As the 2016 Michigan football season is quickly approaching, fans are going to watch incoming freshman in game action for the first time. Michigan’s first recruiting class under Jim Harbaugh was something special, which included the number one overall recruit, Rashan Gary. They finished ranked the number fifth overall class in the nation, per the 24/7 sports composite rankings.
Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines are entering this season with high expectations and a great starting lineup with loads of returning talent. The questions are who will back up these starting players and how involved will we see the freshman class.
Michigan’s offence will look different this year with not only a new quarterback, but in the group of receivers and linemen.
Michigan Offensive Coordinator, Tim Drevno, is expected to play a run first attack with senior running back De’Veon Smith, sharing snaps with Drake Johnson, Ty Isaac and incoming freshman Kareem Walker.
The offensive line is coming back this season with four starting linemen. Mason Cole is moving from left tackle to centre, Ben Braden, Kyle Kalis and Erik Magnuson will keep their starting roles. Freshman Ben Bredeson, the second highest rated recruit behind Rashan Gary, will push and will take snaps at left tackle.
Michigan’s ariel attack is set with returning starters Jake Butt, Jehu Chesson and Amara Darboh. Sophomore, Grant Perry, will cycle throughout the rotation with Moe Ways and freshman Eddie McDoom, Nate Johnson and Chris Evans. The three freshman expected to be in the cycle of receivers are bringing amazing speed and footwork. Chris Evans is also expected to take snaps during special teams this season.
Last year Michigan’s solid defense was ranked in the top five of all major defensive categories. The addition of Don Brown from Boston College, may have been the best coaching hire in the offseason in the country. He is bringing a blitz style defense to the Wolverines to cause havoc for their opponents offense. Michigan struggled last year creating only 12 turnovers, while Don Browns defense at Boston College had 23.
Returning starter Chris Wormley had 14.5 tackles for loss in 2015, and Taco Charlton added 8.5. Ryan Glasgow was the leader at nose tackle and all are expected to put up even bigger numbers in 2016.
This season, Bryan Mone returns to the rotation after sitting out an entire season due to an ankle injury. Rashan Gary arrived in Ann Arbor this summer and is already impressing teammates with his size and athleticism.
The linebacker position is a big question this year. Ben Gedeon is the only returning player with notable experience. Jabrill Peppers is expected to play both linebacker and safety this year with the addition of freshman Devin Bush Jr.
I predict Michigan to finish this season with an 11-1 record.