Happy Tuesday, folks. Welcome to Morning Brews. This morning we’re taking a look at Michigan’s roster and those players who will be departing after this season. While there are some big names from this season that won’t be returning, Michigan will be in good shape next year. Compared to this past offseason, the losses are manageable. Also this morning, we check in with volleyball and women’s basketball.
Let’s get to it:
Looking ahead, Michigan loses few key contributors from current roster
Among other things, last Saturday was senior day and 33 players were honored. Some have run out of eligibility, while others may have one year of eligibility remaining - should they and the coaching staff want them to take it. Some of these players will return, and others will go elsewhere as grad transfers. This morning, I’ll be breaking down these seniors in order to provide a picture of what Michigan’s team next year will look like.
First, a list of those who are out of eligibility. These players will definitively not be returning next year for the Wolverines. As seniors and fifth-year seniors, many will have contributed meaningfully this past regular season.
No Eligibility Remaining
|Maurice Hurst Jr.|
There are some big names on this list. Mason Cole and Patrick Kugler were starters on the offensive line, John O’Korn started at QB several times this season, Mike McCray was the lone returning starter on defense this year and was second on the team in tackles, Khalid Hill and Henry Poggi were the two most utilized at the FB position, Ty Isaac was a key contributor in the backfield, and Maurice Hurst is one of the best DTs in the college game. Wilton Speight also announced his intention to transfer for his final year of eligibility. There is also speculation that Alex Malzone will graduate this spring and transfer.
John O’Korn and Wilton Speight account for 76% of this season’s passing yards and 56% of this year’s passing TDs. Ty Isaac was Michigan’s third-leading rusher this year, with nearly 550 yards. Mike McCray was second on the team in tackles and tied for third in sacks. Mo Hurst was seventh on the team in tackles, third in TFLs, and tied for third in sacks. Mason Cole and Patrick Kugler anchored an inexperienced offensive line and Khalid Hill and Henry Poggi were dependable short-yardage options. All of this will have to be replaced next year.
There were 10 scholarship players who participated in Senior Day but who have eligibility remaining. These players might return for the Wolverines next year.
One Year of Eligibility Remaining
Of those with the ability to return, I suspect that Juwann Bushell-Beatty, Chase Winovich, Bryan Mone, Noah Furbush, and Brandon Watson are the most likely to return. By implication, that means I think that Ian Bunting, Mo Ways, Lawrence Marshall, Jared Wangler, and Drake Harris will not be returning next year.
What these two lists of players mean is that Michigan will be in very good shape from a roster standpoint next year. Those contributors who are leaving (Wilton Speight, John O’Korn, Patrick Kugler, Mike McCray, Mason Cole, Khalid Hill, Henry Poggi, Mo Hurst, and Ty Isaac) all have players behind them who contributed meaningfully this season.
With the transfer of Wilton Speight and graduation of John O’Korn, Brandon Peters will be the presumptive starting QB heading into camp next year. Cesar Ruiz appears likely to replace Kugler at center. A young gun like Chuck Filiaga is likely to replace Mason Cole. Grant Newsom may return at tackle as well. Ben Mason will replace Khalid Hill and Henry Poggi. Aubrey Solomon will step in for Mo Hurst. Kareem Walker will take Ty Isaac’s place in the backfield committee.
With the exception of Chuck Filiaga, these are all names you should recognize. Peters, of course, played much of the game against Rutgers and started against Minnesota, Maryland, and Wisconsin. Cesar Ruiz stepped up when Mike Onwenu was injured. Ben Mason played in all 12 games this year and scored his first TD against Wisconsin. Aubrey Solomon played more and more as the season wore on, and Kareem Walker stepped into the RB rotation when Isaac battled injuries late in the year.
After being the youngest team in the FBS last year, Michigan will feature a roster of familiar players next year. The experience they gained this year will be paramount, and while there will be many sophomores in prominent roles youth should no longer be a factor.
Are you concerned by the production Michigan will lose this offseason?
This poll is closed
Yes, those leaving are major contributors who can’t easily be replaced
No, the young guys will step up
Last week I told you about Michigan volleyball’s big wins over No. 8 Michigan State and No. 15 Purdue. Well, the wins kept coming for the Wolverines and now they’re in the NCAA Tournament. Last Wednesday, Michigan again beat Purdue—this time they were ranked No. 16—by the score of 3-1 (25-23, 22-25, 30-28, 25-20). On Friday, the Wolverines topped Indiana 3-0 (25-20, 25-15, 25-15) to give Michigan five wins in a row. Michigan’s first round matchup in the NCAAs will be against Colorado State on Friday at Stanford. This is their 11th NCAA appearance in 12 years, and the program’s 17th overall.
Women’s basketball won again Saturday, this time besting Ohio by 13 points. The win moves Michigan to 4-1 on the season. The Wolverines were led by Katelynn Flaherty, who led all scorers with 31 pts. Hallie Thome recorded a double-double on 17 pts. and 13 rebs. It was her second double-double of the season. Senior Jillian Dunston contributed 9 pts. and 14 rebs. No. 22 Michigan will face No. 3 Notre Dame tomorrow at 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast on BTN.