Going into this season, I wouldn't have believed you if you told me we'd average over 30 yards a return on kickoffs. This is a team who couldn't even catch the kickoff last year. Rich Rodriguez mentioned in the preseason that if we caught all of the kicks this season, we'd be automatically better than last year.
He was right. But I don't think any of us expected it to be this good.
Sophomore KR Darryl Stonum is averaging 30.1 yards per return. It's clear that he is not only finding the right hole and attacking it hard, but that his teammates on special teams are blocking very well. It seems as though there's always a nice hole that Stonum finds. He always seems to get past that first layer of players. Whatever it is, it's working.
“We were hoping that and he’s got great speed and very productive in that out of high school,” Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said. “But Darryl, and this is a second-year player, as they get older sometimes some of the things you hoped would happen and that they’d develop comes to fruition.”
“It’s a great feeling,” Stonum said. “Once you get to the second level and all you have to do is make one guy miss and you see yourself going up the field and you see the Michigan on the end zone and home free.”
The only criticism of Stonum so far this season is his ability to hold on to the football. Stonum fumbled the ball twice with Michigan recovering one back in last weekend's contest. Sure it was slippery, but he needs to work on ball protection.
That being said, the foundation has been laid for Stonum to have an excellent kick return/receiving career at Michigan. Having those extra yards will be critical this season, in particular, as many games will continue to come down to field position.
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