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Year-end PFF grades: Where each Michigan starter ranks overall

Here’s a look at the Wolverines’ end-of-season PFF grades.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK
Matt Hartwell Matt covers all things Michigan football related for Maize n Brew and runs the social media accounts.

Michigan won it all in the National Championship last Monday night against the Washington Huskies, capping off a perfect 15-0 undefeated run. It was a fitting conclusion to a season that was plagued with adversity for Jim Harbaugh and company.

In the eyes of Pro Football Focus, Michigan was equally dominant across the college football landscape as a whole. Jesse Minter’s defensive unit finished atop the national ranks with a league-leading overall grade of 95.0 and allowed just 9.5 points per game — the fewest in a regular season since the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2011 (8.8).

Michigan’s offense was nearly just as impressive, notching a 90.9 overall grade (fifth in FBS) while averaging 36 points per game. In total, the Wolverines’ 95.0 overall team-wide PFF grade paced all of college football — a fitting placement for the national champs.

Here’s a closer look at the final overall grades from the Wolverines’ electric 2023 season.

Offense

J.J. McCarthy - 90.8

Blake Corum - 84.0

Semaj Morgan - 82.8

AJ Barner - 82.2

Kalel Mullings - 81.8

Roman Wilson - 81.5

Drake Nugent - 78.0

Zak Zinter - 76.6

Jack Tuttle - 76.0

Colston Loveland - 75.6

Myles Hinton - 72.4

Cornelius Johnson - 71.1

Donovan Edwards - 70.4

Trente Jones - 69.5

Jayden Denegal - 69.3

Max Bredeson - 69.1

Alex Orji - 68.9

Trevor Keegan - 68.6

Peyton O’Leary - 67.9

Benjamin Hall - 67.5

Jeffrey Persi - 63.3

Karsen Barnhart - 63.2

Greg Crippen - 61.6

Darrius Clemons - 59.7

Tyler Morris - 58.6

Karmello English - 57.7

Fredrick Moore - 57.7

Andrew Gentry - 56.8

Cristian Dixon - 55.9

LaDarius Henderson - 55.0

Marlin Klein - 54.9

Giovanni El-Hadi - 51.6

Matthew Hibner - 45.2

Josh Beetham - 39.9

Davis Warren - 29.7

Takeaway: While his passing utilization may not have been equal to that of Caleb Williams at USC, there’s no fooling PFF as it pertains to J.J. McCarthy. He led all quarterbacks in the country with a 92.6 grade this season. Additionally, McCarthy’s 9.4 percent big-time throw rate was second to only Jalen Milroe among Power Five quarterbacks.

Surprises: Finishing as the fourth overall ranked Wolverine on offense was tight end AJ Barner, who was utilized almost like a third offensive tackle at times this season. The Indiana transfer’s 81.9 run-blocking grade led all tight ends nationally this season.

Defense

Mason Graham - 90.0

Josh Wallace - 86.5

Michael Barrett - 84.3

Josaiah Stewart - 84.0

Kris Jenkins - 82.7

Keon Sabb - 82.1

Junior Colson - 81.7

Mike Sainristil - 81.4

Kenneth Grant - 80.5

Will Johnson - 78.9

Derrick Moore - 77.8

Cam Goode - 77.2

Jaylen Harrell - 76.9

TJ Guy - 75.8

Quinten Johnson - 75.5

Braiden McGregor - 74.1

Makari Paige - 74.0

Ja’Den McBurrows - 72.9

Myles Pollard - 72.9

Rod Moore - 71.3

Rayshaun Benny - 69.5

Ernest Hausmann - 68.5

Jaydon Hood - 68.0

Keshaun Harris - 66.9

Jyaire Hill - 65.0

Zeke Berry - 64.7

Amorion Walker - 63.4

Caden Kolesar - 63.0

Christian Boivin - 62.5

Kechaun Bennett - 61.5

DJ Waller Jr. - 61.4

Brandyn Hillman - 57.8

Reece Atteberry - 57.1

Micah Pollard - 53.0

Jimmy Rolder - 52.6

Trey Pierce - 50.5

Kody Jones - 48.1

Cameron Brandt - 47.3

Takeaway: Mason Graham was the poster child for perfection along the defensive line in 2023. The sophomore tallied an outstanding 90.0 overall player grade during the Wolverines’ championship season — good for fourth-best among all defensive lineman. He also graded in the top-10 nationally for run defense (87.8) and pass rushing (84.9).

Surprises: Michigan led all of college football this season with a staggering coverage grade of 92.7, which comes as no surprise. What perhaps was a bit of a surprise was Josh Wallace's positioning as the team’s second-highest overall graded defender. Per the PFF aggregate, Wallace ranked within the unit’s top-four in each of the following major defensive categories: coverage (84.9), run defense (87.8), and tackling (85.6).