Without a doubt, one of the primary reasons that expectations were high for the 2013 Michigan football team was the influx of young talent. Head coach Brady Hoke reeled in the seventh-ranked recruiting class in 2012 and the fifth in 2013, per rivals.com, and has created an environment in which underclassmen can compete for starting roles.
After beginning the 2013 season with five consecutive wins and climbing as high as 11th in the Associated Press' poll, the Wolverines finished their eight-game Big Ten schedule at just 3-5. For a team many people picked to win the Legends division, this was certainly a disappointing season.
However, despite all of its failures this year, Michigan is poised to succeed over the next few years on the shoulders of a select group of standout underclassmen.
The Wolverines had a healthy number of freshman and sophomores who excelled in key roles in 2013, and they're primed to make even larger contributions in 2014.
Let's take a look at eight underclassmen who will be major contributors to next year's squad.