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Predicting Michigan’s starting offense in 2023

An offense that returns the third most production in the Power Five only has a few holes to fill.

Michigan v Rutgers Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

As spring football slowly drifts into memory and fall football inches closer to the forefront, the starting positions for Team 144 of the Michigan Wolverines slowly become more clear.

Nothing drastic is expected to change with the roster between now and the fall, besides the inevitable August Jon Jansen podcast where head coach Jim Harbaugh muddies the waters by praising no less than 50 players.

While most positions are known, a few key spots could still swing the fate of this team in moments of adversity during the season. Here is a projected look at Michigan’s offensive starters for the upcoming season. I listed more players for a few positions based on specific personnel groupings the offense could deploy.


JJ McCarthy

No surprise here. If last season is any indication, McCarthy proved that any quarterback who dares to challenge him will be exiled to Iowa. Back-ups Davis Warren, Jack Tuttle, and Alex Orji provide solid depth, but no one is confused about who the starter on this team is.

Running Back

Blake Corum/ Donovan Edwards

This is a true 1A/1B situation. Even more so than last year, expect to see an even split of carries this season at the top of the depth chart to preserve health for games in November and December.

Wide Receivers

1) Cornelius Johnson

2) Roman Wilson

3) Peyton O’Leary

4) Tyler Morris

The top two here are no surprise, but the star of spring ball moving into the top three is. “The Banshee,” Peyton O’Leary has the strongest case to be WR3 on this team after his outstanding performance in the spring game. Sophomore Tyler Morris —and former high school teammate of McCarthy— should be expected to fill in as the fourth receiver after he flashed his potential last season against Rutgers and Nebraska.

NFL analyst Daniel Jeremiah always preaches that a wide receivers room should look like a basketball team with different-sized players and the 2023 receiving corps will have its best balance of height and weight since the 2019 team.

Johnson: 6’3, 208 pounds

Wilson: 6’0, 185 pounds

O’Leary: 6’3, 195 pounds

Morris: 5’11, 185 pounds

Tight Ends

1) Colston Loveland

2) AJ Barner

3) Max Bredeson

4) Matthew Hibner

Loveland has an opportunity to be the best tight end in the country, not just the team. Behind him, is a trio of complementary players to help round out the room. Barner has the highest ceiling as a veteran pass catcher and physical blocker, but it might take him to adjust to the new scheme. Bredeson is a premier H-back for this team who blocks like his first name is “Ben” instead of “Max.” Hibner is a big-body receiver with soft hands who could become an unlikely source of big plays. As long as he avoids turf monster.

Offensive Line

LT- LaDarius Henderson

LG- Trevor Keegan

C- Drake Nugent

RG- Zak Zinter

RT- Myles Hinton

Four positions are locks on this offensive line: Henderson, Keegan, Nugent, and Zinter will all be starting this fall. But the right tackle position remains a toss-up. Last season, Trente Jones won the starting job in the fall before relinquishing it due to an injury to Karsen Barnhart. Once healthy, Jones could not reclaim his position and Barnhart finished out the year.

Adding to the sequel of that battle this fall will be incoming Stanford transfer Myles Hinton who has 16 career starts at right tackle. Of the three, I currently see it like this:

  1. Hinton- His combination of size and specific positional experience should be enough to win the starting job.
  2. Barnhart- The pride of Paw Paw is an offensive lineman’s offensive lineman and is perhaps the most valuable lineman because of his positionless nature. Barnhart is the most versatile player in the room and is the backup at no less than three positions across the line.
  3. Jones- Post-injury, Jones has struggled to return to form. He will most likely be relegated to niche power packages this season as an extra blocker.