The outcome of last night’s loss in South Bend is not one we were hoping for, but there were some...things to take away from it, as my guy Anthony Broome points out in this article.
But today, I want to focus on the individuals. Who looked good enough in my mind to raise their stock, and who looked bad enough for me to warrant a drop in their stock?
Stock up: Nico Collins, WR
Quite honestly, all of Michigan’s receivers looked pretty good, but Collins was the best looking of the bunch in my opinion. His 52-yard catch was a thing of beauty, zipping past the Notre Dame defensive back and making the sliding catch on a not-perfect pass by Shea Patterson. He ended the night with three catches for 66 yards.
Donovan Peoples-Jones, Grant Perry and Oliver Martin all pitched in, too, but with Tarik Black out for an extended period of time, it will be vital for Collins to continue to step up like he did last night.
Stock down: Michigan’s offensive tackles
The offensive tackles played rancid football, constantly getting beat and giving up pressures, and sacks on occasion.
Jon Runyan Jr. looked lost, and Juwann Bushell-Beatty looked like his old self as well. It was a bad start for the O-line, but specifically these two guys. If things continue to go this way, why not give someone like true freshman Jalen Mayfield a shot? Throw in Chuck Filiaga and see what he can do. As long as they can get decent play from the tackle spots, I don’t care who it is. Just find consistency and roll with it.
Stock up: Dylan McCaffrey, QB
When Patterson came out with cramps, it was McCaffrey, not Brandon Peters, who marched onto the field to try and save the day. Jim Harbaugh later said at his presser Peters had been dealing with an injury all week and was unable to play, hence McCaffrey going in.
He didn’t light up the world, but he did solid work — 4-of-6 for 22 yards. He also ran thrice for 10 yards.
It’s safe to say Michigan no longer has a quarterback issue. The offensive issues, in my opinion, now solely fall on the offensive line.
Stock down: Donovan Peoples-Jones, PR
Notice I have his stock going down as a punt returner, because it was another frustrating night watching the former 5-star yield punts.
First, he tried returning one from within the 5-yard line. Not a good idea. Then he tried faking out Notre Dame by signaling a fair catch...only to have the ball land around the 5-yard line, leaving the Wolverines pinned deep yet again.
I’d give Ambry Thomas a reaaaaaal good look this week at punt returning duties. He looked stellar last night on special teams. Speaking of...
Stock up: Ambry Thomas, KR
Thomas gave the Wolverines something they desperately needed before halftime — a touchdown.
He took one back 99 yards for the score, and did so in impressive fashion. Thomas could very well be the fastest player on the team, which is one of a few reasons why I’d give him a shot at the punt returning job, too. He has shown time and time again, dating back to last season, he is a weapon on special teams. If I were a coach for U-M, I’d want to give him the ball as much as I could.
Stock down: Michigan tight ends
This was a rough night for Michigan tight ends, but more specifically for a guy that I have advocated for all offseason — Zach Gentry.
Gentry dropped a couple key passes, including one on fourth and 10 in the end zone. He also missed on blocks and nearly got Patterson killed, but he was luckily able to avoid the sack and escape for a nine-yard rush.
Sean McKeon, Nick Eubanks and Gentry put up a combined five catches for 31 yards. Not a good start for the tight end group whatsoever.
Do you agree with my picks? Who’s stock went up in your mind, and who’s went down? Let us know in the comments.