The Wolverine

September 2019

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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SEPTEMBER 2019 THE WOLVERINE 9 BY RYAN TICE F our different Wolverines made national countdowns of the top players heading into the 2019 campaign. Perhaps the biggest surprise, though, was graduate trans- fer defensive end Mike Danna checking in at No. 22 on Pro Football Focus' top-50 list. Maybe even more shocking was the fact that he was the only Michigan player listed. "Heading to Michigan af- ter a dominant career at Cen- tral Michigan, Danna brings with him a ridiculous set of pass-rush moves and a strong presence in the run game," PFF wrote. "He ripped off 50 or more pressures in each of the last two seasons, includ- ing 55 a year ago with 19 combined sacks and hits. "Purely projection at this point, his ability to shed blocks and get after the quarterback should trans- late nicely to the Wolverines defensive front after several losses this offseason. Over the past two seasons, Danna has won 24.3 percent of his pass rushes, the second-highest rate in the nation." Three U-M standouts made Sports Illustrated's count- down, led by senior viper linebacker Khaleke Hudson at No. 40. "Roaming all over the field in the Jabrill Peppers mold, Hudson is a playmaker more than anything else, both near the line of scrimmage and deep in the secondary," the out- let noted. "His numbers saw a sharp decline in 2018 from his breakout 2017 season, but he's still a highly talented, highly versatile player." Senior cornerback Lavert Hill checked in at No. 67, while senior quarterback Shea Patterson was listed at No. 90. The latter was one of 13 signal-callers that made the cut and was three slots behind Ohio State's Justin Fields. Only seven programs had more than the Wolverines' three top-100 honorees. Patterson was also listed at No. 26 by and No. 31 by Sporting News. "Patterson had success in 2018 and will now be leading an offense that better suits his ability and style of play in 2019," wrote. "The addition of offensive coordinator Josh Gattis should translate to even more pro- duction after his 2,600-yard, 22-touchdown season in 2018," Sporting News con- curred. "Jim Harbaugh must let Patterson improvise with a group of talented receiv- ers; if he does, Patterson can prove this ranking right by leading the Wolverines to their first Big Ten champion- ship since 2004." Patterson was also seventh on Yahoo! Sports' Pat Forde's list of the "25 college football QBs I'd pay to see in 2019." Redshirt sophomore Tarik Black is flying a bit under the radar after missing most of the last two seasons, but Forde included the pass catcher among his 25 most intriguing non-quarterbacks in college football. "Everyone is waiting to see how good he can be, if only his body will cooperate," Forde wrote. "Black has missed most of his two seasons at Michigan due to foot inju- ries, having played in a total of nine games and made 15 catches. The early flashes were impressive — 11 receptions for 149 yards in his first three college games — before the first injury struck. Last season, he made minimal impact after missing the first seven games. "But with other Michigan receivers sitting out the spring due to their own injuries, Black had a chance to shine in Josh Gattis' new offense. He could combine with Nico Col- lins and Donovan Peoples-Jones to give the Wolverines the best wideout corps not in Tuscaloosa or Clemson." As a team, Michigan is fairly highly regarded in the lat- est preseason rankings, and although some have hyped Inside Michigan ATHLETICS Wolverines Populate Various Preseason Top Player Lists Senior viper linebacker Khaleke Hudson checked in highest among the Wolverines on Sports Illustrated's list of the top 100 college foot- ball players, ranking No. 40. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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