With the 2015 Michigan football season about to officially kick off on Friday as fall camp gets underway. So, what else is there to do but make some bold predictions before the players hit the field, film room and position groups.
Here are five predictions that are not only bold, but possible for Team 136 heading into camp:
1. Morris takes #1 reps on Day One
– While the world expects Iowa transfer Jake Rudock to be named starting quarterback at the start of the season but Jim Harbaugh made it clear after spring ball that junior Shane Morris was the top guy. And I fully believe he’ll get the first team reps right off the bat because of that. If JH doesn’t, it will look bad to the rest of the team that a player that has yet to perform in front of the staff, in Rudock, gets the #1 reps right off the bat.
It’s a competition, so let the best man win.
But first, give the benefit of the doubt to the returning player.
2. Big Time Shake up on the Offensive Line
– Throughout spring ball, Drevno and the rest of the offensive staff played around with the raw talent they have on the roster. That included Mason Cole moving between left tackle and center while Graham Glasgow was serving his suspension while Ben Braden moved between right tackle and left guard. Expect that experimenting to continue in fall camp to see which group is the best.
So, what will the offensive line look like at the end of camp? My prediction:
1st Team (2nd team)
- LT: Erik Magnuson (Logan Tuley-Tillman)
- LG: David Dawson (Erik Magnuson)
- C: Mason Cole (Graham Glasgow)
- RG: Kyle Kalis (David Dawson)
- RT: Graham Glasgow (Ben Braden)
3. Durkin Changes up the Base Defense
When Harbaugh brought on DJ Durkin to run his defense, Michigan fans were ready to for a more aggressive, versatile and “attacking” defense. The main positions that everyone was waiting to see was the Buck linebacker and whatever position Jabrill Peppers will play, which is why I believe Durkin will end up going with the 4-2-5 as his base defense.
While there is talent all over the defensive depth chart, the top position group is the secondary and the biggest game changer, Peppers, is there as well. That is why fielding five DBs at a time makes the most sense.
There will be tons of interchangeable parts, but here is what I’m predicting as the starting base defense for Team 136 when camp ends:
- DE: Maurice Hurst
- NT: Bryan Mone
- DT: Willie Henry
- DE/OLB: Mario Ojemudia
- SAM/MIKE: Joe Bolden
- WILL: Ben Gedeon
- CB: Jourdan Lewis
- WS: Jabrill Peppers
- FS: Delano Hill
- SS: Jarrod Wilson
- CB: Wayne Lyons
4. Freshmen Win Both Returner Jobs
This may be one of the more BOLD predictions but with Dennis Norfleet moving on, there are a ton of questions surrounding who will be the return men for Team 136. While I believe Peppers will see his fair share of touches in punt and kick returns, the chances of an injury shoot through the roof if he’s the starter at either spot.
There aren’t too many other non-starters that look like game breakers so I believe the staff could go with two incoming true freshmen to handle those duties in RB Karan Higdon and WR Grant Perry.
Higdon is a shifty running back that has the speed needed to be a nice return man, if not the #1 change of pace option for Drevno at RB. As for Perry, he is a sure handed, quicker than fast receiver that reminds me of former Wolverines star Jeremy Gallon a bit. If both can show off their skills and ball security in camp, I believe Baxter and Harbaugh could give them plenty of opportunities during the season.
5. Youth Wins Out at Wide Receiver
Sticking with the youth movement, another position that has a ton of questions surrounding it is at wide receiver. While Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson are the safer, more experienced choices, the offense badly needs some game changers and they have a lot of young, unproven talent available.
That is why I’m predicting Harbaugh and Drevno to insert three underclassman into the line up right away in freshmen Brian Cole and sophomores Freddy Canteen Moe Ways and Drake Harris.
Three of the four are local products and have seen a lot of hype early on in their careers. Cole was a name to watch during the spring practices, Canteen was last fall camp’s most talked about receiver, Ways has flashed signs of big play ability, while Harris, who may be the most talented, is coming off of a two year hamstring issue. But will they be able to win out in camp? If all four stay healthy, I believe they will fill out the majority of the two-deep with Darboh and Chesson.