiny and rage in the fan base, Michigan fans spoke out and highly disputed this to ever be the case to the extent where fans were blocked by Brandt, himself, on social media after the enraged backlash.
Today in Washington D.C, Cutcliffe brought his team to the Redskins game against the Lions to watch former OL and first round pick of the Lions, Laken Tomlinson.
When asked about the report from Brandt, Cutcliffe noted, “The university gauged back channel interest on me leaving and once I stated that I loved Duke and the University as a whole, it was just left at inquiries and nobody went further than that.”
He also added, “Inquiries don’t mean you have been offered a job, I have the best job in America.”
It is nice to put to rest, now, that Michigan never offered him the job, as Jim Harbaugh eventually was offered and agreed to become the team’s 20th football coach.
The full article from Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press can be found here.
With the season two weeks away, Cody, Coach T and myself will offer our projections as to who starts to begin the season on both sides of the ball in a series titled Starting XI, look for their takes later this week!
As camp draws on, and the submarine floats submersed, BTN went inside the waters and brought us coverage and player interviews which can be seen on BTN Live.
I mentioned earlier on Twitter that you would have to be crazy if you thought Jim would even show a glimpse of what lies ahead to the BTN crew as media availability to the camp had been zip tight.
All things aside, there has been much debate about who has impressed and who has distasted the flavor of both coaches and fans. Without further ado, here is what we believe your starters will look like Game 1, in Utah .
QB: Jake Rudock
The Iowa transfer has been viewed as someone who can come in and deliver something we haven’t seen from the QB position in quite some time and that is game management. He has long thrived with the ability to make the smart decisions and his check down abilities will allow for Drevno’s offense to really keep the ball moving. Although Rudock gets the start, I would not be surprised to see Shane get a few snaps also, as game play is the true key to evaluating your players.
RB: Deveon Smith
Deveon Smith is my choice as the starter at RB for two reasons. 1) He saw a majority of the run in the spring game scrimmage and also looked the best of all the backs. 2) He has been the most consistent. Reports have had Smith day in and day out working his tail off and he has avoided injuries as where Ty Isaac, the presumed number two, has been dinged up at times. Even though Smith should start, I would expect there to be a committee of sorts where all three backs see playing time game 1 and I would anticipate from that, carries will be dispersed much carefully moving forward.
WR: Darboh, Perry, Harris
The WR position may be the most interesting area of need for this team moving forward because reports and prior games have shown there is no true gamebreaker. I assume Darboh will be your top option simply for the fact he can really go up and get the ball and simply make plays. Grant Perry was highly talked about by the BTN crew and local media reports have him playing a key role on offense this year. Perry was an elite playmaker and contributor at Brother Rice last year, and he is the type of receiver who can really move the chains while also showing flashes of big play ability. Drake Harris is the true wildcard. He was arguably one of the best wide receiver prospects to come out of Michigan this decade and in high school was one of the most dynamic big play, elite playmakers in the Midwest. After a nagging hamstring injury, Harris appears to have found himself once again while staying healthy, to the point where some have said he may be the best player Michigan has at the WR spot. Harris, brings something to the team that nobody else has and that is the total package. If Drake Harris can stay healthy and prove his worthiness, I feel he could be the star of this offense.
TE: Jake Butt
This one is the easiest spot to pick. Jake Butt will be featured heavily in this offense and has been a primary target his last two years in Ann Arbor. With a strong season he could find himself in the conversation of the best TE in America.
OL: Mason Cole, Ben Braden, Graham Glasgow, Kyle Kalis, Erik Magnuson
The OL position is the position at which Michigan has the most depth, thanks to several strong classes in recent years. The starters are all returning and although Cole is the youngest he may be the best. Mason Cole appears to be the next great Michigan OL following the footsteps of Lewan and Long. The other four guys are incredibly solid options with Magnuson being the new piece on the line. I expect Kyle Kalis to really develop on the OL thanks to Drevno and with improved line play, the players in the backfield, both Rudock and Smith at RB should be able to thrive and have time that hasn’t been there in recent years.
