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2014 Michigan Recruiting Class Analysis
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CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 12, 2014


2014 Michigan Wolverines ... Head Coach: Brady Hoke


Michigan Wolverines

2014 Schedule
8/30 Appalachian State
9/6 at Notre Dame
9/13 Miami Univ.
9/20 Utah
9/27 Minnesota
10/4 at Rutgers
10/11 Penn State
10/18 OPEN DATE
10/25 at Michigan State
11/1 Indiana
11/8 at Northwestern
11/15 OPEN DATE
11/22 Maryland
11/29 at Ohio State

2013 Record: 7-6
8/31 Central Mich W 59-9
9/7 Notre Dame W 41-30
9/14 Akron W 28-24
9/21 at Connecticut W 24-21
9/28 OPEN DATE
10/5 Minnesota W 42-13
10/12 at Penn State L 43-40 4OT
10/19 Indiana W 63-47
10/26 OPEN DATE
11/2 at Michigan St L 29-6
11/9 Nebraska L 17-13
11/16 at Northwestern W 27-19 3OT
11/23 at Iowa L 24-21
11/30 Ohio State L 42-41
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
12/28 Kansas State L 31-14

Wolverines tickets for all games at TicketCity

Michigan | The 2014 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2014: Brady Hoke has to find the running game. The offensive line might have been banged up, but it’s Michigan - it’s not okay to run for 126 yards per game. The O line has to improve despite the loss of Taylor Lewan, and the offense overall has to be more consistent after scoring 14 points or fewer in three of the last six games. The defense had its moments, but it closed out getting ripped apart by Ohio State and Kansas State. The run D was fine, but the secondary needs to be stronger on the outside.

The 2014 Class Is Heavy On ... 2013. Don’t get caught up in the recruiting rankings and a relatively average class – the stars came in last year’s whopper haul. No. 1 CB Jabrill Peppers might be too good not to push his way into time right away, and DT Bryan Mone could be needed immediately up front with both starters gone. The future pass rush should come from Lawrence Marshall, a speed rusher who should be a blazer off the edge once he adds a little good weight. The receiving corps gets the most help for the offense with Drake Harris a big go-to guy and Freddy Canteen a quick option who can be used in a variety of ways.

2013 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 4. That Class Was Heavy On ... The lines. Playtime is apparently over. After coming up with an incredible class last year. Brady Hoke and his staff outdid themselves with a jaw-dropping array of talents. Quarterback Shane Morris is the type of passer Hoke loved to work with at Ball State and San Diego State, only more talented, while the buzz will be there right away to running back Derrick Green out of Virginia to hit the ground running from the moment he gets off the bus. Name the position and the Wolverines have an elite prospect coming in. Tight end Jake Butt - we're going to have years of fun with that one - has an NFL frame, safety Dymonte Thomas is going to play in The League corner Jourdan Lewis is a nice get out of Detroit. However, the stars of the star-studded class are on the lines.

Patrick Kugler is the nation's best guard recruit, Kyle Bosch is among the top offensive tackle prospects, and defensive tackles Maurice Hurst Jr. and Henry Poggi will eventually shine on the inside. Throw in Dan Samuelson and Logan Tuley-Tillman for the offensive front, and end Taco Charlton for the defensive side, and there are plenty of reasons to be jacked up.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 4. That Class Was Heavy On ... Next level talents. Now this is the class Michigan is used to bringing in. This is a class that’s the base of a special team. It’ll be a total shock if the Wolverines don’t have one of the nation’s top linebacking corps in a few years after this haul, while the speed and athleticism on the defensive front is as good as any class in over a decade. Head coach Brady Hoke has the offensive tackles for the future, while the defensive line is loaded with top-shelf pass rushers. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 29. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive backs. At the very least, Brady Hoke can sell the fan base on the idea that he tried to fix the team’s biggest issue by throwing bodies at the problem. The young secondary of last year will get its chance to mature, but corner Blake Countess might be too good to not find a spot right away. Delonte Hollowell, Greg Brown and Raymon Taylor might not be safeties, but they’re athletic enough to move around. The linebacking corps got more athletic with this class with Antonio Poole and Kellen Jones both fast and agile. Running back Justice Hayes might be the focal point of the running game soon, at least when Denard Robinson isn’t handling the work.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 9. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive backs. If Rich Rodriguez was in trouble, you wouldn't know if from this fantastic class. The offense got more options with Devin Gardner a 6-4 playmaking quarterback to give Tate Forcier a push, while RB Austin White is a dangerous running back prospect with speed and good all-around skills. RichRod also stepped up the receiving corps with Ricardo Miller and Jerald Robinson leading the way. But for all the good things about this class, nothing was bigger than pulling off a shocker with the signing of Demar Dorsey out of Florida on Signing Day to join Josh Furman and Marvin Robinson as some of the team's new safety stars. Cullen Christian out of Pittsburgh is one of the nation's best corner prospects with NFL size and quickness.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 15. That Class Was Heavy On ... QB Tate Forcier. Last year, head coach Rich Rodriguez put all his eggs in the Terrelle Pryor basket, and the plan backfired. The quarterback situation last year was a liability at best, an utter disaster at worst, and something had to be done. Now it’s all about Forcier, a small, quick athlete from San Diego who fits the mold of the type of quarterback needed to take the program out of the doldrums. He might be asked to start from day one.

