Hi folks! In this week’s article on Michigan football we will be tackling key issues such as the departure of three Wolverines from the program, recruiting developments, as well as the next positional unit projection for the 2014 season. So without further ado, let’s get to it!
Thomas Rawls, Josh Furman, and Richard Ash have decided to leave the program. While there had been quite a bit of speculation on Rawls leaving for quite some time, none of these decisions come as that much of a shock. None of these players had made much of an impact during their time in Ann Arbor, but needless to say their contributions to the team is much appreciated and I think I can speak for all of Wolverine Nation when I wish them luck! If you’re wondering where these players may be heading, it looks like Rawls is heading to CMU, but nothing definitive has been said about the other two as of yet.
So what does this mean for the team? Well the biggest thing is that it opens up three scholarships that can now be offered to incoming players. Now, don’t assume that these three departures allows three more players to commit to this recruiting class, because that’s not the case. Almost always a coaching staff will anticipate a certain number of departures via transfer and plan accordingly ahead of time.
Well, it’s looking like it could be Malik McDowell or bust to close out the 2014 recruiting class. Mr. McDowell tweeted recently that his final four consists of Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Florida State. He had also set his last official visit, and he will be taking it to Ohio State. While I agree that this is not good news for the Wolverines, McDowell has been to Michigan numerous times and knows exactly what he would be getting in Ann Arbor. That being said, I would be a little surprised if he chose the Wolverines in the end. One thing to remember, however, is that his mom loves Michigan, and it has been said all along that McDowell’s decision will be a family decision. If there is one thing I have learned in my time following recruiting, it’s that you should never say never.
Team 135-Wide Receivers
Well, to first break down the receivers that we will see next year, we first must talk about the ones we won’t see next year. Team 134’s leading receiver, Jeremy Gallon is graduating. Drew Dileo is also graduating, along with Jeremy Jackson and Joe Reynolds. While not every one of these players had huge impacts during their time with Michigan, any time you lose senior leadership it’s going to be important that the guys coming up step into that vacant leadership role.
So who might we see step up and become a leader of this unit next year? It’s actually kind of hard to say. Jehu Chesson is the only true receiver that is still on the roster who had meaningful snaps played last season, but we can probably count Devin Funchess as a receiver at this point. He is split out wide enough to where it’s hard to make a distinction. Regardless, these two will really need to mentor some of the younger players. For as much time as Jake Butt saw last season, he will also have the chance to be a leader, even as a sophomore. All three of these players will be asked to make plays early and often next season, especially as the younger talent develops. The good news is, each of these guys has the potential to have a very good season next year.
Who are the younger guys that could make a splash next season? Well let’s start with some guys that you might already know. It’ll be interesting to see how Dennis Norfleet fits into the equation next year. He didn’t see many meaningful snaps on offense this past season, but with his speed and shiftiness it would be nice to see him find a niche on offense next year. The one guy who was
supposed to break out last season was Amara Darboh, but a foot injury cost him the season before it even began. We all heard rave reviews coming out of practice about Darboh, so assuming he can come back at 100%, he may be a key contributor for the Wolverines next fall.
Csont’e York, Da’Mario Jones, and Jaron Dukes were all freshmen last year. Da’Mario Jones saw some time on special teams, but none of these guys really saw the field on offense. With a full year under the belts in the program, I would imagine that at least one of these guys would emerge at receiver and see time in the fall. My pick out of this group is Jones. He has the speed and athleticism to be a big play type of receiver.
Freddy Canteen, Maurice Ways, and Drake Harris make up the incoming freshmen group of receivers. While Harris is the one that headlines this class of wideouts, I believe that Canteen is the one who is most likely to be ready by the fall. If Harris can put on some much needed weight however, he could also be ready to play by the start of the season. This is a talented group of receivers, and going forward I believe each one could be a solid college player. Ian Bunting comes in at tight end. Bunting has a long, athletic body that fits the kind of mold that Michigan has been going for recently. With Funchess and Butt already established as great players, Bunting will most likely redshirt.
Of course, we will all find out together which receivers step up and become the next big time player for the Wolverines. With the losses of the senior class, there will be a lot of opportunities for young players to make a name for themselves. I’m excited to see how this unit develops in the offseason!