All things aside, Michigan is a team that seems destined for at least 7 wins with 9 more than likely being the ceiling. The offense returns starters and key areas, and if the QB play can be at least average to slightly above average, I certainly feel they can reach their ceiling as an offense. As we all know, you will need all positions to be clicking on the offensive side of the ball.
Look for our defensive starter predictions next week! As always Go Blue!
So here we are with fifteen days to the opening kickoff of the 2015 Michigan Football season. The hopes are high, the spotlight is shining, and Jim Harbaugh’s khakis are in full effect.
Following media day on August 6th and entering fall camp on August 7th the athletes and coaching staff have been strictly business. Coach Harbaugh has issued a media blackout in what he calls a “submarine” style system, communicating with nobody outside of his athletes and coaching staff. Following Wednesday’s open student practice he declined any comments or interviews from a slew of B1G media on site ready to turn on the cameras and get some answers. This, ladies and gentleman, is decision week in Ann Arbor.
As expected, Harbaugh has not taken his foot off the gas pedal since his arrival. From recruiting satellite tours and camps all over the country, to signing a slew of new coaches and staff, to new uniform deals with Nike/Jordan, there is a hell of a LOT going on. This is the time to put everything else aside and focus on the one thing that matters the most for Harbaugh and company, The team, the team, the team. Among all of the questions the media is pressing with for answers, there is one that stands out as the clear cut winner everyone wants to know the answer to.
“Who will throw the football?”
Shortly after the Spring Game this year, I asked this same question to someone that you all may know. Mr. Brian Cole II.
Cole, a graduate of Heritage High School, is one of this season’s biggest names to watch on the field for the Wolverines. Cole and I crossed paths while he was shopping inside the mall that I at the time worked in in his hometown of Saginaw, MI. We talked about Harbaugh, his life at campus, how he felt about the upcoming season and so on…but before he left the store, I asked him the one question I needed an answer to “If the season starts tomorrow, who’s throwing the football?” His answer? A smile, and with very little hesitation “Shane Morris baby!”
Feeling satisfied with the answer, we shook hands, I wished him good luck this season, and he left the store, but then another man came to town in Ann Arbor.
Enter: Jake Rudock, the two year starting QB transfer from Iowa that was added to an already crowded roster of QB’s at Michigan. Rudock started the past two years for Iowa putting up 4819 yards, 34 TD’s and 18 INT’s. Not bad, but not great.
Shane Morris on the other hand has had an even tougher start at Michigan behind now former head coach Brady Hoke. Playing in only eight games thus far, Morris holds career stats of 389 yards through the air, 0 TD’s, and 5 INT’s. Yikes.
But let’s put all that aside for a minute shall we? Morris comes to Ann Arbor as a five star recruit with a cannon of an arm. The plays he made in HS while leading Warren De La Salle were amazing (YouTube his HS highlight film) and from what we have seen from him this year he has changed in character, and has only gotten better on the field with his mechanics. At the spring game, he was the first one out of the locker room and onto the field and has practiced with the 1’s consistently since then. He seems more calm, composed and in charge then ever before. In more recent interviews you can tell that he has no intention on getting a secondary spot in his position, but neither does Rudock.
The main arguement between these two comes down to Potential vs. Consistency. On one hand you have Rudock, a QB that we’ve seen perform at a decent level, but not much more. He can throw the ball, he can make plays, but he is not really known for heaving it down field or floating it over the shoulder in sticky situations. He’s stable, but we haven’t seen anything out of Rudock to give him any “it” factor while he was in Iowa. Then on the other hand you have Morris, a kid with familiarization of the program, a rocket launcher attached to his shoulder and SO FAR has held the majority of the snaps at practices. The downside of Morris is the turnovers and whether or not he can shake off the jitters, focus, and lead an offense to Harbaugh’s standard. Also, does Morris live up to the hype? Can he be what everyone hopes?
With that being said if Harbaugh plays the safe card, Rudock will be your starter come September 3rd. If Harbaugh plays the risk vs. reward card, then Morris will throw the ball vs. the Utes.
