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Giles Jackson is the ultimate weapon waiting to be unleashed

The shifty playmaker is one of the most exciting pieces of the Michigan offense.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

There are many uncertainties surrounding college football right now. The 2020 season is still in jeopardy, and even if a season does occur it might do so with empty stadiums or a limited schedule. Still, it is never too early to take a look at the Michigan depth chart and the players slated to contribute whenever football does resume. Join us as we comb through the roster and answer key questions heading into this fall.

Giles Jackson, true SO

247 Composite Ranking: 4 stars (WR 41, Overall 303)
2019 Stats: 10 rush, 69 yards, 1 TD; 9 rec, 142 yards, 1 TD; 24 kick return, 622 yards, 1 TD

When Josh Gattis speaks of speed in space, one of the first players to come to mind should be Giles Jackson. Though he saw limited action as a freshman, the offensive weapon showed down the stretch that he could turn into something big in the future. With a year under his belt and plenty of opportunities ahead of him, that future could be now.

Jackson was an extremely exciting recruit who was not expected to do a ton his first season on campus due to the number of bodies around him. He does not occupy the exact same role as Mike Sainristil, but the glowing reports of his teammate did put him fairly far down wide receiver depth chart to start the season. By the time the year ended, however, Jackson had done enough to have everyone daydreaming about what he might become as a sophomore.

How will Michigan best utilize Jackson this season?

One of the most intriguing roles in the spread offense is the spread-H, a running back/slot receiver hybrid. Looking at Jackson’s modest rookie stats points to this exact sort of role; his touches were nearly split between carries (coming from sweeps and end arounds) and catches. Michigan does not have another player that can fulfill this position. Chris Evans is probably the closest, but he has spent his time as a running back first that can add in some receiving.

Jackson has undeniable speed which was on display as a kick returner. His touchdown on the opening kickoff against Maryland jump started his close to the season which featured the vast majority of his offensive production. He scored the first touchdown of The Game on a reverse end around, and his 57 receiving yards against Alabama wound up leading the team. If there ever was going to be a true offensive weapon under Gattis, Jackson is it.

Michigan should be pretty solid among the skill positions, albeit a little young. This means that Jackson will be able to flex his positional versatility and move throughout the formation, forcing defenses to keep an eye on him at all times. Few players are going to be able to match his speed, and as he continues to grow in the offense, he should see even more ways to be used creatively in a scheme that promises to feature its playmakers.

Gattis has to be chomping at the bit to unlock Jackson this season. Whether it is through RPOs or gadget plays and misdirections, this is the perfect player to get into space and watch him fly. The way that he started to play a bigger role in the offense late in the year indicates that the coaches are ready for him to carry that into 2020. The talent is there, as are the expectations. Look for Jackson to take a giant leap forward this season.