Michigan quarterbacks are going to have a lot of fun with Drake Harris and Freddy Canteen, the two highest-profile pass-catchers of Brady Hoke’s 2014 recruiting haul.
Harris, a homegrown Great Lakes State sensation, is one of many in-house talents secured by Hoke’s maize and blue regime. Ranked No. 7 among wide receivers by 247Sports, the former Grand Rapids Christian standout enters college with a 4-star rating and an abundance of hype.
That’s the norm for the super recruits, so Harris’ situation shouldn’t come as a surprise. He’s supposed to be good—or at least worth the time it took for Michigan to pickpocket him from the grips of Michigan State.
Pegging him as a future staple of the game plan is a no-brainer.
Canteen, a Marylander, carries a similar 4-star ranking as Harris, but fell short of his classmate, ranked No. 41 among wide receivers.
Nonetheless, the swift slot man/medium-route threat was a great pickup for Team 135, which will have Doug Nussmeier orchestrating the offensive calls this season.
Spring is almost here, so that means spring football. The annual scrimmage takes place on Saturday, April 5 at The Big House and will serve as fans’ first look at Harris and Canteen, whom enrolled early.
Regardless of their showing in the spring game, it’d be unfair to expect too much from them. Sure, they’re talented, but the offense is growing and hasn’t fully developed a reliable passing game.
They’re probably not going to save the day, but they'll probably make a few catches and score a couple of touchdowns.
That being said, there are only three players returning with 15 or more catches, and one of them—tight end Jake Butt—may not see the field this fall.
So maybe they'll do more?
In all likelihood, Nussmeier and Hoke are drawing up ways to get them plenty of reps in practices. That approach could lead to meaningful snaps and plenty of touches.
It’s time to politic about their frosh futures.
The trek from the west side of the state to the southeast portion of The Mitten could get interesting for Harris.
The left half of Michigan is a bit more conservative, whereas Ann Arbor is a beacon of progressive thought. Transitioning from high school to college can be a challenge, especially when home and new home drastically differ in social and economic structure.
Basically, he'll have to find time to learn the campus, make some friends, bond with teammates and get a general grasp on college life, all the while accepting the fact that his existence in Grand Rapids has been just a part of the bigger picture.
Good thing he enrolled early. Talking to guys who had gone through the same thing will certainly help.
OK. Enough of the sociology talk.
It's now onto football life—more specifically, what to expect from the frosh this fall.
The following "player card" contains stock info such as height and weight, etc.
|Ht./Wt.||40 speed||Positions||247Sports ranking|
|6'4"/185||4.4||WR/Slot||No. 67 overall/No. 7 WR|
|247Sports; 40-yard time via Rivals.com|
The next chart will throw out predictions.
|Projections; *injuries play a major part, so if Michigan is banged up, Harris could get the call sooner than later.|
Predictions aren't always an exact science. But there is usually a method behind the madness.
Michigan lacks returning production, so it's fair to assume that Harris could see the field every now and then. Of course, he's behind a lot of unproven talent, so it could be a year before he takes a prominent role in the offense.
In 2013, Jeremy Gallon led the team with 89 catches and 1,373 yards.
Obviously, Harris won't get that. But he'll probably get more than six and 71, which were Jeremy Jackson's totals.
As a freshman, Mario Manningham had 27 catches, and he's one of the best to ever wear a winged helmet. That's a high-water mark, even for a player such as Harris, who could end up as a program-best when it's all said and done.
Last year as a slot/wideout Drew Dileo had 16 catches and 174 yards.
In all likelihood, Harris will be used sparingly. But he could be used in much the same way as Dileo. Expecting Dileo-like numbers wouldn't be out of the question.
At this point, hitting Manningham's level doesn't seem like a reasonable request.
The same "formula" used above will apply for Canteen's forecast. And for the most part, he'll face the same competitors in practice. Essentially, he's in the same boat as Harris.
|Ht./Wt.||40 speed||Positions||247Sports ranking|
|6'1"/175||4.43||WR/Slot||No. 298 overall, No. 41 WR|
|247Sports; 40 time via Rivals.com|
Canteen is comparable to Harris. The spring game should separate them, making one the clear No. 2 slot behind Justice Hayes, who doubles as a running back, or Jehu Chesson, a definite up-and-comer who'll command the lion's share of available reps.
Scout.com says film doesn't do "justice" for Canteen, whose game has a certain fuzzy quality. That's not a bad thing, but considering Scout.com's report, it makes sense. He doesn't "wow" on film. In terms of speed, he doesn't appear to run a 4.43, either.
Seeing, in this case, is believing.
Understanding routes and catching on could land Canteen ahead of Harris, or even Hayes, who's seen sparse playing time during the past three years. In line to pounce, Canteen could go from reserve to preferred in a matter of weeks.
Harris may have been ranked higher, but Canteen seems to be more college-ready. He's a bit more physical, but his finesse needs work. That's Harris' territory--he turns ugly throws into works of art.
Each frosh should crack the rotation. Starts will be at a premium, but they'll get a fair shot under Nussmeier.
Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81