Central Michigan Game Prediction

Finally the incredibly long off season is over, and Team 134 is ready to take the field. While many have been saying the 2014 season will be the one where Brady Hoke has a full compliment of "his" players and will finally be removed from the speed bump known as the Rich Rod era, this team should hardly be discounted. Devin Gardner - 11

There has been a continual building of talent since Brady took over in January 2011. With only 15 seniors, the talent on this team is obviously young but it’s top notch.

While Michigan is replacing 3 OL, with all due respect to Team 133, it will be an upgrade, at least at some point in the season. Jack Miller, Graham Glasglow and Kyle Kalis, look to bolster subpar line play, and bookend tackles Lewan and Schofield might just be the best tandem in the country.

The stable of running backs harken back to the days of Bo stomping the sidelines, with several potential great backs toting the leather this fall. Fitz Touissant will be the first, and if OC AL Borges has his way, will carry the lion share of the load. Drake Johnson, fresh off his redshirt, comes in after impressive bowl practices and spring camp, looking for carries, as do true freshman Derrick Green and Deveon Smith, both among the nations top tailbacks.

Jeremy Gallon has grown into QB Devin Gardner’s favorite target, and with the fall camp injury to likely #2 Amara Darboh, there are some questions as to who will step up. I believe RS Freshman Jehu Chesson will be that guy . He has the talent, but is still somewhat raw. Speed is one of his strengths however, so stretching the field at 6’3 is a good thing.

While QB is a position of strength for Team 134, depth isn’t there. Many close to the program have raved about Devin Gardner’s ability to make plays. He has great talent, but still only has 5 career starts under his belt. Shane Morris coming in as a true freshman has obvious 5* talent, but needs to learn the offense, and hasn’t played much in a year since missing a large part of his senior year of HS with mono.

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2013 Offensive Depth Chart Preview

With the 2012 season wrapping up this weekend, it’s time to take a way too early look at the 2013 projected depth chart for the Wolverines with some analysis. Note: The only iDevin Gardner - UMGoBlue.comncoming freshmen that I will include in the depth chart are Shane Morris and Jake Butt.

QB: 1. Devin Gardner – Senior

2. Shane Morris – Freshman

3. Russell Bellomy – RS Sophomore

Analysis: Gardner returns for his fourth season as a Wolverine after starting the second half of 2012 at the QB spot following Denard Robinson’s injury. Gardner’s skill set opens up a more vertical passing game that the Wolverines became accustomed to with Robinson at the helm. Gardner has also shown the ability to make teams pay with his feet and should be the future of the position if he is granted a fifth season, something Coach Brady Hoke seems optimistic about. Shane Morris will be the second best quarterback on the roster talent wise, but don’t expect to see him in mop-up duty– that role will fall on Bellomy’s shoulders. However, should Gardner get hurt, expect to see Morris step in as the starter, ready or not.

RB: 1. Fitzgerald Toussaint – RS Senior

2. Thomas Rawls – Junior

3. Justice Hayes – RS Sophomore

4. Dennis Norfleet – Sophomore

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Top 5 Fall Position Battles

Left-Guard

ContendersElliott Mealer

SR. Elliott Mealer

RS. Soph. Joey Burzynski

FR. Kyle Kalis 

Micheal Schofield’s move to right tackle left a giant hole at LG. The good news is that whoever fills the position will be teamed with Michigan’s best offensive lineman Taylor Lewan. The bad news, the coaches are choosing between a career backup, a walk-on, and a true freshman. Elliott Mealer has the most experience of the 3, but was exclusively regulated to mop up duty. Joey Burzynski received a ton of praise from the coaches in the spring, and was actually the starter at LG for the spring game. Kyle Kalis is by far the most talented of the bunch, but he’s a true freshman whose head will probably be spinning for much of camp.

