Freshmen Most Likely to Impact Michigan’s 2013 Season

#1. Dymonte Thomas DB

Unlike the others on this list, Thomas is the only player that already has a starting position locked down. An early enrollee, Thomas was able to secure the nickel back role during the spring and was one of the most impressive players during the spring period. Thomas has played safety for much of his career but is simply too talented for the coaches to keep Dymonte Thomas - Rivalsoff the field.

#2. Derrick Green RB

Green is the most highly touted of the group, widely regarded as the #1 high school RB in the country. Green is a sure to see the field this fall thanks to his unique blend of size, speed, and toughness. Green is also the prototype for the type of back the Michigan coaches want in the backfield and the most physically gifted runner on the roster. How much and how often Green plays will largely depend on how quickly he is able to pick up the intricacies of the offense and his willingness and ability to block. The Michigan coaches won’t risk the health of Devin Gardner by sending out a RB they don’t trust to protect the QB when needed.

#3. Jake Butt TE

Another early enrollee, Jake was able to get a jump on his fellow freshman by participating in winter workouts and spring practice. Like Devin Funchess, Jake is a natural pass catcher who is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. Michigan’s desire to use multiple TEs on the field at the same time will result in Jake seeing a fair amount of playing time this fall. As with Funchess a year ago however, Jake’s physical limitations as a blocker will keep him from seeing extending time in every situation.

#4. Shane Morris QB

Jake Butt - ISportsWebThe physical nature of the game of football combined with the dual-threat ability of Devin Gardner will eventually lead to Shane Morris seeing the field in some capacity. Whether it is for a series during a game or a series of games is yet to be seen but for better or worse, Shane Morris will have an impact on the 2013 Michigan football team in some way. From a purely physical standpoint, Morris is the most gifted thrower of the football that has seen Michigan roster is over a decade. Whenever it is he sees the field there are certain to be moments of brilliance combined with the typical freshman mistakes that Michigan fans experienced with freshman QBs like Chad Henne and Tate Forcier. Morris has been preparing to be the Michigan QB since childhood. At this point it is a question of when not if Morris has an impact on Michigan.

#5. Ross Douglas DB

A common theme with this list is the presence of early enrollees. Recruits who are able to enroll at Michigan early stand at a distinct advantage when it comes to seeing the field early and Ross is no exception. While a bit undersized, Ross flashed exceptional instincts in the spring and the lack of depth in the secondary gives him quite the opportunity to see the field. Ross will likely see most of his early playing time on special teams but an injury or poor performance from a player ahead of him on the depth chart could see him thrust into action sooner rather than later.

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My Introduction

I would like to start off by thanking Lance for the opportunity to write for UMGoBlog. My name is Matt Brinkman and I am senior Sports AdministratiPHILCALLIHANon student at the University of Cincinnati. As a life-long sports fan I have always followed sports, specifically college football, religiously. I have been a Michigan fan for as long as I can remember thanks to my godfather who was a former Michigan football season ticket holder. He made it his duty to pass his fandom on to me, and it easily stuck. Growing up in northwest Ohio it wasn’t always easy being a Michigan fan, but that has never slowed me down.

Everything about Michigan intrigues me, and I hope to someday work in Schembechler Hall in some capacity with the program. My top three Michigan memories have all happened recently. While I have always been a fan, I did not truly understand the dynamics of recruiting, the Xs and Os, and everything else involved in college football until about 2006. Because of that, my three favorite Michigan football memories include:

1. Watching Michigan beat Ohio in 2011. I have seen many victories against O$U since I have been a fan, but 2011 was definitely the most meaningful for me. It had been a long struggle being a Michigan fan in Ohio since 2003, and seeing that victory unfold is something I will never forget.

2. I had the opportunity to watch the Michigan vs. Notre Dame game in 2009 first hand. We had no business being competitive in that game, let alone winning it. I watched Tate Forcier part the seas with an incredible cut back from the opposite endzone and to make the victory even more enjoyable, I attended the game with a die-hard Notre Dame fan.

3. Denard Robinson’s performance against Notre Dame in 2010. Robinson single-handedly kept Michigan in that game, and that was the best individual performance I have witnessed a Michigan player have since Braylon Edwards’ performance vs. Michigan State. Robinson has quickly become my favorite Michigan player of all time, and I am excited to see his final season in the Maize and Blue.

I am enthusiastic about this new opportunity that lies ahead writing for this blog, and I hope you enjoy my work. GO BLUE!

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Purdue Game Preview

Coming off a thrilling triple overtime victory over Illinois, the Michigan Wolverines go on the road this week to take on the Purdue Boilermakers, who have lost three straight games.

This season, the Wolverines game plan has been to simply outscore their opponent and play no defense. They won last week by a score of 67-65 in which they gained 676 yards of total offense, while they allowed Illinois to gain a total of 561 yards. Last week, we saw some other players on the team step up their game besides Denard Robinson and it was especially needed after Robinson left the game early due to a minor concussion. Running back Michael Shaw ran for three touchdowns, while wide receivers Junior Hemingway and Roy Roundtree also had huge days. Hemingway had 104 yards receiving and two touchdowns, while Roundtree had 246 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Quarterback Tate Forcier also came in relief for Robinson and used his experience to lead the team to victory. However, on the other side of the ball, the defense continued it poor play like they have all season. Of the 561 yards they allowed on defense, 315 of those yards came on the ground. The defense came up big though on the last play of the game by stopping Illinois from converting on the two-point conversion.

Things should not be as difficult for the Wolverines defense this week as they take on the Boilermakers. Purdue’s offense has been horrible as of late, only scoring 23 points in their last three games. The Boilermakers pass offense averages only 137.3 yards a game (114th in the nation), but have they average 173.2 rushing yards a game (39th in the nation). True freshman quarterback, Sean Robinson is expected to get his second of the season this Saturday and he has not been anything special so far. In the backfield, running back Dan Dierking has carried the load, with 458 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the season. Despite how bad the Wolverines defense has been this season, I believe that after last week’s win, that they will have a decent showing against the Boilermakers offense.

On offense, the Wolverines should be able to dominate this week. Purdue has allowed at least 34 points in their last three games. The Boilermakers allow an average 361 yards of offense, with 218.2 yards coming through the air and 142.8 yards on the ground. The one player the Wolverines need to keep an eye is defensive lineman Ryan Kerrigan. Kerrigan is one of the nation’s top defensive linemen and has 7.5 sacks on the season. With Purdue’s defense playing so poorly as of late, it appears that this week could be another Denard show. I also expect some of the other stars from last week, such as Hemingway and Roundtree, to continue their success.

Bottom Line

Becoming bowl eligible for the first time in the Rich Rodriguez coaching era was huge for the Wolverines program. I expect that the Wolverines offense will be too powerful for Purdue’s defense, and that Michigan’s defense will have a better showing than they have this entire season because Purdue’s offense has been one of the nations worst as of late. A seven-win season should solidify Rodriguez’s head coaching job for next year.

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