The Michigan Wolverines just won the College Football Playoff National Championship just two weeks ago, but as everything is with sports, we are quick to look ahead to next season.
One of the prices a team pays when it wins the National Championship is the departure of many players to the NFL Draft. Michigan is losing J.J. McCarthy, Blake Corum, Roman Wilson, Cornelius Johnson, Zak Zinter, Trevor Keegan, LaDarius Henderson, Trente Jones, Karsen Barnhart, Drake Nugent and A.J. Barner on the offensive side alone.
That said, the Wolverines are returning key pieces to the offense in 2024 and have added some replacements already. If you are asking how worried we should be about the Michigan offense next season, the short answer is “not at all.”
We’ll take a look at the defense soon enough, but for today, let’s take a look at the offense and where I think things stand as of today, Jan. 22.
Note: * signifies a true freshman; ** signifies a transfer
QB: Alex Orji, Jadyn Davis*, Jayden Denegal, Davis Warren
RB: Donovan Edwards, Kalel Mullings, Benjamin Hall, Cole Cabana, Jordan Marshall*, Micah Ka’apana*, Tavierre Dunlap
WR: Tyler Morris, Fredrick Moore, Semaj Morgan, Karmello English, Peyton O’Leary, I’Marion Stewart*, Eamonn Dennis, Kendrick Bell, Channing Goodwin*
TE: Colston Loveland, Marlin Klein, Max Bredeson, Brady Preiskorn*, Hogan Hansen*, Deakon Tonielli, Zack Marshall
LT: Andrew Gentry, Jeff Persi, Andrew Sprague*, Ben Roebuck*, Connor Jones, Evan Link
LG: Giovanni El-Hadi, Dominick Giudice, Amir Herring, Nathan Efobi
C: Greg Crippen, Raheem Anderson, Jake Guarnera*
RG: Josh Priebe**, Andrew Gentry, Blake Frazier*, Luke Hamilton*
RT: Myles Hinton, Jeff Persi, Tristan Bounds, Connor Jones, Blake Frazier*
Explaining my selections/general thoughts:
- Until we know who is coaching Michigan next season, it’s hard to estimate who the quarterback will be. If it is Jim Harbaugh, I feel pretty confident Alex Orji and Jadyn Davis will duke it out during spring ball and fall camp in a similar situation to Cade McNamara and J.J. McCarthy in 2022. I give Orji the edge because of the hype that surrounded him during the playoff run. Harbaugh, Sherrone Moore and Kirk Campbell spoke about him at length during the National Championship media day, and we saw him get meaningful snaps against Alabama and Washington. We all know he can run the ball, but the true test will be his accuracy in throwing the ball, which Davis was recruited for. (Also make note that Jack Tuttle has applied for a waiver to be eligible in 2024, which could alter the depth chart if it gets approved).
- There are a few spots where I can see freshmen making an immediate impact, and running back is one of them. Donovan Edwards and Kalel Mullings returning is massive, but as we see every season, Michigan loves to create a pipeline at running back to keep guys fresh and ready. Freshman Jordan Marshall could be a guy who creeps into the No. 2 spot given his skillset. The 2023 Ohio Mr. Football is coming off a senior season where he rushed for more than 1,500 yards and 17 touchdowns.
- For the first time in a while, the Wolverines will have a young receiving corps that has already played a lot of football. Tyler Morris is going to be a junior, and Semaj Morgan, Fredrick Moore and Karmello English will all be sophomores. Nonetheless, they all played significant roles in 2023 and look to build on it in more solidified roles next season. Shortly put, I feel great about the receivers.
- While A.J. Barner leaves for the draft, the Wolverines have Colston Loveland and Max Bredeson back. Coming off 649 yards and four touchdowns in 2023, Loveland only will continue to grow into a top NFL prospect. They also add freshman Brady Preiskorn, who is another star in the making.
- Losing your star quarterback is going to make the most headlines, but Michigan has to replace its entire offensive line. While this entire depth chart is a rough estimate of who will be starting in September, it’s most subject to change along the line. Myles Hinton struggled and got benched for Henderson halfway through the season, but he’s going to need to start next season as the only returning player. Giovanni El-Hadi and Greg Crippen have been highly spoken of for a few years and finally have their time to shine. Finally, Andrew Gentry got snaps at tackle in seven games in 2023 and played in practically all of them on special teams, so he has a good amount of experience. With very little experience in-house, Michigan will most likely rely on Josh Priebe to lead the line, who transferred in from Northwestern and appeared in 36 games for the Wildcats.
How did I do? Anything you would change? Anywhere the team needs to continue to add players? Tell me in the comments!