My guess? Call me crazy but Harbaugh is a betting man, and a confident man. My prediction is that Shane Morris will be our starting QB this season until given a reason not to be. #GoBlue
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Name: Erik Swenson
Position: Offensive Tackle
Offer Sheet: (5) Michigan, Illinois, Northwestern, Notre Dame and Ohio State
Ranking: 4 Star
Commit Date: 11/25/13
This is the first BBR evaluation for the class of 2016. I will be using a new and improved grading scale. Out of 100 points possible, I will be grading offensive lineman on their Pass protection and run blocking (broken down into their technique and footwork). I will also be grading their build, Athleticism and their “It” factor. Which for Offensive lineman will be nastiness, and finishing their blocks.
90+ = Elite. Day one starter without question
80+ = Highly polished player, likely to have early Play time
70+ = Needs a few touch ups to their game before college ready
60+ = Redshirt likely
Player Comparison: Joe Staley (San Francisco 49ers)
Erik Swenson was the first 2016 prospect to commit to the Wolverines as a sophomore in 2013. Even back then, almost two years ago, Swenson looked the part of an elite offensive line prospect. Wearing #77 and playing left tackle, I had visions of Jake Long and Taylor Lewan from the first time I watched his film. Swenson hails from Downers Grove, Illinois and is the second ranked prospect in the state. A large and physically imposing player, Swenson dominates every defender in his path.
Technique: 15/20 Footwork: 15/20 Overall: 30/40
After watching just one play of pass pro, you can tell just low long and hard he was worked on his craft. Swenson’s first step is quick and short, and his feet are never off the ground too long. His hands are constantly in motion, whether he is engaged or not. Once he is back in his kick step and a defender reaches him, Swenson is quick to deliver a blow, although it is not a great one. Often times a defender will try to beat him up field with speed, and Swenson will simply engage the defender and continue to run him up field and away from the play. His kick step is much smoother and more fluid than his post step, which will be a something for him to work on at the next level. His center of gravity is not great during pass pro, although Im sure it is tough for a 6’7 kid to stay low. His pad level never hinders him however, as he is just more physical than anyone that lines up against him.
Technique: 13/20 Footwork: 18/20 Overall: 31/40
Swenson can be somewhat enigmatic here. On one play, Swenson will drive his man thirty yards down field and end up on top of him like Michael Oher in the Blind side. On the next play, Swenson will simply stand up and use his big frame to shield the defender against a play to his side. Swenson’s biggest strength (aside from his size) is his ability to get to the second level. Watching film, I actually picked up on their blocking scheme for what I believe are their Iso plays. Swenson will get an inside release on the man lined up across from him, and go get a line backer, leaving his man for the full back to pick up (Iso plays are generally blocked the opposite way). Swenson’s pad level,base and hand placement are all top notch. Swenson preys on smaller linebackers, racking up pancake after pancake block. When engaged, Swenson will either punish the man he is blocking, or show a bit of laziness and use his size and size only to win the battle.
Swenson is exceptionally athletic for his height and weight. While he is not spectacularly fast or mobile, he is certainly above average. He showcases his mobility on screen plays, where he releases and blocks a DB in open space. Swenson also routinely blocks smaller and quicker linebackers in open space.
Swenson feeds off of mauling everyone he faces. Where he loses a point here is the occasional play off. According to his film, he averages seventeen pancakes a game, and that I believe. Once he gets his hands on you, Its over.
Swenson is all of 6’7 and 285, and not even out of high school yet. You cannot ask for much more out of a tackle.
Swenson does a lot of things very well and only a small handful of things poorly. The strengths of his game are his ability to get to the second level, and to finish blocks, which he is often in great position for due to his great footwork. Swenson’s weaknesses are the occasional play he takes off, his center of gravity during pass pro and his post step. Swenson has an entire year to polish these areas of his game, and I have no doubt that he’ll do so. With all of the offensive line talent that the Wolverines currently have on their roster in addition to the talent being brought in, there are no playing time guarantees’. At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Swenson redshirted and primed to take the field as a RS freshman or sophomore. While not elite, Swenson is most definitely an above average high school lineman, and with a little polishing of his game, we can expect big things from Swenson.