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
Kansas State 31, Michigan 14
Basically … Kansas State was in control throughout and pitched a nearly perfect game as Tyler Lockett caught three touchdown passes from six, 29 and eight yards out, and John Hubert ran for a one-yard score for a 31-6 lead. Michigan managed two Matt Wild field goals from 22 and 26 yards away, but the defense couldn’t slow down the Wildcats and the O couldn’t keep the chains moving. The Wolverines finally got into the end zone on a three-yard Fitzgerald Toussaint run with just over a minute to play, but Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder was already drying off from the Gatorade bath by then.

- Time of possession: Kansas State 35:04 – Michigan 34:56
- Rushing yards: Kansas State 149 – Michigan 65
- Kansas State QB Jake Waters completed 21-of-27 passes for 271 yards and three scores, and he ran 12 times for 42 yards.
- Kansas State RB John Hubert ran 16 times for 80 yards and a score.
- Kansas State WR Tyler Lockett caught ten passes for 116 yards and three touchdowns, ran once for four yards and returned two kickoffs for 74 yards.
- Michigan QB Shane Morris completed 24-of-38 passes for 196 yards with a pick, and ran four times for a team-leading 43 yards, with 40 coming on one big late dash.
- Michigan WR Jeremy Gallon caught nine passes for 89 yards.
- Kansas State SS Dante Barnett made a team-leading eight tackles with a pick for 51 yards.

Ohio State 42, at Michigan 41
Basically … In a thriller, Michigan pulled within one with 32 seconds to play on a two-yard touchdown catch from Devin Funchess, but Devin Gardner’s throw on the two-point conversion attempt was picked off, Ohio State recovered the onside kick, and the Buckeyes survived. Gardner threw for 451 yards and four touchdowns with three in the fourth quarter, but Ohio State’s running game was unstoppable with Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller combining for 379 yards with Miller scoring from 53, 21 and three yards away, and Hyde barreling in from one-yard out to take the lead late in the fourth. The two teams traded punches the entire way, with the Buckeyes getting up 14 late in the third on a 22-yard Jeff Heuerman touchdown catch, but Gardner, on an injured ankle, was on fire in the fourth quarter comeback attempt.
- Michigan rolled up 603 yards of total offense, Ohio State 526
- Ohio State QB Braxton Miller completed 6-of-15 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns with a pick, and he ran 16 times for 153 yards and three scores. Carlos Hyde ran 27 times for 226 yards and a score.
- Michigan QB Devin Gardner completed 32-of-45 passes for 451 yards and four touchdowns and ran nine times for ten yards and a touchdown.
- Michigan WR Jeremy Gallon caught nine passes for 175 yards and a score.

