Kevin C. Cox
Michigan picked up a walk-on commitment from Kicker J.J. McGrath. What does it mean?
MI K J.J. McGrath accepted an offer as a preferred walk-on to Michigan this morning, choosing the Maize and Blue over preferred walk-on offers from LSU and Southern Miss. He doesn't really count towards the scholarship limit of the class, which means we wouldn't normally be doing a write-up for him, but he'll be given a chance to earn a scholarship once Brendan Gibbons leaves, and could be a key fixture on special teams in a couple of years.
This is the second consecutive year that Michigan has been lucky enough to stumble upon a talented K/P in their own backyard and convince him to walk-on. Last year, that player was P Kenny Allen, who chose to walk-on at Michigan over a full ride from Oregon State. These two players could both see significant time on special teams sooner or later (sooner for Allen, perhaps, if anything more permanent comes from the Hagerup suspension), so grabbing them without losing a scholarship is a pretty big win for the staff.
I won't pretend to be a kicking guru, so here's professional Chris Sailer on McGrath
"JJ is a big time talent. He is a big, tall, strong athlete that shows outstanding potential. His best ball is as good as any 2013 punting prospect. Also a very capable kicker and kickoff specialist. A top national combo prospect with hard work."
With (at least, for now) Hagerup, Wile, Gibbons, and Allen ahead of him for the moment, he'll almost certainly redshirt. Once Wile leaves, as a redshirt sophomore, I imagine he'll contend for kicking duties with Allen and whatever kicker Michigan brings in subsequent classes. Again, kicker's not really a position I'm capable of critically evaluating, but here's to hoping he'll be a solid mainstay for a couple of years.
Brunettes, son. Brunettes.