Michigan Football: Incoming Freshmen Most Likely to Start This Season
In order for a freshman to start on a college football team, said athlete must be better than "good," he must be exemplary.
But you knew that.
However, it takes a special breed to truly earn a No. 1 role in the Big Ten; and due to the strong recruiting efforts by coach Brady Hoke, Michigan may have more than one newcomer who could jump right into the rotation.
This slideshow will certainly include that one guy, but it'll dig a little deeper and analyze a few of the other potential true-frosh starters at UM. For the sake of clarity, 247Sports' database of Michigan's 2014 class will serve as the go-to for players' rankings. However, MGoBlue will be the source of heights and weights.
Jabrill Peppers (Of Course)
Let's get the most obvious candidate taken care of with the first pitch: It's Jabrill Peppers, but you knew that. For the past year, at least, Wolverines fans have been predicting the future of the 5-star athlete who could very well have a program-changing presence.
The 6'1", 210-pound former Paramus Catholic (N.J.) star promises to wow. In a world of can't-miss prospects, Peppers rises above the rest. He is truly a special talent and worthy of his high billing. However, even greats need time to develop. While he may start, don't expect Peppers to be a legend in 2014. But expect to see the Legend of Breezy get off to a solid start.
The Great Lakes State's Own Drake Harris
The Wolverines have young depth, meaning they have options, but they're not necessarily experienced ones at the moment. A quick glance at the roster shows several potential breakout performers, with Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson among the most likely.
However, now that Jeremy Gallon's gone, Michigan needs that "something" to be reinserted into the lineup. And depending on his progress, Drake Harris could return sooner rather than later from a hamstring injury suffered during his senior year at Grand Rapids Christian. At 6'4" and 180 pounds, he's an ideal deep-ball option, yet would probably work as a slot man, too.
Once he further conditions himself, he could be a lean, nearly 200-pound sophomore with more speed to burn and even better hands to flash.
Despite injury, Drake Harris sees positives from spring ball http://t.co/pTKJjD9uGG— Matt Pargoff (@MaizeBlueNews) April 2, 2014
Speaking of Potential Slot Men, Meet Freddy Canteen
Canteen's well-publicized spring game lit a fire underneath a Michigan fanbase looking for more power on offense. The former 3-star recruit fits the bill, and he's quite the athlete.
Effortlessly, although during a non-tradition spring game, Canteen blew back viewers with his sure hands and quick first step. Oh, and that breakaway speed—that's something to admire too. At 6'1" and 170 pounds, he's undersized but...you saw in April. There's a good chance this kids gets the nod at some point in the season.
Mason Cole Could Get a Few More Looks
Prior to his early enrollment, Mason Cole was viewed as an important recruit in terms of O-line development. At 6'5" and 275 pounds, he's no Taylor Lewan. But the former 4-star out of East Lake Tarpon Springs (Fla.) could benefit from Lewan's departure.
Right now, Erik Magnuson, a redshirt sophomore, seems like one of the best fits to fill the vacant post. However, he's suffered shoulder injuries and may not be healthy enough in time to start the season. Enter Cole, who could be given a shot to show his worth.
Wouldn't hurt, right? Michigan needs results, especially from the group up front.
Frank Clark on Michigan frosh Mason Cole: 'He's developed faster than I've seen a kid develop at 18' http://t.co/W1xMbookLA— Wolverines News (@WolverinesMLive) April 9, 2014
Backing Michael Ferns and Noah Furbush
Michigan isn't short on linebackers. With Jake Ryan, Joe Bolden, Royce Jenkins-Stone and James Ross, the Wolverines are pretty covered in that department. Might as well throw Ben Gedeon in there, too, because now he's a serious option as a sophomore.
But he had to start somewhere, and that was on special teams. Before playing well during his team's Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl loss to Kansas State, Gedeon was punching the clock as a utilitarian.
Noah Furbush and Michael Ferns, a pair of highly touted linebackers, could slide into that role in 2014. And they could stick. At 6'4" and 229 pounds, Furbush can cover the field and wrap up kick returners with ease. That goes with being a linebacker, and that skill should pay off much in the same way for Ferns, who comes in at 6'3" and 233 pounds.
Talk about sticking together, they also pledged as a pair. Say hello to Team 135's young special teams duo, which will be open to plenty of foliage jokes.
Michigan LB commits Michael Ferns and Noah Furbush together http://t.co/Qg2vtHjy6D— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) July 28, 2013
Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81