at Iowa 24, Michigan 21
Basically … Iowa rallied back from a 21-7 deficit scoring all 21 points of the second half with Jake Rudock finding Tevaun Smith for a 55-yard touchdown and Mark Weisman running for a nine-yard score. Mike Meyer hit a 34-yard field goal to give the Hawkeyes the lead with just over six minutes to play, and Anthony Hitchens came up with a fumble recovery to seal the victory. The Wolverines took the lead early on a pick six from Brennen Beyer, and Devin Gardner came up with two touchdown passes in the second with a two-yarder to A.J. Williams and a nine-yarder to Jeremy Gallon for a 21-7 lead, but it was all Iowa the rest of the way.
- Total yards: Iowa 407 - Michigan 158
- Iowa QB Jake Rudock completed 19-of-30 passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns with three picks. Iowa turned it over four times.
- Iowa came up with 14 tackles for loss. Anthony Hitchens made eight tackles with three tackles for loss and a forced fumble.
- Michigan QB Devin Gardner completed 13-of-28 passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns and he ran ten times for 12 yards.

Michigan 27, at Northwestern 19 3OT
Basically … In a strange and ugly game, Michigan forced overtime with Brandan Gibbons nailing a 44-yard field goal as time ran out following a 16-yard pass to Jeremy Gallon and a hurry-up setup from the Wolverine special teams to set up. The two teams traded touchdowns in the first overtime and field goals in the second, but Michigan took the advantage in the third with a five-yard touchdown run and two point conversion from Devin Gardner. Northwestern couldn’t answer with its drive sputtering out after a sack. Gibbons and Northwestern kicker Jeff Budzien each hit four field goals with the first touchdowns coming in OT. Kain Colter ran for a one-yard score for the Wildcats, and Jake Butt caught an 11-yard touchdown for Michigan.
- Michigan converted just 3-of-17 third down chances and Northwestern converted 6-of-20 third down tries.
- Michigan QB Devin Gardner completed 24-of-43 passes for 226 yards and a score, and he ran 17 times for 19 yards with a touchdown.
- Northwestern QB Kain Colter ran 19 times for 78 yards and a score, and he completed 4-of-6 passes for 26 yards.
- Michigan WR Jeremy Gallon caught ten passes for 115 yards.

Nebraska 17, at Michigan 13
Basically … In a tough defensive battle, Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah caught a two-yard touchdown pass from Tommy Armstrong Jr. with just over two minutes to play. Down four, Michigan’s final drive stalled and the Huskers were able to run out the clock. Nebraska scored the first ten points of the game with Abdullah running for an eight-yard touchdown, but Michigan scored 13 straight on two Brendan Gibbons field goals and a five-yard Devin Funchess touchdown catch. However, the Wolverines finished with just 175 yards of total offense and were held to -21 yards rushing.
- Nebraska came up with seven sacks and 15 tackles for loss, while Michigan generated just one sack. Nebraska’s Randy Gregory made four tackles with three sacks.
- Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah ran 27 times for 105 yards and a score, and he caught the five-yard game-winning touchdown pass.
- Michigan QB Devin Gardner completed 18-of-27 passes for 196 yards and a score, but he finished with -32 rushing yards on 16 carries.
- Taylor Martinez didn’t play. Tommy Armstrong Jr. completed 11-of-19 passes for 139 yards and a score, and ran 12 times for 13 yards, and Ron Kellogg III completed just one of four passes for six yards and ran once for five yards.

at Michigan State 29, Michigan 6, Nov. 2
Basically … Michigan State maintained its recent dominance over in-state rival Michigan, serving up its most lopsided victory in the series since 1967. The Spartans allowed just two first-half field goals, keeping the high-powered Wolverines out of the end zone. Michigan State scored the game’s final 23 points, taking the lead for good on a Connor Cook to Bennie Fowler touchdown pass 23 seconds before halftime.
- Michigan was sacked seven times and finished the day with -48 yards rushing.
- RB Jeremy Langford was the offensive star for the Spartans, running 26 times for 120 yards and a touchdown.
- Michigan State produced 11 tackles for loss, including three apiece from Denicos Allen and Shilique Calhoun.
- The Wolverines were just 2-of-13 on third downs, compared to 9-of-18 for the Spartans.

