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Daily Brews: Former Wolverines boost draft stock at Shrine Game

Michigan’s 2020 running back group is as deep as ever

NCAA Football: Michigan at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Several former Michigan Wolverines football players stood out during Saturday’s East-West Shrine game, hoping strong performances against competition from around the nation can help improve their draft stock.

Five players from Michigan took part in the game, which matches players from various teams across the nation. The players compete against one another during a week of practice, heavy in NFL scouts, before playing. The East All-Star won this year’s rendition, 31-27.

Offensive linemen Jon Runyan Jr. and Mike Onwenu, defensive end Michael Danna, linebacker Jordan Glasgow and corner Lavert Hill represented the Wolverines in the contest. All of the players suited up for the East All-Stars aside from Glasgow, who worked with the West All-Stars.

Statistically, none of the players showed much. However, their grades according to ProFootballFocus reflected strong performances across the board. Here is what had to say about the five Wolverines’ outings:

According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), Onwenu graded out the highest of any of U-M’s players, finishing with a 74.8 overall mark (64 is considered average).

His 74.8 grade was the third highest of any of the East’s offensive players, while his 50 snaps played led the team.

Runyan, meanwhile, received the second most snaps for the East offense (46), and finished the afternoon with a 65.1 tally.

Danna saw 30 snaps on the defensive side of the ball for the East, and concluded with a 65.1 overall grade from the outlet. He also chipped in half a sack toward the end of the second quarter.

Hill had the poorest showing of any of the Wolverines according to PFF, only receiving 15 snaps (the fewest of any East defensive player) and ending his day with a disappointing 51.8 mark (lowest on the East’s defense).

Glasgow put on one of the best performances for the West team, wrapping things up with a 70.6 tally (fifth best on the West’s defense) and a pass breakup while playing 28 snaps.

For Onwenu, the news should be good. The guard was projected to go in the middle of the NFL Draft, somewhere between the fourth and sixth rounds, per WalterFootball’s NFL draft rankings.

Runyan’s strong performance may give him a bit of an edge in trying to remain a tackle. Some outlets project him as a guard at the next level.

The next big draft prospect game ahead of the draft is the 2020 Senior Bowl, which will take place Saturday, Jan. 25. The list of Wolverines participating in that game includes defensive backs Josh Metellus and Khaleke Hudson, edge rusher, Josh Uche, guard Ben Bredeson, quarterback Shea Patterson and tight end Sean McKeon.

Evans ready to contribute in 2020

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh last week spoke at a coaching event in Lansing about running back Chris Evans, who practiced last month with the team and is ready to contribute in 2020.

“He looked good,” Harbaugh told reporters. “He looked good in the three days he was able to practice. That’s probably another thing to talk about at another time, but it’s a good story.

“You can be destroyed, but you can’t be defeated. Only if you quit. And he did not do that.”

Evans rushed for more than 600 yards and four scores as a freshman in 2016. In 2017, he added close to 700 yards and six touchdowns. Evans’ production dropped in 2018, when he rushed for just over 400 yards and four touchdowns. He was ruled academically inelligible last year.

But returning in 2020, Evans will add experience and versatility to a running back group that already features Zach Charbonnet and Hassan Haskins.

Other Brews

  • Michigan fans waiting to see the return of Isaiah Livers hopefully won’t have to wait much longer. Livers participated in warm ups and shoot around with teammates ahead of Friday’s game against Iowa, per 247sports.
  • A team a few miles north of Ann Arbor will be getting some quarterback help. Former Texas Tech quarterback Jeff Duffey will be transferring to Central Michigan, ESPN reported.