For the 3rd time in 7 years, the Michigan football program is looking for a new head coach. Since Lloyd Carr retired, the program has fallen off drastically which means this next hire should be a big named, money, home run hire that rejuvenates the fan base and brings Michigan back to the top, like normal. But who will that man be? Who ever that man is (I\’m hoping for Harbaugh or Miles) will have a very, very talented roster to work with. Check out what each position is returning:
– The position that will be up for grabs more than, probably, any other. Gardner is out and most believe Morris is the heir apparent but in his one start he did not show very much. However, the talent is there. He just needs to continue to learn and grow under a good coaching staff. But Morris will have to watch Speight and Malzone very closely, especially during the spring.
- #7 Shane Morris, Junior
- #19 Wilton Speight, RS Freshmen
- #12 Alex Malzone, Freshmen
- #8 Russell Bellomy, RS Senior
– Probably the most loaded position on the roster. Michigan returns last season\’s top rusher (De\’veon Smith: 536 yards), it\’s original starter returning from injury (Derrick Green: 488yards), it\’s late season breakout star (Drake Johnson: 368 yards) and last season\’s transfer and, possibly, the most talented back on the roster (Ty Isaac). Don\’t forget scat back spark plugs and return men in Dennis Norfleet and Hayes.
- #32 Ty Isaac, RS Sophomore
- #27 Derrick Green, Junior
- #20 Drake Johnson, RS Junior
- #4 DeVeon Smith, Junior
- #5 Justice Hayes, RS Senior
- #23 Dennis Norfleet, Senior
– Another talented position, the senior leadership, experience and versatility should give the coaching staff a real weapon in both the rushing and passing game.
- #36 Joe Kerridge, RS Senior
- #39 Sione Houma, Senior
- #33 Wyatt Shallman, RS Sophomore
– The talent level here relies on Funchess\’ decision. He could possibly go pro, though his play this past season likely dropped him down draft boards. I expect him to return to Michigan for his senior year and leave a mark on the program. As for the rest, it is a talented but unproven group. Darboh, Canteen and Chesson have flashed signs of legitimacy. The young guys behind them, like Ways and Harris, should get a better shot at playing time after a year in the weight program. Also look out for incoming freshmen Brian Cole. He could see time as a slot receiver and return man.
- #1 Devin Funchess, Senior
- #82 Amara Darboh, RS Junior
- #17 Freddy Canteen, Sophomore
- #86 Jehu Chesson, RS Junior
- #85 Moe Ways, RS Freshmen
- #14 Drake Harris, RS Freshmen
- #10 DaMario Jones, Junior
- #83 Jaron Dukes, RS Sophomore
- #3 Bo Dever, RS Junior
- Brian Cole, Freshmen
– Michigan will likely hire another pro style coach so expect this position to get a lot of love in the new offense. Butt is the legit pass catching threat while Hill showed a lot of promise before going out with an injury. As for old school blockers, Williams and Heitzman should be back. Don\’t sleep on the development of Ian Bunting coming off a red-shirt.
- #88 Jake Butt, Junior
- #80 Khalid Hill, RS Sophomore
- #84 AJ Williams, Senior
- #92 Keith Heitzman, RS Senior
- #94 Ian Bunting, RS Freshmen
– The position group that will be looked at the closest by fans and the staff has a ton of young, talented and experienced lineman that just need more from their coaches to take that next step and become a dominant, old school Michigan line. They return everyone from 2014: Cole looks like a future star, Glasgow is solid and versatile, Miller has experience and leadership while Kalis and Braden need more coaching but look to have bright futures. Don\’t sleep on the rest of the depth chart, especially Dawson, Kugler, Magnuson and Bosch.
- #52 Mason Cole, Sophomore
- #61 Graham Glasgow, RS Senior
- #60 Jack Miller, RS Senior
- #67 Kyle Kalis, RS Junior
- #71 Ben Braden, RS Junior
- #78 Erik Magnuson, RS Junior
- #55 David Dawson, RS Sophomore
- #57 Patrick Kugler, RS Sophomore
- #65 Kyle Bosch, RS Sophomore
- #73 Chris Fox, RS Junior
- #72 Logan Tuley-Tillman, RS Sophomore
- #74 Dan Samuelson, RS Sophomore
- #63 Ben Pliska, RS Senior
- #76 Juwann Bushell-Beatty, RS Freshmen
- Grant Newsome, Freshmen
- Jon Runyan Jr, Freshmen
– A position that should continue to improve. In Charlton and Ojemudia, the new staff will have elite sized defensive ends with great athleticism, they just need some more coaching to stay consistent. Behind those two, Godin has proven to be a very good role player that can play all over the line. Look out for Poggi, Strobel and Marshall to continue to grow and become solid depth players at the very least.