at Michigan 63 … Indiana 47
Basically … Jeremy Gallon rolled up 369 receiving yards, Fitzgerald Toussaint ran for four scores and Devin Gardner threw for 503 yards and ran for three touchdowns as Michigan came up with 751 yards of total offense in the wild win. Indiana did its part with three touchdown passes and a scoring run from Tre Roberson. The Hoosiers had a shot late in the third quarter to tie it up with a two-point conversion after a 67-yard touchdown pass to Kofi Hughes, but missed, and it pulled within two in the fourth on Roberson’s 15-yard scoring run, but Michigan took over in the fourth quarter with two six-yard scoring runs from Gardner and close it out with a 27-yard Toussaint run.
- The statistics are silly, but it’s nice to know the Michigan offense can turn it on when it has to. Devin Gardner completed 21-of-29 passes for 503 yards and two scores and ran for 81 yards and three touchdowns, Fitzgerald Toussaint ran 32 times for 151 yard and four touchdowns, and Jeremy Gallon went off, catching 14 passes for 369 yards and two scores.
- The defense wasn’t even close, but the Indiana offense showed that it can open it up on anyone. Nothing went right defensively, and yet the Hoosiers were still in the game deep into the fourth quarter. Nate Sudfeld was fine, but it was Tre Roberson who added the biggest spark, completing 16-of-23 passes for 288 yards and three touchdowns to go along with 50 rushing yards and one touchdown.
- The Hoosiers might have lost in a wild shootout, but once again they showed they could be a fun and exciting team against just about anyone. The offense works, and while it’ll stall at times, it was still a game late. It might not seem like it, but there’s still a night-and-day improvement under Kevin Wilson – things are moving forward.
- Michigan needed this game. After the Penn State debacle, this was fun, but now it’s time to deal with the other extreme with Michigan State coming up in two weeks. The offense won’t get half as much production against the Spartans as it did against the Hoosiers, but this has to be a confidence booster – at least for the offense.

at Penn State 43, Michigan 40 4OT
Basically … Bill Belton ran it in from two yards out to give Penn State an improbable win in the fourth overtime. The Nittany Lions needed a miracle just to get past regulation with Christian Hackenberg sneaking it in from a yard out to cap off an 80-yard drive in the final minute, highlighted by a 36-yard jump ball completion to Allen Robinson to set up the score. Michigan had a shot at the win, but a 52-yard Brendan Gibbons field goal came up just short. In the first overtime, Gibbons had a chance to win it, but his field goal attempt was blocked. The two teams traded field goals in the second overtime, and following a Penn State fumble in the third, Michigan had yet another chance to win, but Gibbons pushed his 33-yard attempt wide. Gibbons connected on his 40-yard field goal try in the fourth, but Penn State, after converting on a fourth-and-1, got a pass interference call to set up the game-winning touchdown.
- It’s not like Christian Hackenberg wasn’t already playing like a franchise star, but when you can pull a win like this out of your … hat, it makes everyone a believer. Penn State had no business winning this game, and he might not have been great in overtime, but his drive at the end of regulation was a classic.
- It’s hard to classify this as a true choke for Michigan. Penn State made some phenomenal plays, and there wasn’t too much the Wolverines could do late. The overtimes were disastrous, failing to get into the end zone in the four frames, and the two misfires on game-winning field goal attempts will be haunting. Not coming up with the fourth down stop in the fourth overtime, and the ticky-tack pass interference call will sting as the coaches go over the film.
- Can Penn State thrive on the giant killer role? Beating Michigan at home was nice, but coming up with an upset over Ohio State on the road in two weeks would be truly special. The team isn’t that good – it should’ve lost to Michigan on several different occasions – but it gets to play like there’s nothing to lose. It worked this week.
- The wild finish/collapse overshadowed a terrific day from Devin Gardner, who only completed 15-of-28 passes, but they went for 240 yards with three scores. He ran for 121 yards on 25 carries, making up for a disastrous day from Fitzgerald Toussaint, who ran 27 times for 27 yards.

at Michigan 42, Minnesota 13
Basically … Fitzgerald Toussaint ran for two touchdowns and Devin Gardner threw two touchdown passes and ran for another as the Wolverines didn’t have too many problems pulling away from Minnesota. Michigan’s defense got into the act late on a 72-yard Blake Countess interception for a score in the final minutes. The Gophers could only manage two Chris Hawthorne field goals after tying it at seven on a seven-yard touchdown catch from Maxx Williams.
- Michigan basically solved the Devin Gardner turnover problem by not letting him throw for a while. Once the running game settled in, he was terrific, completing 13-of-17 passes for 235 yards and a score. Michigan overall played a clean game with just two penalties and no turnovers.
- Minnesota turned to Mitch Leidner at quarterback instead of Philip Nelson, and while the overall results weren’t great, the offense showed far more spark than it did last week against Iowa. Leidner is more of a playmaker, but the rest of the offense didn’t provide much help.
- Gopher head coach Jerry Kill didn’t attend the game after suffering a seizure. All things considered, the team played well for a half, and then Michigan was just too strong on both sides of the line in the second half. The Wolverine defense settled in, and it was over.
- After the Connecticut and Akron fiascos, Michigan needed this. All of a sudden, 5-0 looks a little better, even if the big blowout came against Minnesota. As long as the Wolverines keep winning, the struggles of the last few weeks will be forgotten.

Michigan 24, at Connecticut 21
Basically … Michigan was sloppy and mistake-prone for around the first 39 minutes on the way to a 21-7 deficit. The Wolverines scored first on a 17-yard Devin Gardner run, and then it was all UConn with Chandler Whitmer throwing two touchdown passes and Ty-Meer Brown returning a fumble 34 yards for a score. The Wolverines rallied with Fitzgerald Toussaint running for a 35-yard score, and capitalizing off an interception with a 12-yard touchdown run. A 21-yard Brendan Gibbons field goal gave Michigan the lead for good, and the defense held on in the final few minutes.
- The positive way to look at it for Michigan is that it’s 4-0 and got through adversity. As rough as the last two games have been, at least the team knows it can rally back when it’s struggling. The negative? Devin Gardner has to be better. He ran well, but he was way too shaky and indecisive on his throws, finishing with just 111 yards and two picks.
- Connecticut had Michigan down, and couldn’t put the game away. Chandler Whitmer couldn’t convert a third down stop – UConn converted just 1-of-11 chances – and he threw a horrible, game-changing interception – but it was a brilliant play by Desmond Morgan - when the team didn’t need to press.
- Yawin Smallwood might be the best linebacker Michigan faces all year. He came up with 13 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. He destroyed the Michigan offense at times.
- Michigan is going to get tagged soon if it keeps screwing up. From the Devin Gardner butt fumble for a UConn score, to the errors on special teams, the four turnovers were almost disastrous. That won’t work against anyone good.

at Michigan 28, Akron 24, Sept. 14
Basically … Michigan held on for dear life as a last second Akron pass into the end zone fell incomplete. The Zips hung around all game with a 27-yard pick six from Justin March and a one-yard Tyrell Goodman touchdown run in the fourth giving them a 24-21 lead, but Michigan roared back and took the lead for good on a two-yard Fitzgerald Toussaint run with just under three minutes to play. But the Michigan defense bent and bent and bent until the final play.
- Devin Gardner. About those interceptions for touchdowns, stop doing that. That’s two in two games, and he ended up throwing three picks against the Zips while completing just 16-of-30 passes for 248 yards. He led the team with ten carries for 103 yards with a score.
- Akron QB Kyle Pohl pushed the Michigan secondary around with dinks and dunks, throwing for 311 yards and two touchdowns. He gave up two picks, but he kept making up for his mistakes with good drives.
- The Michigan offensive line wasn’t bad, but Gardner and the backs got dropped too much behind the line. Akron made way too many plays in the backfield.
- When the Wolverines absolutely had to come up with a stop on the final play, the defense brought the heat. It was just enough to make Pohl rush his throw and misfire

