The college football offseason is just in its infancy, but we here at Maize n Brew are fanatics of the sport. We live, breathe, eat and sleep college football. There is nothing quite like it and, frankly, it’s one of the reasons I love this job so much.
With that said, let’s talk about the future of the Michigan Wolverines. The 2023 season looks to be another potentially great one, as the program returns countless contributors on both sides of the ball. A good bulk of that production is on the offensive side. Guys like J.J. McCarthy, Blake Corum, Donovan Edwards, Roman Wilson and more are back in Ann Arbor and looking to win their third consecutive Big Ten Championship.
Even though the offseason just began, we are going to dive into the 2023 depth chart for Michigan. We’ll take a look at the defense tomorrow but for today, let’s take a look at the offense and where I think things stand as of today, Jan. 17.
Note: * signifies a true freshman; ** signifies a transfer
QB: J.J. McCarthy, Davis Warren, Jack Tuttle**, Alex Orji, Jayden Denegal, Kendrick Bell*
RB: Blake Corum, Donovan Edwards, Kalel Mullings, CJ Stokes, Isaiah Gash, Tavierre Dunlap, Cole Cabana*, Benjamin Hall*
WR: Cornelius Johnson, Roman Wilson, A.J. Henning, Tyler Morris, Darrius Clemons, Amorion Walker, Karmello English*, Semaj Morgan*, Fredrick Moore*
TE: Colston Loveland, AJ Barner**, Max Bredeson, Matthew Hibner, Marlin Klein, Deakon Tonielli*, Zack Marshall*
LT: LaDarius Henderson**, Jeff Persi, Andrew Gentry, Connor Jones, Evan Link*
LG: Trevor Keegan, Giovanni El-Hadi, LaDarius Henderson**, Nathan Efobi*
C: Drake Nugent**, Greg Crippen, Raheem Anderson, Amir Herring*
RG: Zak Zinter, Giovanni El-Hadi, Reece Atteberry, Nathan Efobi*
RT: Myles Hinton**, Karsen Barnhart/Trente Jones, Andrew Gentry, Tristan Bounds
Explaining my selections/general thoughts
-First off, if you see some true freshmen above that you have high hopes for that you think are way too low down the depth chart, remember that this is a depth chart as of today, not what I believe will be a final depth chart come September. I have high hopes for guys like English, Morgan and Cabana, but they have to earn a higher spot on the depth chart first.
-McCarthy is your starter at quarterback — that’s as sure as sunshine. Davis Warren looked good in his limited snaps in 2022. Tuttle will be the “Alan Bowman” of the group who adds leadership and experience. Everyone else has either little or no experience, so the pecking order after Tuttle is truly a coin toss.
-Corum/Edwards is once again the 1A/1B two-headed monster. I know Mullings left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth after the Fiesta Bowl, but he edged out Stokes late last year; hopefully the soon-to-be sophomore can emerge as a spring standout and make some noise heading into the fall. Cabana has elite speed, so I expect to see him get some run on offense and on special teams.
-Wide receiver is a bit thin, in my opinion. The Wolverines really need a couple of their second-year receivers — Walker, Morris and Clemons — to make a big impact in 2023. Wilson, Johnson and Henning are all solid players, but by no means is that an elite group. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Michigan take a look at the portal for a wideout.
-It sucks losing Erick All and Luke Schoonmaker, but Loveland is a star in the making. He built a strong rapport with McCarthy late in 2022 when Schoonmaker was out with an injury and has sky-high potential. Barner is a versatile veteran who should play a lot. Bredeson also got some decent run last year and will be one of the go-to guys at the position moving forward. Hibner will provide depth while Klein, Tonielli and Marshall still learn the ropes.
-Finally, the offensive line is going to be stacked once again, but making this depth chart was pretty challenging. Henderson should be able to take over as the starting left tackle for the departing Ryan Hayes; he played there early in his career at Arizona State. Keegan and Zinter both back is absolutely huge. I’ve got a couple Stanford transfers in Nugent and Hinton penciled in at the starting center and right tackle positions, respectively.
-As for where the reserve offensive linemen fall...your guess is as good as mine. Sherrone Moore cross-trains all his guys, so they could really play any spot. El-Hadi, for example, has primarily played left guard, but he has the versatility to move to the right side if need be. I’ve also got Gentry as the third-string left and right tackle since he has positional versatility as well. Henderson, who I have slotted at the starting left tackle, could also play left guard in a pinch if injuries happen, which is why I have him as the third-stringer.
What do you think of this depth chart? Anything egregious? Any complaints? Look good? Let me know down in the comments what you think!