Michigan didn’t release an official depth chart following spring practice. The following is a projection based on interviews, the spring scrimmage and hunches while ignoring injuries that will be healed by the first game of the season.
1. Devin Gardner (senior)
2. Shane Morris (sophomore)
Gardner and Morris are at the top of the depth chart. The big question is: Which one best fits new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier’s offense? Watching the Michigan spring game gave a few clues— but Gardner’s first pass being intercepted was a brutal reminder of last season’s offensive woes.
Gardner’s experience should give him the edge, but last season’s 7-6 record that got Al Borges fired isn’t exactly a great item for the resume. Stay tuned…
1. Derrick Green (sophomore)
2. De'Veon Smith (sophomore)
Green’s 20-pound weight loss was the big story out of spring practice while all the running backs raved about Nussmeier’s commitment to running the football. Green and Smith are dead even heading into next season. One huge change in the new offense is that multiple running backs will have opportunities to run the ball next season.
1. Joe Kerridge (junior)
2. Sione Houma (junior)
Fullback hasn’t been a major part of the offense the last several seasons, but perhaps that will change under Nussmeier. Expect this battle to be decided by who can protect the quarterback best.
1. Wyatt Shallman (freshman)
2. Khalid Hill (freshman)
Another position that will probably be tasked with helping bolster the team’s offensive line.
1. A.J. Williams (junior)
2. Keith Heitzman (junior)
With the injury to Jake Butt (expected to return by the start of the Big Ten season), this battle is wide open. Gardner found good success going to the tight end last season, but expect a lot of blocking from the tight ends until Butt returns.
Wide Receiver 1
1. Devin Funchess (junior)
2. Jehu Chesson (sophomore)
Funchess enters this season as the main outside threat. Last season he was a surprise, but now teams will be looking for him, which should open things up for other receivers.
Wide Receiver 2
1. Freddy Canteen (freshman)
2. Amara Darboh (sophomore)
Canteen was the highlight of spring practice and is on track to start as a true freshman. Darboh missed last season because of injury but will back be in the mix.
1. Dennis Norfleet (junior)
2. Drake Harris (freshman)
Norfleet has a firm grip at slot for now. Possibly a place for Drake Harris to get reps if he stays healthy.
1. Erik Magnuson (sophomore)
2. Mason Cole (freshman)
Magnuson should be recovered by fall and is expected to anchor the left side of the offensive line. Cole has exceeded expectations as an early enrollee and could force himself into the lineup if someone struggles.
1. Kyle Bosch (sophomore)
2. David Dawson (freshman)
Bosh is expected to be among the starters on the offensive line after starting three games last season.
1. Graham Glasgow (junior)
2. Jack Miller (junior)
Expect experience to win out here—Glasgow will miss the first game because of a suspension, but he will probably be the starter over Miller once he returns.
1. Kyle Kalis (sophomore)
2. Patrick Kugler (freshman)
Kalis fulfills his promise as a bruising run-blocker with Kugler as his backup.
1. Ben Braden (sophomore)
2. Blake Bars (freshman)
Last season, Taylor Lewan called Braden “…the most physically gifted individual I've ever seen in my life.” This season, he gets his chance to showcase his talent as starter.
Weak-Side Defensive End
1. Frank Clark (senior)
2. Mario Ojemudia (junior)
Frank Clark could be the defensive star of next season.
1. Willie Henry (sophomore)
2. Chris Wormley (sophomore)
There’s going to be a lot of shuffling around on the defensive line, but expect Henry and Wormley to be splitting time.
1. Ondre Pipkens (junior)
2. Bryan Mone (freshman
Pipkens should be the starter, but expect Mone, an early enrollee, to play a lot—he’s made a big impression on coaches and teammates.
Strong-Side Defensive End
1. Brennen Beyer (senior)
2. Taco Charlton (sophomore)
Beyer is the definite starter with Charlton ready to back him up.
Inside Linebacker WILL
1. Desmond Morgan (senior)
2. Joe Bolden (junior)
Morgan will be the starter and should benefit from the extra attention from defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, who is also overseeing linebackers this season.
Inside Linebacker MIKE
1. Jake Ryan (senior)
2. Ben Gedeon (sophomore)
Ryan is moving to the middle, which—according to Mattison—will prevent teams from running plays away from him.
Outside Linebacker SAM
1. James Ross (junior)
2. Royce Jenkins-Stone (junior)
Ross moved around the starting lineup last season but with Ryan moving inside will probably see the most time at the SAM linebacker this season.
1. Raymon Taylor (senior)
2. Delonte Hollowell (senior)
Taylor was the starter here for most of last season and has a lock on starting heading into next season.
1. Blake Countess (junior)
2. Channing Stribling (sophomore)
Countess is one of Michigan’s most talented players on defense.
1. Jourdan Lewis (sophomore)
2. Brandon Watson (freshman)
Lewis had a great spring game with two interceptions and should see major playing time next season.
1. Jarrod Wilson (junior)
2. Jeremy Clark (sophomore)
Wilson had a strong spring, but with top recruit Jabrill Peppers slated to play safety this position, he will be one to watch when fall camp begins.
1. Delano Hill (sophomore)
2. Dymonte Thomas (sophomore)
Hill is the starter—for now—another place where Peppers may insert himself into the lineup.
1. Will Hagerup (senior)
2. Matt Wile (senior)
Hagerup is back after missing last season because of a suspension. He's the best punter on the team when he's eligible.
1. Matt Wile (senior)
2. J.J. McGrath (freshman)
Kick and Punt Returners
1. Dennis Norfleet (junior)
2. Jourdan Lewis (sophomore)
Norfleet is penciled in for now, but this another place where Peppers may see the field sooner rather than later.
Phil Callihan is a featured writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotations in this article were obtained via Press Conferences or in person.
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