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Ranking the position groups of the Michigan Wolverines

It’s rankings week!

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 12 Nebraska at Michigan Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Welcome to rankings week! Today, we will rank Team 144 by position group, tomorrow will be individual offensive players, and Friday will be individual defenders. I’m sure you’ll have no gripes with any of the lists. Let’s get to it!

Michigan returns the third-most production in the Power Five and still has freshmen and sophomores breaking through in fall camp. This team is talented enough at the top and the bottom of the roster to finally compete for a national championship.

However, which position group is the best and the deepest on this roster? Although this is like ranking Breaking Bad, The Wire, Game of Thrones, Mad Men, and The Sopranos, where there are no real winners and losers, we can still approach an accurate snapshot of Michigan’s depth.

Here are the 100 percent accurate and correct rankings of the current position groups of the Michigan Wolverines.

1. Offensive Line

Tackles: Karsen Barnhart, LaDarius Henderson, Trente Jones, Myles Hinton, Jeff Persi

IOL: Zak Zinter, Trevor Keegan, Giovanni El-Hadi, Raheem Anderson, Drake Nugent, Greg Crippen

There is a reason Michigan’s starting offensive line is still not finalized. The room is as deep as it has ever been and there are legitimately 11 starting-caliber players on this roster with more emerging every day.

Any combination of these players will field a Joe Moore Award contender, and the starting five that eventually wins out will be the best in the country. With offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Sherrone Moore in the building, Michigan is going to be good up front for a long time.

2. Defensive Line

Defensive tackles: Kris Jenkins, Mason Graham, Rayshaun Benny, Kenneth Grant, Cam Goode, Reece Atteberry (switched in camp), Enow Etta, Trey Pierce, Cameron Brandt

Edge: Jaylen Harrell, Derrick Moore, Braiden McGregor, Josaiah Stewart, TJ Guy, Kechaun Bennett

When the Wolverines reinvented themselves following the 2020 season, they began in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Just behind the offensive line for the best unit on the team is the defensive line, which has experienced a renaissance on the interior in recent years.

Led by All-American favorite Kris Jenkins and an absurd amount of youthful depth, the Wolverines should control both sides of the line of scrimmage in every game this season. If a star emerges on the edge this season — looking at you, Derrick Moore — this room could have a stronger case to be No. 1.

3. Running Backs

Blake Corum, Donovan Edwards, Kalel Mullings, Benjamin Hall, CJ Stokes, Tavierre Dunlap, Cole Cabana, Leon Franklin

This room is led by two Heisman Trophy contenders in Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards and is rounded out by a plethora of bruising backs with tremendous upside. The dynamic duo will get the bulk of the workload, but there is heated competition to be RB3, and there will be some carries to go around in the beginning stretch of the schedule. The running back room gets the nod over linebackers because of the gravity of Corum and Edwards.

4. Linebackers

Junior Colson, Ernest Hausmann, Michael Barrett, Jimmy Rolder, Jaydon Hood, Micah Pollard, Semaj Bridegman

Until this season, “deep” was never a word associated with the linebackers under head coach Jim Harbaugh. Even last year, the room was barely three players deep and forced All-American candidate Junior Colson to play an extraordinary number of snaps.

With the arrival of Ernest Hausmann, the return of sixth-year Michael Barrett, and the ascension of the Jimmy Rolder, Jaydon Hood, Micah Pollard, this room is all of a sudden one of the deepest on the team. The arrival of freshman Semaj Bridgeman at 246 pounds just felt like the icing on the depth cake.

5. Defensive Backs

Rod Moore, Will Johnson, Mike Sainristil, Makari Paige, Josh Wallace, Amorion Walker, Ja’Den McBurrows, Keshaun Harris, Quinten Johnson, Caden Kolesar, Keon Sabb, Zeke Berry

Covering safety and corners, there are a lot of names to be familiar with above. However, five or so of those names are largely unproven or complete unknowns in live-game action. Three All-American contenders (Rod Moore, Will Johnson, Mike Sainristil) will prevent this group from sliding any further, but the CB2 uncertainty will prevent this group from rising any further.

6. Tight Ends

Colston Loveland, A.J. Barner, Max Bredeson, Matthew Hibner, Marlin Klein

Colston Loveland has a chance to be one of the three best tight ends in the country this season. Couple this with the arrival of transfer A.J. Barner, and Michigan now features a dynamic one-two punch in both the passing and running games.

Behind them, Max Bredeson and Matthew Hibner will see rotational roles in specific situations. Bredeson is a block-first-ask-questions-later player, while Hibner is an understated spark plug as a receiver.

The fact that this room is sixth speaks to the depth and talent of this roster.

7. Wide Receivers

Cornelius Johnson, Roman Wilson, Tyler Morris, Peyton O’Leary, Semaj Morgan, Frederick Moore, Karmello English, Darrius Clemons, Cristian Dixon

Aside from Cornelius Johnson and Roman Wilson, every other name is currently an unknown commodity. There is endless hype and speculation emanating from fall camp around several players, but that is just noise until proven otherwise.

However, with a promised increased focus on passing the ball, this room could see the biggest rise throughout the season. The Wolverines will need at least one of these unknown options turn into a reliable option for J.J. McCarthy.

8. Quarterbacks

J.J. McCarthy, Jack Tuttle, Davis Warren, Alex Orji, Jayden Denegal

Listen, somebody had to be last. After McCarthy, Jack Tuttle is the only other quarterback with starting experience and he is a career 57-percent passer with five touchdowns and six picks to his name. There is a unique blend of talent and rising underclassmen in this room, but not enough to rise past any of the other position groups.