Spoiler alert: the Michigan Wolverines are going to be good this season, as evidenced by most national outlets having Team 144 winning between 10 and 12 games during the regular season. In order to get there, however, several players and positional units are going to need to produce at a high level.
Sportsbooks — unless you gamble at backdoor bookies — are not going to have in-depth individual over/under numbers set for collegiate athletes, so let’s have some fun and set a few ourselves for the Wolverines.
For those wondering, the over/under refers to a statistical total designed to receive equal bets on either side. In the words of The Athletic, “A bet on the over means you think both teams will combine to score more goals, points, or runs than the total listed. Conversely, an under bet means you think there will be less than the total listed. It’s that simple.”
With that in mind, let’s set some single-season production over/under numbers for Michigan.
QB J.J. McCarthy Passing: 3,100 yards, 25.5 touchdowns
2022 McCarthy: 2,719 passing yards, 22 touchdowns
Michigan’s passing records are embarrassing and it is time to do something about that. The over on this would give McCarthy the program record above Chad Henne and Elvis Grbac, who are both currently tied with 25.
Surpassing 3,100 yards would make McCarthy the most prolific single-season passer of the Harbaugh era and rank him second all-time. The single-season passing record (3,331 yards) is still John Navarre’s from 2003, but is within reach.
If Michigan is going to expand the passing offense even slightly in 2023, you feel confident about McCarthy setting at least one record if not both.
RB Blake Corum Rushing: 1,200 yards, 15.5 touchdowns
2022 Corum: 1,463 rushing yards, 18 rushing touchdowns
Corum’s reduced totals are merely representative of his likely reduced role this season in order to mitigate his injury risk. The days of 30+ carries for Corum should be over as the team will look to preserve his health for the final stretch of the season. That said, he is still Blake Corum and he will still put up excellent numbers.
RB Donovan Edwards Total (Rushing + Receiving): 1,500 yards, 13.5 touchdowns
2022 Edwards: 1,191 total yards, Nine total touchdowns
Provided Edwards has four functional limbs for the entire season, he will be a threat in and out of the backfield. But the fact Edwards has missed three games in each of his first two seasons in Ann Arbor provides enough reason to hesitate with these totals.
WR Cornelius Johnson Receiving: 750 yards, 7.5 touchdowns
2022 Johnson: 499 receiving yards, Six receiving touchdowns
WR Roman Wilson Receiving: 750 yards, 5.5 touchdowns
2022 Wilson: 376 receiving yards, Four receiving touchdowns
Two of Michigan’s top pass catchers are gone from last season — wide receiver Ronnie Bell and tight end Luke Schoonmaker. Schoonmaker’s 418 yards and three touchdowns will largely be absorbed by his stud replacement Colston Loveland, but Bell’s 889 yards, the most by any wide receiver under Jim Harbaugh, and four receiving touchdowns, are ripe for the picking between Wilson and Johnson.
LB Junior Colson Total Tackles: 110
2022 Colson: 101 tackles
Last season, Colson became only the third Wolverine of the Harbaugh era to break 100 tackles. Former captain linebacker Josh Ross finished with 106 in 2021, and Khaleke Hudson racked up 101 in 2019. Most would assume this number would only increase next season for the rising junior, but with an improved defensive line, experienced defense and the arrival of Ernest Hausmann, there is a chance Colson doesn’t even break 100 despite being a better player.
Furthermore, if the clock doesn't stop on first downs anymore and Michigan’s offense controls the ball, will the defense even have enough opportunities for Colson to rack up this many?
Alright, let’s lower it. NEW Colson total: 97.5.
Any Defender: 9.5 sacks
2022 Sack Leader: Mike Morris (7.5)
Derrick Moore, Josaiah Stewart, Jaylen Harrell and Braiden McGregor are the frontrunners for this, but a historic Kris Jenkins season is also on the table. Mike Morris’ total from last season came in only 12 games, including four or five games where he was closer to 50 percent than 100.
Even in a rotational capacity, this number should be threatened in 2023.
S Rod Moore Interceptions: 5.5
2022 Moore: Four interceptions
Rod God Moore is one of the best safeties in the entire country and was the team leader last season in interceptions. Moore is a master at breaking late on routes and converting deflections into turnovers. The only hindrance to his continued production would be a full season of Will Johnson starting at corner, and nickel Mikey Sainristil taking another step in his second year playing defense. But speaking of Johnson…
CB Will Johnson Passes Defended: 10.5
2022 Johnson: Three
2022 CB1 DJ Turner: 10
It has been a long time since a Michigan corner has had this much hype entering only their second season in Ann Arbor. Johnson is positioned to be the best Michigan corner since Jourdan Lewis, and like Lewis, Johnson is expected to produce a high volume of defended passes this season.
Lewis set the single-season Michigan record in 2015 with 20, and while that number is too bold for Johnson, he can look to become only the third Wolverine corner since Lewis to hit double digits.
Channing Stribling had 12 in 2016 and DJ Turner led the Wolverines last season with 10. With a full 13 or 15-game season, Johnson will be in the mix.