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Michigan Football: Big Blue Stars Ready for Breakout Seasons in 2012

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Michigan Football: Big Blue Stars Ready for Breakout Seasons in 2012
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Michigan Wolverines enter the 2012 college football season as the No. 8-ranked team in the country, and are primed for a Big Ten Championship and BCS bowl game appearance.

With a proven coach in Brady Hoke, supreme talent under center, on the outside and on the defensive side of the ball, Michigan will give Big Blue fans plenty reasons to be excited this fall.

Here we break down a handful of stars ready to breakout for the Wolverines in 2012.

 

Denard Robinson

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Heisman Trophy candidate will return in 2012 as a senior, hoping to not only to throw for 2,000-plus yards and rush for another 1,000-plus yards for the third consecutive season, but to also lead the Wolverines to a National Championship.

The key for the senior signal-caller and Michigan as a team will be cutting down on the turnovers in 2012. Robinson threw 15 picks in 2011 and 11 in 2010. If he can keep the interception count below 10 this season, Michigan will be set for success.

Of course, what makes Robinson so difficult to defend is his ability to get outside of the pocket and run with the football. He has amassed more than 3,000 career rushing yards at Michigan and will add to that total this season. Robinson scored 16 touchdowns on the ground last season and will score at least 10 more this year if he continues to stay healthy.

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Roy Roundtree

The senior wide receiver is in the process of bouncing back from knee surgery, but will still be a major threat in the passing game for Michigan in 2012. Roundtree averaged a ridiculous 18.7 yards per catch last season, which was second only to Junior Hemingway among wideouts who caught at least 10 passes in 2011.

In 2012, Roundtree will look to catch more than 19 balls and return to his dominant 2010 form. The 23-year-old wideout caught 72 passes as a sophomore, racking up 935 yards and seven touchdowns for the Wolverines' offense. Denard Robinson will be looking down field for his senior plenty next season, so if Roundtree can get open, he'll have a huge year.

 

Jake Ryan

Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Michigan linebacker Jake Ryan was a beast during his freshman season in Ann Arbor, recording three sacks and a tackle for a loss in all but two games for the Wolverines. Good news for Michigan fans, Ryan will return to Big Blue's defense in 2012 as a more experienced, versatile and pass-rushing linebacker. The Ohio native boasts a 6'3", 240-pound frame that will put him on the NFL radar in no time.

Ryan made the Big Ten All-Freshman team in 2011, and as a sophomore is only going to get better with more snaps in Hoke's defense. Though Ryan is still young, he will anchor college football's sixth-best scoring defense from a season ago. Michigan allowed less than 18 points per game in 2011, and Ryan will be key to them improving in 2012. Expect a breakout season from Ryan as he enters the fall with a lot more notoriety than last year.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter all season long for more college football reaction and analysis.

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