- #33 Taco Charlton, Junior
- #53 Mario Ojemudia, Senior
- #99 Matt Godin, RS Junior
- #7 Henry Poggi, RS Sophomore
- #93 Lawrence Marshall, RS Freshmen
- #50 Tom Strobel, RS Junior
– The interior of the defensive line should be set for the next couple years thanks to the depth and high level of talent. Henry, Glasgow and Wormley were stand outs in 2014 while Mone, Hurst and Pipkins have flashed a whole lot. This may be the most talented position on the defensive side of the ball.
- #69 Willie Henry, RS Junior
- #96 Ryan Glasgow, RS Junior
- #43 Chris Wormley, RS Junior
- #90 Bryan Mone, Sophomore
- #73 Maurice Hurst, RS Sophomore
- #56 Ondre Pipkins, Senior
- #54 Brady Pallente, RS Freshmen
– Bolden may be the most talented player on defense for Michigan in 2015. He flashes All-American level talent and should put it all together in his senior year as the #1 MIKE backer with senior leader and solid depth guy Desmond Morgan returning from injury behind him. The other upper class men, Ross, RJS and Gedeon have the talent to become All-B1G members with more coaching and experience with the ones. Look out for McCray, Winovich and Ferns to become impact depth players too.
- #35 Joe Bolden, Senior
- #48 Desmond Morgan, RS Senior
- #15 James Ross III, Senior
- #52 Royce Jenkins-Stone, Senior
- #42 Ben Gedeon, Junior
- #9 Mike McCray, RS Sophomore
- #58 Chase Winovich, RS Freshmen
- #12 Allen Gant, RS Junior
- #51 Michael Ferns, RS Freshmen
- #59 Noah Furbush, RS Freshmen
- #19 Jared Wangler, RS Freshmen
– Hey look, another very talented position group for the staff. Lewis had a breakout 2014 and became a lock-down corner with a very bright future. Lining up across from him should be former #1 recruit Jabrill Peppers who will be back from injury. In terms of depth, Countess had a rough 2014 but is a talented player. Stribling has experience but needs more coaching, while Richardson and Watson should see time in the nickel thanks to time in the weight room.
- #26 Jourdan Lewis, Junior
- #5 Jabrill Peppers, RS Freshmen
- #2 Blake Countess, RS Senior
- #8 Channing Stribling, Junior
- #13 Terry Richardson, RS Junior
- #28 Brandon Watson, RS Freshmen
- #30 Reon Dawson, RS Sophomore
– Wilson shows flashes but could use a consistent partner in crime. All three juniors have had their shot at winning the strong safety position with Thomas ending the season as the starter. He has the natural talent, while Clark has the size and Hill is a mixture of both. Don\’t sleep on freshmen Kinnel to be a very good player in the future.
- #22 Jarrod Wilson, Senior
- #25 Dymonte Thomas, Junior
- #44 Delano Hill, Junior
- #34 Jeremy Clark, RS Junior
- Tyree Kinnel, Freshmen
– Besides quarterback, the kicking game is the biggest question mark on the team with kicker Matt Wile and punter Will Hagerup graduating. David is one of the top kicking recruits in 2015 and should come in and take over the kicking duties and challenge Allen for punting duties. As for the return game, Norfleet is a stud and Peppers showed in high school he\’s a game breaker when returning punts.
- Andrew David, Freshmen (Kicker)
- #91 Kenny Allen, RS Junior (Punter/Holder)
- #43 Scott Sypniewski, RS Sophomore (Long Snapper)
- #23 Dennis Norfleet, Senior (KR/PR)
- #5 Jabrill Peppers, RS Freshmen (PR)
So, if the staff can figure out the quarterback position, there\’s a good chance Michigan could win 9+ games in 2015, especially if the head coach is a certain NFL coach and former Wolverine quarterback.