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Roundtable: Players we hope click for Michigan Football in 2021

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It might be now or never for a handful of these Wolverines.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 21 Michigan at Rutgers Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This week, members of the Maize n Brew staff shared their submissions on a player that they hope breaks out this upcoming season for the football program. You will notice a bit of a theme here with one of the team’s biggest question marks.

Without further ado, here we go!


Von Lozon: Mazi Smith. Michigan needs a presence along the defensive line so the linebackers and defensive backs behind it are effective, especially with a new system being put in place by defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald.

Smith was a highly-touted prospect coming out of high school, a four-star and one of Michigan’s biggest targets in the 2019 class. He hasn’t done much up to this point, redshirting after playing in two games his first season, and then once again playing in limited snaps in 2020. But I am hopeful the light turns on for him in 2021 and he has more meaningful playing time on the interior of Michigan’s defensive line. Someone is going to have to step up, and I am hoping he puts it all together this season and makes a name for himself.

Trevor Woods: Whoever the quarterback is! Yes, it seems likely to be McNamara, but he isn’t just going to be handed the keys, he has to earn it this August. Sure, Michigan has had its issues on defense, their offensive line hasn’t always been stout, and we can point to other problems on the roster — but elite play at the quarterback position can turn an 8-4 team into a playoff contender. Michigan has not had elite QB play in a long time, and that’s what it’s going to take to really get over the hump. While Michigan’s offense will strive to be a balanced attack, it would be wonderful to see a QB who can throw the ball 40 times per game and consistently have 400 yards passing and victories in the process.

Jared Stormer: I always have a slew of guys that I am in the trenches for regardless of how bleak their prospects look. I know there were pockets of Wolverine fans in the hills clamoring for more Luiji Vilain playing time as recently as last year, so I know I am not alone.

This year, I am going to have to put an unreasonable amount of faith in DJ Turner and Mazi Smith. Both guys are in a position of need, were highly recruited, and came in with the 2019 recruiting class. There is no knock on either for not contributing to the circus fire that was the 2020 season, but with another year under their belt, each guy is going to be looked to be a contributor. You could pretty much flip a coin to determine which position needs more help, but for me, it is the corners. DJ Turner living up to his 4-star potential would mean only good things for this defense and the team in general.

Matt Eifert: Depth on the interior of the defensive line has been lacking, to say the least over the last few years. Donovan Jeter started to put it all together in 2020 but still has a ways to go. If everything clicks for Jeter and the combination of Mazi Smith and Chris Hinton continue to improve, we could be in store for some good things on the defensive line.

Anthony Broome: Chris Hinton would be my pick here. The former five-star defensive tackle has had some moments here and there, but we’ve yet to see him put it all together. I still have hope that he can unleash his full potential and be a foundational piece upfront for the Michigan defense. We will have to wait and see how he fits within the new scheme, but he is too talented to not be a prominent figure for this defense.


Who is a player you hope has a breakout season? Sound off in the comments below.