Split End, Wide-Receiver

Contenders

RS. Soph Jerald Robinson 

JR. Jeremy Jackson 

JR. Ricardo Miller 

FR. Amara Darboh 

FR. Jehu Chesson 

This spot would have surely been filled by Darryl Stonum had he not been dismissed from the team. The battle for who lines up across from Roy Roundtree will be one of the most hottest contested position battles in camp. Robinson was the talk of the spring but has done very little in his career at Michigan. The same is true of Jeremy Jackson and Ricardo Miller, who both entered Michigan with a lot of hype. Both of the true freshmen WRs should redshirt, but Michigan simply does not have enough depth to allow it.

Running Back

Contenders

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Impressions from Rivals 5-Star Camp

My initial thoughts and impressions after watching extensive video from the Rivals 5-Star Challenge Camp:

David Dawson – kid is going to be a good one. Very, very good. He is quick with very, very good feet. He still needs to get stronger David Dawson, Freepas guys were successful bull rushing him. However he looked great.

Chris Fox – he is opposite of Dawson. Very strong at the point of the attack but not very athletic. He let guys get around him to easily. However, likely #1 overall player in the 2014 class DeShawn Hand tried to bull rush Fox…didn’t work. Fox stood him up and it was game over. Fox is starting to look more and more like a guard IMO, allowing Kyle Kalis or Kyle Bosch to slide outside in a few years. BTW, Dawson is a sure fire guard with the ability to play center.

What I have seen on Jourdan Lewis …first of all, if you’re running 1 on 1’s with WR/CB’s, play tight man to man, don’t make the corner give a 10 yards. However, his back pedal is QUICK and SMOOTH. He has great hips and closing speed. He has Cissoko’s feet and T-Rich’s acceleration. This kid is going to be a good one. However, he does need to put on some weight.

Mike McCray – heard he checked in at 6’1", so not as tall as expected. He is a bigger linebacker so people thought his coverage skills would lack, however he did well in 1 on 1’s. Again, this is a VERY unfair drill, but he held his own and actually showed some nice fluid hips. Not a ton of film out there from this event on him. He could probably use a year to lean up as it looked like he may have had 10-15 pounds of bad weight on him.

Malik McDowell – He has work to do in the weight room. His bull rush is completely non-effective. However, he does understand how to use his hands. He also had a pretty nice spin move but relies on it too much. He really, really needs to get in the weight room and turn his 6’6" frame into something scary. He has all of the athletic talent in the world, just needs to add the strength. 5 star kid? Not yet IMO

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Masters of the Blitzkrieg, Losers of the War

Around midnight last night, full-on delirium took hold of me as I tried to process the day’s events. In succession, Michigan lost to Ohio in basketball, Michigan’s last hope for laArmani Reevesnding a #1 CB chose the rival Buckeyes, and a key interior line prospect committed to Iowa over the Wolverines. Taken in isolation, none of these events were surprising and certainly not cause for the comatose state in which I found myself at the end of the night. The #4 Buckeyes were heavy favorites to beat John Beilein’s Wolverines. CB Armani Reeves was known to favor the Buckeyes. Finally, linemen Alex Kozan was expected by many to pick the Hawkeyes. The hallucinations and bouts of sorrow that gripped me were not induced by shock or surprise. Instead it was a cocktail of despair and frustration over the events taken in unison, and the bewilderment over how we found ourselves in this position that left me catatonic. On Wednesday, Michigan will officially welcome one of the best overall recruiting classes in a decade and the first full class under Brady Hoke. Despite that, a feeling of disappointment remains in the pit of the stomachs of those who follow recruiting on a regular basis. Despite a fast start to the recruiting year and securing a very good class overall, Michigan will finish out the recruiting season with one its weakest finishes in recent memory.

Much has been made over the imposition of the new and more rigorous academic standards that have been put in place regarding who Michigan can and cannot add to the recruiting class. Michigan has been forced to turn away risky academic cases and has purposely shied away from recruiting kids who have no chance at qualifying as a result of the new standards. This approach has inevitably had an impact on the quality of the class as a whole.

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