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Five for Fall | Number Five: My kingdom for an outside receiver

Michigan's success or failure in 2013 will be determined by a great many factors, but with the start of fall camp finally here, there are a few position battles and questions that stick out. Michigan's need for another outside receiver is a big one when figuring out just how good this offense can be.

Please be like Manningham, please be like Manningham, please be like Manningham...
Please be like Manningham, please be like Manningham, please be like Manningham...
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

When Devin Gardner moved back to quarterback last year, it left just one scholarship receiver, Jeremy Jackson, who was taller than 6-feet.

Jeremy Gallon didn't care, and he went on to pull down 31 catches for 511 yards and three touchdowns over the final five games of the season playing as an outside receiver that just happened to be 5-foot 8-inches tall. It also helped that Roy Roundtree had his best five-game stretch in two seasons, pulling in 405 of his 580 yards and scoring two touchdowns.

Now, Gallon is back for his final season and should continue to be a dangerous receiving weapon whether at WR or in the slot, while Drew Dileo returns as a sure-handed slot receiver. Michigan will also have the benefit of Devin Funchess, who should be more willing and able to contribute after last year when he was a self described "pretty boy".

Those are all good options, and should help Michigan's pass offense move the ball, but if the Wolverines are going to take a major step forward, it will have to be thanks to large contributions from two second-year receivers: Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson.

While Gallon has shown the ability to make big plays down the field, he is still more comfortable on hitches, screens, and underneath routes. No matter how talented a 5'8 receiver is, his window on fade routes is smaller than that of taller receivers.

Darboh has already made a push this off season for the starting job opposite Gallon. He is bigger (6'2, 210 lbs.) than what Roundtree was last year, and he should be more able to handle the rigors of being an outside receiver (something Roundtree wasn't always great at due to his smaller build). Darboah also possesses good speed and hands. While he played spot duty last year, we still don't know much about how good he can be this year outside of the impressive catch he made on a fade route in the spring game.

Even less is known about Jehu Chesson, the tall, lithe track star out of Missouri that is just dripping in field-stretching potential, but is still relatively unpolished and thin (193 lbs). He has the size/speed combination to develop into a Braylon-esque home-run threat, but whether he is capable of making a significant jump this year is still very much up for debate.

Of course, the development of either of these two could be a windfall for the offense. If one can handle a big role in the offense it gives MIchigan a solid option to pair with Gallon. If both were to make significant strides, Michigan could role out a three-wide lineup of Chesson (long, fast, threat to go deep), Darboh (strong and sure handed), and Gallon in the slot (slippery and capable of breaking big plays.

While big contributions from both of these young receivers is probably a bit much to ask for, much less expect, Michigan's passing offense goes from good to great if these two can approach the potential that they have as outside receiving threats.