The 2018 football season is just around the corner, and with it comes a the next generation of Michigan Wolverines.
The incoming freshman class was ranked No. 21, according to 247sports, and it is made up of some pretty talented players who could see some action on the field this year, especially due to the new redshirt rule that allows players to see four games and still be aligible for a redshirt.
Here are three freshmen on Michigan who should see some playing time in 2018.
1. TE Mustapha Muhammad
Muhammad is 6-foot-4, 235 pounds and from Missouri City, Texas. He was the sixth ranked player at his position in the 2018 class, and he looks like he has the potential to be the next great Jim Harbaugh tight end.
The good news for Muhammad’s chances are that he plays a pivotal position in Harbaugh’s offense. There are multiple schemes throughout the offense where two or more tight ends can be on the field at a time. Muhammad is a likely candidate to fill in one of those roster spots, especially if there is an injury, because of his size and ability to block.
The good news is Muhammad has the versatility to knock defenders on their butts and to be a vertical threat.
The bad news is his position is pretty cluttered. Two of the Wolverines’ leading receivers, Sean McKeon and Zach Gentry, will lead the way in playing time at the position, with Nick Eubanks not far behind. So although it is a position of great need scheme-wise, there is a lot of talent at Michigan, which may lead to limited playing time for the true freshman.
2. QB Joe Milton
It’s very odd to hear a quarterback not named Shea Patterson will see the field this year, but Milton brings a lot to the table for the Wolverines.
The freshman from Orlando, Florida has received praise from Harbaugh since day one of spring practice when he told MLive.com, “I’m not going to put any labels on him, but he’s very impressive looking, and he keeps improving. You can ask him to do something — I suggest something to him, and the next thing you know you’ve got a video, and a couple days later he is doing it.”
His ability to learn quickly, take what coaches are telling him and apply them at a rapid pace is very good news for Wolverines fans. If he continues to absorb information and learn from the coaches and from Patterson’s style, he could wind up being the backup this season, and the starter of the future.
Milton has an absolute cannon for an arm and has the ability to throw the ball on the run, which is displayed many times in the following video:
What makes Milton even more valuable is his scambling ability. It will make an easy transition for the entire offense if they can consistently run the RPO year after year rather than switching back to a more pro-style offense that fit Brandon Peters and Dylan McCaffrey.
I believe Milton will see the field at some point this season, mostly because of the new redshirt rule. There was a reason why some believed for a time there was a quarterback competition between Milton and Patterson. Seeing him in garbage time is a definite possibility.
3. CB Myles Sims
Another early enrollee makes the list of freshman to watch this year, as Sims has the potential to have the most playing time of any other true freshman this season. Sims is a dynamic defensive back, who is tenacious in his coverage, and is confident enough to keep up with any wide receiver he faces.
The 6-foot-3, 175-pound former 4-star recruit has the capability to see some playing time in deep third downs and any defensive set that calls for four or five defensive backs to be on the field. In fact, Don Brown has already mentioned a likeliness for him, telling LandOf10, “He’s got a ways to go but (I’m) really happy with the mindset, the demeanor, the confidence level. He’s not afraid, and here he is in our (defense) lining up close to people. And we’re expecting him to perform, which is a big deal.”
Sims adding a little more body mass will be very important to taking his game to the next level. Being cable to press larger wide receivers at the line will come with this added strength, but he is already impressing one of the best defensive coaches in the country with his attitude and readiness for anything thrown his way. Expect to see him for a few snaps at least this season.
Which true freshman do you think has the best chance to see the field early and often in 2018? Be sure to vote in our poll and leave your choice in the comments.
True freshman most likely to see extensive playing time in 2018?
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