at Michigan 41, Notre Dame 30, Sept. 7
Basically … Devin Gardner threw a horrible desperation pass in his own end zone that Notre Dame’s Stephon Tuitt picked off for a late score. That was almost the only thing Gardner didn’t do right as he threw four touchdown passes and ran for a score with a team-leading 82 yards. Jeremy Gallon was on the receiving end of three of Gardner’s scoring passes, highlighted by a 61-yarder in the first quarter, but Notre Dame kept pressing. Tommy Rees threw for 314 yards and two touchdowns, but the Michigan defense clamped down late with a ricocheting interception in the end zone late.
- The crowd of 115,109 was the largest to ever watch a college football game.
- To honor Michigan great Tom Harmon, Devin Gardner was issued the No. 98 jersey. Outside of the miserable pass in his own end zone for a Stephon Tuitt touchdown, he was legendary throwing for 294 yards and four touchdowns while giving the Irish fits with his legs.
- Notre Dame’s defense was fantastic against everyone except Devin Gardner and Jeremy Gallon. Unfortunately for the Irish, those two did whatever they wanted. They were locked in all game long.
- Once again, Tommy Rees had a fantastic game in Ann Arbor, and all he got was another loss. He didn’t get much support from the running game, and he kept slinging, keeping the team in the game until late. Blake Countess had his number with two picks, one off a late deflection.

at Michigan 59, Central Michigan 9, Aug. 31
Basically … Devin Gardner threw two of Michigan’s three interceptions, but everything else seemed to work just fine as he hit Jeremy Gallon for a 16-yard touchdown and ran for two scores. Fitzgerald Toussaint also ran for two short touchdowns in the blowout. The defense held CMU to 210 yards of total offense, while the special teams scored first on a blocked punt for a score. CMU managed three Ron Coluzzi field goals.
- It’s not like everything was perfect. There were three interceptions and seven penalties, but for the most part, there’s nothing for Michigan to complain about scoring the most points in any opener since 1905.
- So how did the new guys do? Star quarterback recruit Shane Morris completed 4-of-6 passes for 59 yards with a pick, running back Derrick Green ran 11 times for 58 yards and a score, and top tight end prospect Jake Butt caught a pass for eight yards.
- There was nowhere for the CMU ground game to go. Zurlon Tipton ran for ten yards on four carries and the team finished with 66 yards on 29 runs.
- Who’s going to replace Jake Ryan as Michigan’s top pass rusher? Cameron Gordon came up with two of the team’s four sacks, and the team generated nine tackles for loss.

Spring Analysis

Why To Be Excited: The near future. There might be some big holes to fill on both sides of the ball, but the talent is quickly rising under Brady Hoke with the latest class taking things to a whole other level. Expect a more spirited spring ball than normal for some of the veterans considering there are a slew of big-name recruits on the way who might be good enough to play right away. Derrick Green was the nation’s top running back recruit, and he could provide an instant jolt of power and speed to an attack that relied too much on Denard Robinson. Shane Morris might be groomed for next year’s starting quarterback job, but a bad camp by Devin Gardner could start the speculation. It’s going to be an interesting August.

Why To Be Grouchy: The offensive line needs to rebuild and reload in a hurry. Taylor Lewan’s stunning decision to return for his senior season gives the line its anchor at left tackle, and Michael Schofield should get the call on the right side, but the interior needs to be replaced. The defensive front has to come up with a steady defensive tackle to replace Will Campbell and a pass rusher to take over for Craig Roh. The secondary needs to replace strong safety Jordan Kovacs and corner J.T. Floyd.

What Needs Working On: The offense has to get a lot tighter with the ball, and it’ll start with Gardner keeping the picks to a minimum after giving up one a game over the last five outings. While Denard Robinson’s four interception day against Notre Dame and the three picks thrown against Nebraska by Russell Bellomy had a lot to do with it, the offense had a big problem with turnovers giving away 19 interceptions and eight fumbles. Putting the ball on the ground wasn’t a huge issue until the three giveaways against Ohio State and the one against South Carolina, but going into the season, ball security needs to be a priority. It would be nice if the defense could come up with a few big plays, too, after failing to pick off a pass in the final five games and taking the ball away just 18 times on the year.

Non-Conference Games: Central Michigan, Notre Dame, Akron, at Connecticut
Games Against The Leaders: Indiana, Ohio State, at Penn State
Realistic Best Case Record: 12-0
Worst Case Record: 7-5
Likely Finish: 10-2

Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Central Michigan, Notre Dame, Akron, at Connecticut, Minnesota, at Penn State, Indiana, Nebraska, at Iowa, Ohio State

Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Michigan State, at Northwestern

Schedule Analysis: It’s as good as could be reasonably asked for. There’s always going to be Ohio State to deal with from the Leaders, but there’s no Wisconsin and getting Indiana at home and a depleted Penn State isn’t bad. There’s no way all the tough games could be at home, but welcoming the Buckeyes, Notre Dame and Nebraska should be a big help. But it’s Michigan; it’s going to get every team’s best shot.

