The upcoming 2018 season is a big one for the Wolverines. This is the best team Harbaugh’s had at Michigan thanks to the success on the recruiting trail and the addition of Shea Patterson to the quarterback position via transfer. While Patterson’s addition is obviously huge, it’ll be the performance of the young, up and comers. Michigan will need them to step up to have a big season.
Check out my predictions for the five breakout candidates for the 2018 Michigan football team:
1. Junior DT Michael Dwumfour
This is one of the easiest picks. Dwumfour has been getting a ton of praise during bowl practice and throughout the off-season. Heading into this past season, he was best known for being Rashan Gary’s best friend and fellow 2016 Michigan signee. But now that Mo Hurst is gone, the opening is there and Dwumfour looks set to lock it up. He’s another quick, violent, stout tackle that makes plays in the backfield. Look for him to pair very nicely alongside Aubrey Solomon and should get plenty of opportunities with Gary and Chase Winovich coming off the edge.
2. Junior TE Nick Eubanks
Another junior/redshirt sophomore that I’m high on and believe will become a big-play target for the revived Michigan offense is Eubanks. He flashed his big play potential in the 2017 opener against Florida but was injured early in the year and finished the season with just two games played. But he’s back for his third year in Ann Arbor and though Michigan has a very nice tight end duo in Sean McKeon and Zach Gentry, Eubanks adds a different dynamic to the position group with his blend of size and speed. He’s a mismatch nightmare for linebackers and defensive backs that Pep Hamilton can utilize and Shea Patterson can rely on.
3. Sophomore DE Kwity Paye
Paye is another defensive lineman that will get the opportunity to make a splash this season. The starting ends are set but behind Gary and Winovich, it’s up or grabs. Paye is a guy who flashed in limited time last season and has received plenty of love during the offseason. His raw athleticism and speed off the edge should make him a scary pass rush specialist for Don Brown.
4. Junior OLB Josh Uche
Uche is a player I believe could take a huge step forward this season and become a main part of the defense moving forward. He stood out during his limited playing time in 2017. He looks to have finally hit the needed size to be a full-time contributor and I believe that he will land the starting SAM linebacker spot over Noah Furbush. His speed and versatility should compliment fellow Florida linebackers Devin Bush and Devin Gil very well.
5. Sophomore WR Oliver Martin
One camp battle that isn’t getting a ton of publicity is at slot receiver. Grant Perry returns but took a big step back during his controversial junior season. So the opening is there. Martin was a favorite recruiting win and a player that looked like he could be a playmaker for Michigan once he got used to the college game. It’ll be a battle with the senior in Perry but I believe Martin’s route running ability and sure hands will win out. He’s a guy that could catch a ton of rocks in the hybrid RPO offense.
Other Names to Watch:
- Freshmen QB Joe Milton
- Sophomore DT Aubrey Solomon
- Freshmen DE Aidan Hutchinson
- Sophomore OT James Hudson
- Sophomore WR Nico Collins
- Sophomore LB Josh Ross
- Freshmen RB Christian Turner
- Sophomore S Brad Hawkins
- Freshmen RB Hassan Haskins
- Sophomore DE Luiji Vilain
- Sophomore S J’Marick Woods.
There are plenty of options on the roster this year. Who do you think will “breakout” during the 2018 Michigan football season? Let us know in the comment section below!
Photo Credit: Chris Cook/MGoBlog
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