Every year, there are at least a couple guys who burst onto the scene for the Wolverines. In 2012, it was Devin Funchess and Devin Gardner. In 2013, Jake Butt and Ben Gedeon are two players that have Michigan fans very excited.
So, who will it be for Team 135? Here are our top 10 candidates:
1. LB Royce Jenkins-Stone, Junior
– The junior linebacker was highly recruited out of high school but hasn\’t seen too much of the field outside of special teams. The reason: it took him some time to learn the defense. Thanks to his natural size, skill and athleticism, and now his knowledge of the playbook, it looks like RJS is ready to become a playmaking, hard nosed linebacker that will thrive behind a much improved defensive line.
2. CB Jourdan Lewis, Sophomore
– The breakout star of the Spring Game, Lewis is a very talented cover corner that uses him athleticism and smarts to lock up his guy. He saw time freshmen year but, like most freshmen, he had a couple mental mistakes. From his performance throughout the spring, it looks like he is ready to steal a starting position and help turn the Team 135 defense into one of the best in the B1G.
3. S Jarrod Wilson, Junior
– Past dominant Michigan defenses all had one thing in common: great safeties. And thanks to Wilson, I think Team 135\’s defense will be the best since the days of Lloyd Carr. The junior safety has grown a lot since hitting campus, and with the time to learn the calls, I believe he is not only going to be an impact player but an All-B1G performer.
4. OG Kyle Kalis, RS Sophomore
– One of the most anticipated freshmen arrivals of the Hoke era, Kalis was a dominant offensive lineman in high school but had some growing pains after redshirting his first year on campus. He played most of 2013 but was in and out of the lineup. That should change this season as he has taken on a leadership role among the lineman and will be looked upon as both a road grader and pass blocker.
5. TB Wyatt Shallman, RS Freshmen
– One position Michigan fans have been waiting to see since Hoke hit Ann Arbor was the halfback. The toughest guy on the field who not only does the dirty work but can also be effective as a playmaker. That is why everyone was so excited with Wyatt Shallman\’s commitment in 2013. He is the perfect fit thanks to his ability to block, carry the rock and receive. And with Nussmeier running the show, expect to see plenty of Shallman.
6. WR Freddy Canteen, Freshmen
– There may not have been a player that excited coaches more than early enrollee Freddy Canteen. He has great hands, elite quickness and can run some of the crispest routes I have ever seen from a freshmen. Add in the need for a playmaker across from Devin Funchess and I believe Canteen will be a household name by the end of the season.
7. DB Jabrill Peppers, Freshmen
– Peppers is seen by some as the savior of Michigan football. That is a bit much for a freshmen, but if there were a kid to do it, I believe the #2 overall recruit in 2014 would be that guy. He has elite size, athleticism, speed, playmaking ability and that \”it\” factor that superstars contain. With his ability to make plays on defense, offense and on special teams, I believe there will be multiple \”wow\” moments for the Wolverine faithful in 2014.
8. DL Taco Charlton, Sophomore
– When looking at the players on the team, there may not be a more physically impressive player as Taco Charlton. He\’s 6\’6\’\’ 275lbs and has elite athleticism. Add in a year of experience and I think Charlton not only grabs the starting strong side defensive end spot but he will become a talking point for B1G defensive coordinators and quarterbacks.
9. WR DaMario Jones, Sophomore
– A bit of a wild card here. Jones was very impressive in high school and I think a year in a college weight room will help him see the field on both offense and special teams. He is a player that could land in the two-deep out of camp and make some big plays in the passing game.
10. DL Henry Poggi, RS Freshmen
– One of the biggest named recruits for Hoke, Poggi is a surprisingly athletic lineman that has the size and aggressiveness to play the 5 or 3 technique. He still needs to put on some size to be a full time contributor but I believe he will make an impact when he does get on the field in 2014. This year could be the breakout to a big time career in the Maize and Blue.