The 2022 Michigan football season is 43 days away and as it inches closer and closer, preseason watchlists and predictions only fuel the fiery hype surrounding Team 143. Several Wolverines have been recognized recently and with the release of PFF’s preseason top positional rankings, several more have made the cut.
Of the released rankings, here are where the Wolverines stack up:
Interior Linemen - No. 6 Olu Oluwatimi
Oluwatimi comes to Ann Arbor as a transfer from Virginia and last season was a finalist for the Rimington Award. Oluwatimi is the most talented center to play at Michigan since Cesar Ruiz and will be a catalyst for the position group taking another step forward.
Right guard Zak Zinter is a notable omission here. If Zinter can stay healthy for all 12 games, expect him to grade out as one of the top guards in the country.
Offensive Tackles - No. 23 Ryan Hayes
The case could be made for Hayes to be in the top 15, but this placement is tolerable. Hayes is a powerful, converted tight end who moves quickly and authoritatively when isolated. It is no surprise he is constantly improving considering the players he has blocked day in and day out in practice the last two seasons.
Tight Ends - No. 6 Erick All
Finally, Erick All is getting the praise he deserves for his excellent and well-rounded 2021 season. All was a sure-handed target who could take a ball 60 yards to the house as easily as he could erase linebackers.
PFF also grouped All as one of their biggest sleepers at the position because of his run-blocking prowess and capacity to take another step this season.
TE2 Luke Schoonmaker is a dark horse here because of his size and complete skillset. If given enough touches, he could crack the top 25.
Wide Receivers - No. 19 Ronnie Bell
If Ronnie Bell had not been sidelined with an injury last year, we would be discussing his rookie NFL season and not another year at Michigan. In just a few brief moments in 2021, he became one of the biggest “what if” players in recent memory.
Bell’s placement here is a projection factoring in his return from the knee injury suffered against Western Michigan. If Bell can return to the form he provided a glimpse of against the Broncos, he will finish in the top 10.
Running Backs - No. 3 Blake Corum, No. 14 Donovan Edwards
No notes needed.
But seriously, Michigan will feature the best 1-2 running back combo in the nation next year. If both players can ease the burden on the other and stay healthy, they could accomplish things scarcely seen in college football.
Quarterbacks - No. 29 Cade McNamara
Cade McNamara is such a difficult evaluation. On one hand, he’s a limited passer whose dry spells can sober up any hopes of a high-octane offensive party. On the other, he is an unrivaled leader, elite decision-maker and the first Michigan quarterback to beat Ohio State and win the Big Ten Championship since the Bush administration.
However, he must first hold off rising sophomore J.J. McCarthy for the starting job in fall camp. If McNamara can retain his starting position, with this offensive line and the multitude of skill position players around him, he will take a leap forward in 2022.