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Michigan ranked No. 4 in Sports Illustrated’s preseason Top 25

Alabama, Clemson and Florida State earned a higher rank than the Wolverines.

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan has been given the No. 4 rank in Sports Illustrated’s preseason Top 25.

“After a huge offensive leap forward in 2015, the Wolverines are poised to build on that progress, despite the loss of quarterback Jake Rudock,” Sports Illustrated wrote. “Whoever wins the starting QB job will get a deep group of receivers to work with and an offensive line that returns four starters.

“Not content to be merely fourth in total defense last season, the Wolverines went out and grabbed the coordinator of the top unit, ex-Boston College assistant Don Brown. The aggressive Brown should guide Michigan to bring more pressure and gets an elite group to work with, including do-it-all sensation Jabrill Peppers.”

The Maize and Blue finished with a 10-3 record last season and caped it off with a 41-7 victory over Florida in the Citrus Bowl. Michigan will return running back De’Veon Smith, wide receivers Jehu Chesson and Amara Darboh, along with tight end Jake Butt. On the defensive end, the Wolverines will bring back defensive end Chris Wormley, linebacker/defensive back Jabrill Peppers and cornerback Jourdan Lewis.

Alabama (No. 1), Clemson (No. 2) and Florida State (No. 3) ranked higher than the Wolverines. Along with Michigan, Ohio State (No. 9), Michigan State (No. 13) and Iowa (No. 14) have made the Top 25 by Sports Illustrated.

Sports Illustrated’s Preseason Top 25 rankings:
Alabama (No. 1)
Clemson (No. 2)
Florida State (No. 3)
Michigan (No. 4)
LSU (No. 5)
Oklahoma (No. 6)
Washington (No. 7)
Houston (No. 8)
Ohio State (No. 9)
Tennessee (No. 10)
Stanford (No. 11)
Notre Dame (No. 12)
Michigan State (No. 13)
Iowa (No. 14)
Louisville (No. 15)
Georgia (No. 16)
Oklahoma State (No. 17)
Washington State (No. 18)
Ole Miss (No. 19)
TCU (No. 20)
Oregon (No. 21)
North Carolina (No. 22)
UCLA (No. 23)
San Diego State (No. 24)
Boise State (No. 25)