We are through five seasons of the Jim Harbaugh era of Michigan Football and despite a lack of hardware in the trophy room, the program has had no shortage of talent walking through the door each year. This week at Maize n Brew, we are taking a look at the 50 best players under Harbaugh at Michigan so far.
Thursday sees us ranking the No. 20 through 11 players with 10 more names being revealed until the final list on Friday.
(Note: I made some adjustments to the list from the last few days and switched some players around.)
Here we go!
20. Aidan Hutchinson (2018-present)
Hutchinson — a third-team All-Big Ten performer in 2019 — is still a relative newcomer, but is another young prospect that has a chance to shoot up this list. He started 13 games on the defensive line last season and made 68 tackles (10.5 for loss), 4.5 sacks, six passes defended, four quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles as a true sophomore. Another season like that will have him in the conversation as one of the most disruptive defensive linemen of the Harbaugh era.
19. David Long, cornerback (2016-18)
Long was a two-time All-Big Ten performer at Michigan and received first team honors from the coaches in 2018. He made 26 starts the last two seasons of his career in Ann Arbor and declared early for the 2019 NFL Draft, where he was a third round selection of the Los Angeles Rams. Long had three picks in his college career, but was very quietly one of the best cornerbacks in the country.
18. Shea Patterson, quarterback (2018-19)
Patterson certainly left some potential on the field at Michigan, but the overall resume is strong. Patterson made every start at quarterback for the Wolverines in the two seasons he was there and was a two-time All-Big Ten honoree. He leaves the program as the top-ranked passer in school history in terms of passing yards per game at 217.7. He is also No. 7 in passing yards (5,661) and No. 6 in touchdowns thrown (45). He was a good, not great, college quarterback. The national obsession of bashing him is odd.
17. Jake Rudock, quarterback (2015)
I considered putting Patterson and Rudock as tied to really trigger some people online, but Rudock gets the slight nod because he went out on a higher note. The former Iowa transfer was simply supposed to come in and be a placeholder, but had QBRs of 99.4, 95.7, 74.2, 89.8 and 98.5 in his final five games and was just the second player of the last 20 years at the time to throw for 400-plus yards and six touchdowns in a game, which took place at Indiana in a 48-41 double-overtime win.
At the end of the day, the differences between the two quarterbacks here comes down to sample size, hype coming into the program and where the best career performances came. The biggest similarity is that both guys were only able to lead 9-10 win teams.
16. Nico Collins, wide receiver (2017-present)
Collins’ production over the last two seasons does not really tell the whole story about the caliber of player that he is. Given the crowded wide receiver room and changes to the offense, the ability for him to shine as a No. 1 option has not always been there, but he has been Michigan’s best all-around wide receiver over the last few seasons. Collins’ 75 catches and 13 touchdowns over the last two years have earned him All-Big Ten honorable mention accolades with a chance to move up higher on this list, as well.
15. Khaleke Hudson, linebacker/safety (2016-19)
Hudson appeared in 52 games in his Michigan career with 37 starts at the VIPER position, a hybrid linebacker/safety role. He is a three-time All-Big Ten honoree and holds the Michigan record for most tackles for loss in a single game with 8 vs. Minnesota in 2017). Coming out of high school, Hudson was a three-star prospect and the No. 386 player in the country, per 247Sports’ composite.
14. Taco Charlton, defensive end (2013-16)
Charlton was a monster in 2016 and wound up being selected in the first round by the Dallas Cowboys after a All-Big Ten first team campaign. Charlton had 43 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks and two passes defended. He was a big of a late bloomer with 14 of his 15 career starts coming in 2015-16, but was nearly unblockable in that final season.
13. Josh Uche, linebacker (2016-19)
Uche only made nine starts in his career, but appeared in 39 career games and was a force to be reckoned with from multiple spots on the field. The two-time All-Big Ten honoree was Michigan’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2019 and tallied 15.5 sacks over the last two seasons with 19.5 tackles for loss and also had three passes defended and three forced fumbles in his Michigan days.
12. Chris Wormley, defensive end (2012-16)
“Big Worm” appeared in 51 games in his time in Ann Arbor, making 30 starts. He was a two-time All-Big Ten performer and second-team All-American by the Sporting News in 2016. His career saw him record 123 tackles, 33 tackles for loss, 18 sacks and one fumble recovery. He won the team’s Richard Katcher Award in both 2015 and 2016, which goes to the team’s best defensive line player.
11. Mason Cole, offensive lineman (2014-17)
Cole is somehow one of the more underrated players of recent Michigan history, as he made 51 consecutive starts up front on the offensive line at both left tackle and center. He was a three-time All-Big Ten honoree. Cole was the first true freshman to ever start on the offensive line in program history when he did so in the season opener against Appalachian State in