Michigan Football: Ranking the 5 Best Offensive Weapons for the Wolverines
It's no secret that Michigan's offense is still a work in progress, as there will likely be severe growing pains at times here in 2013.
This unit does possess a handful of playmakers, but not as many as you'd usually see on a typical Michigan offense.
With that being said, opposing defenses will still have to carefully prepare for the weapons this offense does have.
Here's a look at the five most dangerous offensive players Michigan will run onto the field this fall; offensive linemen are not included, so don't expect to see Taylor Lewan's name on here.
5. Derrick Green
The bar has been set high for Derrick Green right off the bat, even though he will only be a freshman this fall. Still, he will contribute heavily and will likely be an integral part of this offense.
Although I don't think he'll start at running back, that doesn't mean he won't still be one of this offense's most dangerous players. That just goes to show you the depth Michigan is establishing at this position.
If this list were to be written in a year or two, Green could very well be No. 1 on it. However, he'll have to work extremely hard until then, and that begins as soon as he arrives on campus.
4. Fitzgerald Toussaint
We talked about Derrick Green on the previous slide, so now it's time to talk about the projected starter at running back, Fitz Toussaint.
At this point I'd be very surprised if anyone other than Toussaint started the season opener against Central Michigan, but his old job certainly won't be handed back to him.
Now a fifth-year senior, Toussaint should be determined to go out on top in what has been a career filled with injuries, off-the-field issues and only a brief glimpse of greatness.
Assuming he recovers fully from his broken leg, there's no reason Toussaint can't revert back to his late 2011 form. For that to happen the offensive line does need to hold up its end of the deal as well, though.
In fact, last year's offensive line deserves more blame for Toussaint's lack of production than Toussaint himself does.
Almost any other year the starting running back for Michigan would be No. 1 or 2 on a list like this, but unfortunately the position is in a bit of a transition period right now.
3. Devin Funchess
I bet most people expected Funchess to be higher on this list than No. 3. He has all the potential in the world, but that doesn't always lead to production, evidenced by the way he tailed off badly during the second half of last season.
Regardless of whether it was him hitting the freshman wall or poor utilization by Al Borges, the same thing better not occur in 2013.
In fact, the numbers are quite staggering. Through Michigan's first six games last year Funchess recorded 10 catches; however, in the team's final seven games he only recorded five. This is especially discouraging when considering the fact that Devin Gardner had taken over at quarterback for much of the second half.
Funchess was seemingly nonexistent at times throughout the latter half of 2012, and he actually wasn't even on the field at a number of crucial junctures.
Again, both Funchess and Al Borges probably should shoulder the blame, but he is simply too good not to make a big impact.
Standing 6'5", Funchess could be a monster in this offense and has the potential to turn into one of the better tight ends in the country as just a sophomore.
2. Jeremy Gallon
While we just talked about Funchess' disastrous second half of 2012, the absolute opposite is true for Jeremy Gallon.
Sure, he was a key piece to this offense throughout the first half of last year, but he wasn't a huge playmaker or a guy that was going to take over games. Fortunately, that changed in the second half of the season.
Over Michigan's final five games, Gallon averaged 102 receiving yards per contest, while only averaging 40 over the team's first eight. There's no doubt that Gardner playing quarterback was a big reason for the jump in these numbers.
Even though he's only listed at 5'8", Gallon showed he can be a big-time receiver in this offense. He tore up what was supposed to be a vaunted South Carolina secondary in the bowl game, accumulating 145 yards and two touchdowns.
This passing attack needs Gallon to be a star, too, as the inexperience in the receiving corps behind him is a bit concerning.
As long as he produces, though, this passing attack should be in very good hands.
1. Devin Gardner
It's no surprise seeing Gardner here at No. 1 on this list. Seemingly all of the talk surrounding Michigan football this offseason has been about Gardner and his untapped potential.
Pretty much everybody is cautiously optimistic that he will explode in this offense this fall, and he should be able to tear up defenses with his arm.
For the most part that is something Denard Robinson wasn't able to do, and that's why so many fans are glad to see him go. However, be careful what you wish for.
Although I couldn't be any more excited about what Gardner brings to the table, this offense will still miss a guy like Robinson.
Regardless, optimism surrounding Gardner and this passing attack seems to be through the roof, and deservedly so.
There's no doubt he has the personality and swagger to handle being the Michigan quarterback; the only question is whether or not he will live up to the sky-high expectations that are being set for him.