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!