Getting past Central Michigan, Akron and a road trip to Connecticut shouldn’t be a problem, and hosting Minnesota and Indiana to go along with the away date in Happy Valley should mean 7-0, or at worst 6-1 with a loss to the Irish. Going on the road three times in four weeks – at Michigan State, at Northwestern and at Iowa with the Nebraska game thrown into the mix – comes after a needed off week.

Team Concerns For 2013: It might sound crazy, but the Wolverines need a steadier running game. Denard Robinson led the team in rushing and Fitzgerald Toussaint wasn't effective before getting hurt, but there are several backs waiting to get their shot behind starting quarterback Devin Gardner. The defense has to do a bit more to take the ball away for a team that finished 99th in the nation in turnover margin, and with some key losses on the front seven there can't be a slip against the run. The punting game could stand to be stronger after netting a mere 35.7 yards per kick.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... The lines. Playtime is apparently over. After coming up with an incredible class last year. Brady Hoke and his staff outdid themselves with a jaw-dropping array of talents. Quarterback Shane Morris is the type of passer Hoke loved to work with at Ball State and San Diego State, only more talented, while the buzz will be there right away to running back Derrick Green out of Virginia to hit the ground running from the moment he gets off the bus. Name the position and the Wolverines have an elite prospect coming in. Tight end Jake Butt - we're going to have years of fun with that one - has an NFL frame, safety Dymonte Thomas is going to play in The League corner Jourdan Lewis is a nice get out of Detroit. However, the stars of the star-studded class are on the lines.

Patrick Kugler is the nation's best guard recruit, Kyle Bosch is among the top offensive tackle prospects, and defensive tackles Maurice Hurst Jr. and Henry Poggi will eventually shine on the inside. Throw in Dan Samuelson and Logan Tuley-Tillman for the offensive front, and end Taco Charlton for the defensive side, and there are plenty of reasons to be jacked up.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 4. That Class Was Heavy On ... Next level talents. Now this is the class Michigan is used to bringing in. This is a class that’s the base of a special team. It’ll be a total shock if the Wolverines don’t have one of the nation’s top linebacking corps in a few years after this haul, while the speed and athleticism on the defensive front is as good as any class in over a decade. Head coach Brady Hoke has the offensive tackles for the future, while the defensive line is loaded with top-shelf pass rushers. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 29. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive backs. At the very least, Brady Hoke can sell the fan base on the idea that he tried to fix the team’s biggest issue by throwing bodies at the problem. The young secondary of last year will get its chance to mature, but corner Blake Countess might be too good to not find a spot right away. Delonte Hollowell, Greg Brown and Raymon Taylor might not be safeties, but they’re athletic enough to move around. The linebacking corps got more athletic with this class with Antonio Poole and Kellen Jones both fast and agile. Running back Justice Hayes might be the focal point of the running game soon, at least when Denard Robinson isn’t handling the work.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 9. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive backs. If Rich Rodriguez was in trouble, you wouldn't know if from this fantastic class. The offense got more options with Devin Gardner a 6-4 playmaking quarterback to give Tate Forcier a push, while RB Austin White is a dangerous running back prospect with speed and good all-around skills. RichRod also stepped up the receiving corps with Ricardo Miller and Jerald Robinson leading the way. But for all the good things about this class, nothing was bigger than pulling off a shocker with the signing of Demar Dorsey out of Florida on Signing Day to join Josh Furman and Marvin Robinson as some of the team's new safety stars. Cullen Christian out of Pittsburgh is one of the nation's best corner prospects with NFL size and quickness.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 15. That Class Was Heavy On ... QB Tate Forcier. Last year, head coach Rich Rodriguez put all his eggs in the Terrelle Pryor basket, and the plan backfired. The quarterback situation last year was a liability at best, an utter disaster at worst, and something had to be done. Now it’s all about Forcier, a small, quick athlete from San Diego who fits the mold of the type of quarterback needed to take the program out of the doldrums. He might be asked to start from day one.


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