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Trio of Wolverines named to ESPN’s “Way-Too-Early” All-American team

While plenty are leaving, Michigan is returning some stars for the 2024 season.

Michigan v Minnesota Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Following the high of a National Championship victory just over two weeks ago, the mood changed a bit last week as it was announced that several members of Michigan’s great 2023 team would be heading to the NFL. With the departure of several key players (in addition to Jim Harbaugh), Michigan fans might be left wondering where its production will come from in 2024.

Well, despite the mass exodus, Michigan will be returning plenty of big names to its 2024 roster, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. The evidence of this comes in a recent article from ESPN’s Chris Low, where he listed three Wolverines as members of his “way-too-early” All-American team.

The players listed as first-team All-American candidates by Low were tight end Colston Loveland, defensive tackle Mason Graham, and cornerback Will Johnson. All three players will be entering their junior seasons and make sense as All-American candidates given their previous success for Michigan.

Loveland should take another step forward in his development after making some strides this season. He saw an uptick in his workload following a strong end to 2022, and with the departures of Roman Wilson and Cornelius Johnson, Loveland could see plenty more targets in 2024. Volume alone could make him one of the nation’s most productive tight ends, but his talent could truly make him stand out.

Graham also took a big step forward following a solid freshman season. He was named a first-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches for his efforts during his sophomore campaign, and particularly came on during the College Football Playoff, asserting himself as one of Michigan’s strongest defensive players.

His presence will be huge along the defensive front next year with the departure of players like Kris Jenkins and Jaylen Harrell. He will also have his running mate Kenneth Grant by his side at defensive tackle, forming what should be one of the nation’s best tackle tandems.

Finally, Johnson is also a logical All-American candidate, as he will be the leader of what should still be a solid secondary. Johnson was a first-team All-Big Ten selection from both the coaches and media in 2023 and is already considered one of the nation’s top cornerbacks.

Johnson also made his presence felt during the College Football Playoff, particularly during the National Championship game against Washington, where he recorded an interception and also held Rome Odunze in check for much of the game. His return will be huge considering that Michigan is losing two experienced defensive backs in Josh Wallace and Mike Sainristil.

Additionally, senior safety Rod Moore was mentioned in Low’s article as a second-team selection. His inclusion on this list makes sense as well, seeing as Moore has been a productive member of Michigan’s secondary for three seasons already. He was a third-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches in 2023. Moore’s experience will be valuable as a part of Michigan’s secondary in 2024, and his return gives him a chance to improve his draft stock while also adding to his already strong resume.