clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Michigan Football: Most Fascinating Storylines Of 2016

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

Let’s get right to it, shall we? Also, feel free to sound off in this poll regarding which of these is your favorite storyline.

How quickly will Rashan Gary develop?

Everyone’s eyes will be on Rashan every single week. Heck, most fans will probably review many of the opposing plays during replay from the perspective of whether he contributed a +1, 0, or -1. It will be a topic you can discuss with friends and strangers, no matter how it develops. So, good luck, kid.

Who’s the quarterback?

Not only that, but what does this mean for 2017 and beyond? Is one of the redshirt juniors able to take the reins at some point, or does Speight become the incumbent for 2017 and 2018? It’d be hard to imagine him holding the fort for so long with a cacophony of talents steadily building behind him.

How would we feel about replacing Jabrill (if he declares)?

Does Devin Bush or one of the other young guys show a penchant for blowing up plays in awesome fashion? Do the linebackers become reliable? Regardless of whether it comes from the nickelback or some other spot in this unit, will they have the fire and skill to take offenses apart?

And, does he win a Heisman?

I’m really hoping he wins a Heisman.

What’s the defense’s reputation?

This will be important down the road. Does Michigan become Defensive Line U, the SEC of the North, or whatever else somebody might think to call it? Do they take DBU, and build on Charles Woodson with great play for years to come?

Does Michigan add some spread elements on offense?

This could be either an H-Back with Chris Evans or Devin Asiasi, or some four-wide receiver sets as depth starts building up. If Michigan shows even a hint of interest in this, it could be something they can use for a long time on the recruiting trail.

NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Michigan vs Florida Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Does Ty Isaac tap his potential?

This is a great one here. There aren’t many backs with Isaac’s blend of size and speed, and in a draft class full of top-rated backs he could be one of the best.

What do we learn about the offensive line?

Basically, how much do we need to rely on the 2017 freshmen when they get here?

What is De’Veon’s legacy at Michigan?

This is an under-the-radar one, but I think it has some powerful implications. A lot of great backs have come through Ann Arbor over the years; De’Veon has now led the team in rushing for two straight years, and he’s poised to make it three if he fends off Isaac. De’Veon could embody the rise out of mediocrity with a stellar season.

How many first-round picks does Michigan send to the NFL?

Jehu? Does Mo Hurst actually do it? How many people declare? How much elite talent does Michigan have?

How smoothly does Michigan replace John Baxter?

It’s easy to forget that one of Michigan’s best coaches from a year ago is headed back to California - Oakland is, still, in play apparently. Michigan will turn to a combination of Jay Harbaugh and Chris Partridge, and we’ll see if that’s good enough.

What’s the deal with the young tight ends?

Ty Wheatley, Jr. and Zach Gentry are both redshirt freshmen, and Michigan also brought in three intriguing players in with the ‘16 class. What do we get out of them this year, and how optimistic are we that they’re on pace?

The impending transition to 2017

Work, work, work. Twelve games to get through still and some might be tempted to start looking ahead to 2017, when the entire secondary must be rebuilt and a new receiving corps fashioned. Let’s see what happens in ‘16 ... and what effect that has on recruiting some final pieces for the ‘17 class.

Speaking of, recruiting

Crootin’ never dies. How will Michigan get the 2018 class going? Who rounds out the ‘17 class, and does Harbaugh add a hundred more o-linemen? (From doing the recruiting roundups, I think he might be trying.)

NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Michigan vs Florida Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports