The Wolverine

February 2019

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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20 THE WOLVERINE FEBRUARY 2019 downs in 11 games, averaging 107.1 yards per game. Higdon also caught seven passes for 43 yards, his overall effort making him a unanimous first- team All-Big Ten performer. 8. NICO COLLINS Sophomore, WR Collins enjoyed a breakout season in the wake of a training camp injury to classmate Tarik Black. He actually led the team in receiving yardage, with 632, on 38 catches, becoming one of Patterson's favorite deep threats. The second-year Wolverine enjoyed the highest receiving yards per game average on the team (48.6). His six re- ceiving touchdowns were only two off Peoples-Jones' team-leading pace, and Collins clearly established himself as one of Patterson's major targets for 2019. 9. JOSH METELLUS Junior, S Metellus stepped forward as a stal- wart in the back line of the defense. He was fifth on the team in tackles with 48, best among Michigan's secondary. He also tied for the team lead in inter- ceptions with three. The third-year Wolverine posted 3.5 tackles for loss and six passes broken up, earning second-team All-Big Ten status from both coaches and media. Metellus also made it clear he'll be re- turning for his senior season, allowing him to continue helping coordinate the defense. 10. BEN BREDESON Junior, OG Bredeson stepped forward as a leader among Michigan's captains for 2018, performing in all 13 games. He spurred on a much-improved of- fensive line, which produced a 1,000- yard rusher and solid protection for Patterson. Bredeson earned second-team All- Big Ten status from both the confer- ence coaches and media. He stands an excellent chance of becoming a two-time captain as a senior in the coming fall. 11. ZACH GENTRY Redshirt Junior, TE Gentry became Michigan's most undeniable tight end target, mak- ing 32 catches for 514 yards and two touchdowns. He wound up third on the team in both catches and receiving yards, and played in all 13 games. Conference coaches identified him as a third-team All-Big Ten tight end. Despite that relatively tepid assess- ment, Gentry announced following the Peach Bowl that he's giving up his final year of eligibility and trying his hand in the NFL Draft. 12. RASHAN GARY Junior, DE Gary earned the No. 1 spot on the preseason top 25 last August. But an in-season injury caused him to miss several games, and the former five- star prospect shut down his season after the Ohio State game, opting to forego his senior year and enter the NFL Draft. Gary wound up a first-team All-Big Ten defensive lineman (coaches), who recorded 3.5 sacks and seven tack- les for loss among 44 stops, with five quarterback hurries in nine games played. 13. KHALEKE HUDSON Junior, LB Getting called for a pair of targeting penalties cost this third-year Wolver- ine some playing time. He still fin- ished with 44 stops, including two sacks among 3.5 tackles for loss. He also notched three quarterback hurries, broke up a pass, recovered a fumble and blocked a pair of kicks. 14. JOSH UCHE Junior, LB Uche took a major step forward in 2018, becoming one of Michigan's most effective pass rushers. He led the team with seven sacks and posted eight tackles for loss among 15 total stops. He also broke up a pass and regis- tered a quarterback hurry, hinting at big achievements in 2019. 15. BRANDON WATSON Fifth-Year Senior, CB Watson enjoyed a strong final season in a Michigan uniform. He tied for the team lead in interceptions with three and finished second on the squad with seven passes broken up. He contributed 38 stops, including 2.5 for loss, to U-M's effort. 16. JOSH ROSS Sophomore, LB Ross played extensively as a backup linebacker and produced. He recorded 61 tackles, fourth on the squad, with a sack among five tackles for loss. He also broke up a pair of passes and hur- ried the quarterback three times. Ross should make a strong push for a starting job next year. 17. TYREE KINNEL Senior, S Kinnel stepped up as a captain this year, providing consistent play on Michigan's last line of defense. He wound up second on the team with 74 tackles, including three tackles for loss. He provided a pair of passes broken up, along with leadership throughout the year. 18. CESAR RUIZ Sophomore, C Ruiz settled in at center and became a mainstay as the tip of Michigan's spear. He's one of four starting U-M offensive linemen who will return next fall, giving hope for some strong conti- nuity and advancement. Conference coaches chose Ruiz as the third-team All-Big Ten center. 19. WILL HART Redshirt sophomore, P Hart shocked everyone by not only taking over the starting punting du- ties, but by excelling there. He became a unanimous first-team All-Big Ten punter, with his 47.0 average and 19 punts of more than 50 yards. Junior safety Josh Metellus finished fifth on the squad with 48 tackles, while he tied for the team lead with three interceptions and tied for third with six passes broken up. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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