Michigan Football: 5 Less Proven Wolverines Who Must Shine in Fall Practices

Adam BiggersSenior Analyst IIJuly 8, 2014

Michigan's Team 135 needs a pick-me-up in 2014.
Michigan's Team 135 needs a pick-me-up in 2014.USA TODAY Sports

Improvement is a universally accepted byproduct of experience. In theory, the longer one does something, the better he or she gets. Now apply that principal to Michigan football, because there is a host of Wolverines who are barely on the outside of the bubble, just on the cusp of seeing meaningful and productive playing time each Saturday. 

Offensively, Michigan has linemen in training and a respectable stable of running backs who’ve yet to make an impact on the field for Brady Hoke’s program. Defensively, there are ends, tackles and linebackers who’re nearly there as well.


Matt Godin

What else can be said about Godin that hasn't already been said? Think about that. 

Because since high school, not much has been floating around about the former Detroit Catholic Central, quarterback-destroying DE. The 6'6", 283-pound redshirt sophomore has been around long enough to learn the ropes, and this season is the time for him to put those lessons to work on the field. 

Due to Keith Heitzman's move to tight end, ends such as Godin will get reps. At the moment, he should be on your radar as a potential anchor. Yes, an "anchor." As one of many untapped talents, he's yet to show Wolverines fans his true worth. He's not just a solid option to spell a starter, and he's not just a "depth" guy. 


Someone on the O-Line? 

O-line, O-line, O-line...had enough of it yet? 

This past offseason was crammed with discussion about the O-line: How would it improve? Who would take over for Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield? How long will it take for Doug Nussmeier, the new offensive coordinator, to revamp and implement his system? 

Michigan followers will find out this fall. And until then, any reports of anyone doing anything that remotely resembles improvement on the O-line should catch your attention. 


Henry Poggi

Poggi generated a little buzz prior to signing with Michigan in 2013 and promises to live up to that billing sooner rather than later. In fact, he’s one of several players on defense cited as up-and-comers by defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, who spoke about his personnel during the Sound Mind Sound Body (SMSB) camp in Detroit.

At 6’4” and 271 pounds, the redshirt freshman is ready to make his presence known on a hearty D-line that will feature Ondre Pipkins and Willie Henry, among others. Poggi’s been on the ascent since bowl practices and should earn a prominent role within Mattison’s game plan.


Chris Wormley

Yet another one of Mattison’s students, Wormley, a 6’4”, 292-pound redshirt sophomore, is a guy who gets talked about to no end; it’s either fans praising his potential and begging for Michigan to play him more often, or it’s the opposite.

So, yeah, viewing Wormley gets tricky. Not to beat a dead horse, but that conversation with Mattison back at SMSB was telling. While detailing who’s doing what, Mattison couldn’t contain his energy. He was exuberant when speaking of Wormley, who had 19 tackles, 4.5 TFL and 2.5 sacks in 13 appearances in 2013.

Mattison expects a lot from him. You should, too.


Derrick Green

During a recent radio interview, Nussmeier commented on Green’s physique, saying that he “looked great” and is showing signs of progression. At 5’11” and roughly 230 pounds, Green—a former 4-star out of Richmond (Va.)—has the ideal, bulldozer-like frame suited for the Big Ten.

In Week 1 of 2013, he burst for 58 yards on 11 carries during the Wolverines’ romp of Central Michigan. However, he never really found his stride after that, fading away into the sunset as Fitz Toussaint saw most of the action.

It wasn’t until late in the season that Green once again began to turn a few heads. He wasn’t a star by any means versus Ohio State, but his 12 carries for 47 yards certainly helped Michigan stay afloat during the 42-41 loss at the Big House.

Green recently stressed the importance of pass protection, per Nick Baumgardner of MLive, and CollegeFootballTalk noted that Green feels more explosive heading into the new campaign. 

He was supposed to be the next great thing in Michigan’s backfield, and he was supposed to be a real-deal workhorse who could put the offense on his back. So far, he’s a sophomore with nothing but doubters to shake and things to prove. This season could be the difference-maker in Green’s career in Ann Arbor.


Follow Bleacher Report’s Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81.