Michigan Football kicks off its 2019 season on Saturday night against Middle Tennessee State in a game where they are heavy favorites. Assuming they take care of business early, we are going to see a ton of guys play and some position battles spill into game action, but who will take the field for the first snaps on each side of the ball?
Based on everything we know from fall camp, here’s how Michigan’s starting lineup should look when they hit the fit on Saturday night. We’ll run through the lineup and then throw in some thoughts at the end.
Disclaimer: We are not allowed inside of practices and have not seen lineups first hand. This is simply our projection based on the information we have available.
Quarterback: Shea Patterson, senior
Running Back: Zach Charbonnet, freshman
Wide Receiver: Donovan Peoples-Jones, junior
Wide Receiver: Nico Collins, junior
Slot: Ronnie Bell, sophomore
Tight End: Nick Eubanks, senior
Left Tackle: Jon Runyan Jr., 5th-year senior
Left Guard: Ben Bredeson, senior
Center: Cesar Ruiz, junior
Right Guard: Michael Onwenu, senior
Right Tackle: Jalen Mayfield, redshirt freshman
Note: There are more roles than spots on the field, so don’t worry, I did not miscount.
Defensive End: Aidan Hutchinson, sophomore
Nose Tackle: Carlo Kemp, senior
Defensive Tackle: Donovan Jeter, redshirt sophomore
Defensive End: Mike Danna, 5th-year senior
SAM Linebacker: Josh Uche, senior
MIKE Likebacker: Joshua Ross, junior
WILL Linebacker: Devin Gil, redshirt junior
VIPER: Khaleke Hudson, senior
Cornerback: Lavert Hill, senior
Free Safety: Brad Hawkins, junior
Strong Safety: Josh Metellus, senior
Cornerback: Vincent Gray, redshirt freshman
Kicker: Jake Moody, sophomore
Punter: Will Hart, redshirt junior
Kick Returner: Giles Jackson, freshman
Punt Returner: Donovan Peoples-Jones, junior
Long Snapper: Camaron Cheeseman, redshirt junior
Alright, let’s get to some quick thoughts here.
- Charbonnet feels like the “starter” at running back this weekend. Whether that means he is on the field or not first remains to be seen, but the growing sense is that right now he may be the back that gets the longest look with the ones.
- Slot receiver and tight and are ones where you can probably flip a coin depending on how they choose to start the game, but the Bell buzz has been high this week and Eubanks feels like Michigan’s best all-around tight end.
- MIKE and WILL spots are two where I think we could see the most rotation this weekend among the starters (outside of defensive line, where they can roll about 9 or 10 deep). Ross feels pretty locked in at his spot in the middle, but I would expect Cam McGrone and Jordan Anthony to be in and out at some point while the No. 1 defense is still on the field.
- Gray will likely get the first look on the other side of Hill at cornerback, but Jaylen Kelly-Powell, Gemon Green and DJ Turner may get an audition, as well. We will have to wait and see how it goes.
- Kicker is another coin-flip where we stand today. The competition between Moody and Quinn Nordin has been back-and-forth all camp and as recent as Wednesday, Michigan left the door open for both of them to play and kick field goals and extra points. Nordin sort of fell off last season, but it sounds like he has his confidence back to pair with the big leg. We’ll see here.
- The kick returner projection is a total dart board throw at the moment. Chris Partridge named seven guys who are still in contention for that job this week. Jackson is my pick because it feels the most exciting of the bunch and he may be too good an athlete to keep off the field.