When Jim Harbaugh and his staff took over the Michigan football program, they had a problem: Not enough open scholarships early on to quickly improve the talent level on the roster. So, their plan was to go after the top recruits as well as the top walk-ons by selling the University and not just the program.
And their sales pitch worked well at a position lacking depth more than any other: linebacker.
In 2015, the staff only had six linebackers with any real experience and five of them are in their final year. With only nine scholarship LBs on the roster and thirteen returning all together, the staff had to find themselves some underrated talent.
Meet Michigan’s freshmen walk-on linebackers:
#92 Cheyenn Robertson, 6’3” 220lbs. Union City, NJ (St. Peter’s Prep)
Robertson was one of the top players for New Jersey’s well known St. Peter’s Prep. He has good size and athleticism, and is able to make plays in both the run and pass game. He’s expected to play at the Buck position, which desperately needs depth.
#51 Tommy Whitted, 6’1” 225lbs. Winter Park, FL (Winter Park)
Whitted may not be the most athletic linebacker out there but he plays with that hard nosed, instinctive mentality that makes him a great fit in the middle of the defense. It wouldn’t shock me to see him possibly be moved to fullback/play both sides of the ball.
#27 Chris Terech, 6’2” 215lbs. Saline, MI (Saline)
Terech was one of the best players in the state of Michigan and helped lead Saline to their first state championship appearance in school history after shutting down Mike Weber and Cass Tech in the semi-finals. He is a hard nosed, leader of the defense, “coach on the field” type of a linebacker that was named 2014 DZone Defensive Player of the Year. He should make an impact on the field before he graduates.
#88 Jack Dunaway, 6’3” 212lbs. Bloomfield Hills, MI (Brother Rice)
The son of former Michigan tight end Craig Dunaway and the older brother of 2017 commit Carter, Jack is a talented prospect that features that motor, will and heart that every coach wants on their roster. It may take some time in the weight room but he has the ability to be a real contributor in his career.
#38 John Andrysiak, 6’1” 215lbs. Flint, MI (Flint Powers Catholic)
Andrysiak is the son of former Notre Dame quarterback Terry Andrysiak (’85-87) and a standout for FPC. Like most walk-ons, he’ll have to come in and develop to become a contributor moving forward. But the raw talents are there, he just needs more time in the weight room and with the coaches. He looks to be another player that could move to fullback and play both ways.
#56 Jameson Offerdahl, 6’2” 220lbs. Fort Lauderdale, FL (Cardinal Gibbons)
Offerdahl is the son of former Central Michigan and Miami Dolphins linebacker, John Offerdahl, and looks to be one of the most likely walk-ons to see the field during his career as a Wolverine. He has the size and instincts needed and plays with that toughness that Harbaugh seems to be looking for in his players.
Obviously, it will take a lot for any walk-on to really make an impact on game day but after looking at this linebacker crew, Michigan may have found themselves a couple diamonds in the rough.