With the 2017 Michigan Wolverines football season here and the opening kick off against Florida just a couple weeks away, it’s time to start getting into preseason predictions. And to kick it off, I’ll break down my top five offensive breakout candidates for this fall.
But it was far from easy.
Thanks to the loss of the top two wide receivers, the top tight end and most of the starters on the offensive line, there are so many options as players that will take the next step this season. Because of that, I decided to choose one player from every position group outside of quarterback, as Peters is just too obvious of an option.
Check out my top five candidates to breakout on offensive for the 2017 Michigan football team:
RB Karan Higdon
While everyone is excited to see what Chris Evans will do after his breakout freshmen season, but it’s Higdon who I believe will breakout this fall. He’s flashed his mix of speed and quickness in his first two seasons in Ann Arbor. With a young receiving core and potentially improved offensive line, the junior looks poised to have a big season and become more than just a contributor to the Wolverines offense.
Speaking of the young receiving core, Michigan will be replacing its top two wide receivers from last season. And Crawford is the guy who I believe will become the new go-to guy for UM’s offense. He showed off blocking skills as a freshmen but, as the expected #1 receiver, I expect him to have a very nice sophomore season. He should have plenty of opportunities to show off his reliable hands and big play ability throughout the year.
TE Sean McKeon
At the tight end spot, every scholarship tight end outside of Ian Bunting is a candidate to breakout this fall. However, it’s McKeon who may be the guy who fills that Jake Butt-like safety valve role for Wilton Speight. According to The Wolverine’s Chris Balas, McKeon has been a standout early on in camp ($). Look for McKeon to see plenty of playing time early on in the season as the staff looks to find their go-to guys before conference play kicks off.
Another position that will be replacing several starters on offense is, arguably, the most important. And that’s the offensive line. Michigan returns the versatile anchor in Mason Cole, who can play any position on the line but looks set to play left tackle, as well as freshmen All-American left guard Ben Bredeson. Besides that, there will be new starters. And one that looks like it may be locked up is the right guard position as former Cass Tech standout Michael Onwenu. The huge lineman flashed his potential as a freshmen and should take the next step into a dominant run blocking guard this fall with consistent playing time.
The kicking position may technically be special teams but with the kicker’s ability to put points on the board, I’m putting it on offense. And it wasn’t a hard choice with Nordin as the sophomore kicker reminded everyone why he was the #1 kicking recruit by crushing a 48-yard field goal in the spring game that looked like it would’ve been good from 60+. With the departure of Kenny Allen to the league, Nordin should have plenty of opportunities to show off his leg strength throughout the year.
There are plenty of other options to breakout this season for Michigan, including the likes of WR Tarik Black, WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR Nico Collins, WR/TE Zach Gentry, TE TJ Wheatley and RB O’Maury Samuels.
So, who do you think will breakout this season for the Wolverines? Let us know in the comment section below!
Photo Credit: Patrick Barron/MGoBlog
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