The Wolverine

February 2020

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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32 THE WOLVERINE FEBRUARY 2020 BY AUSTIN FOX Quarterback Projected Starter: R-Jr. Dylan McCaf- frey Top Backup: R-So. Joe Milton It's safe to assume that whichever of the two aforementioned quarterbacks doesn't win the starting job will wind up being the backup, with rising red- shirt freshman Cade McNamara likely still a year or two away. Both McCaffrey and Milton are rela- tively inexperienced, however, with the former only having attempted 35 career passes and the latter just 11. It's clear head coach Jim Harbaugh held Mc- Caffrey in high regard coming into the 2019 campaign, evidenced by the fact that he said he planned on playing both him and senior Shea Patterson regularly this season when he spoke about it in July at Big Ten Media Days. That plan was derailed, however, when McCaf- frey suffered a concussion in the loss at Wisconsin Sept. 21, with the redshirt sophomore only playing 21 snaps from that point on and perhaps opening the door a bit for Milton heading into 2020. The two combined to go 13-of-27 passing for 175 yards with two touch- downs and an interception in 2019, and they each also rushed for one score. When Milton met with the media prior to the Citrus Bowl Jan. 1, he noted the competition for the starting spot started "in the beginning of the bowl practice." Running Back Projected Starter: So. Zach Charbon- net Top Backup: R-So. Hassan Haskins The two were basically co-starters in 2019, with Charbonnet starting the first six games of the year and Haskins the final six (game seven opened with a four- wideout and one-tight end formation). It's fair to expect the tandem to once again be co-starters in 2020, though there should be more competition at the spot with the arrival of incoming freshman Blake Corum, the No. 67 overall player in the country according to Rivals, and the return of rising fifth-year senior Chris Evans, who was suspended for the entire 2019 campaign. A pair of rising redshirt sophomores in Christian Turner and Ben VanSumeren also return. Charbonnet and Haskins will likely be ahead of the pack, however, after combining for 1,348 yards and 15 scores on the ground in 2019. Evans, who has rushed for 1,722 yards and 14 touch- downs and caught 40 passes for 392 yards and two scores, will also be a factor. Wide Receiver Projected Starters: Sr. Nico Collins, Jr. Ronnie Bell and So. Mike Sainristil Top Backups: So. Giles Jackson, So. Cornelius Johnson and Fr. A.J. Henning The Maize and Blue received a sig- nificant boost Jan. 5 when Collins an- nounced his return for the 2020 cam- paign, bringing his 729 yards and seven touchdown catches from last fall back with him. "He's on the short list already when we talk about the top receivers for next year 's [NFL Draft] class," Draft- Countdown.com's Scott Wright told The Wolverine. The duo of Collins and Bell — who led the club in both receptions and yards in 2019, with 48 and 758, respec- tively — should form one of the better wideout tandems in the nation next year. Those two will be surrounded by a trio of rising sophomores bursting with potential in Sainristil, Jackson and Johnson, after the three combined for 21 receptions, 348 receiving yards and three TD grabs in their debuts. A pair of speedy incoming freshmen in A.J. Henning and Roman Wilson could also see early playing time, espe- cially the former, who Rivals rated as a four-star recruit and the No. 86 overall prospect in the nation. Tight End Projected Starter: 5th-Sr. Nick Eu- banks Top Backup: So. Erick All Eubanks is the odds-on favorite to reclaim his starting role in 2020 after receiving the starting nod in 10 games this season and hauling in 25 recep- tions for 243 yards and four scores. With Sean McKeon (235 yards and two touchdowns) gone to graduation, one of the club's young tight ends — likely either All or rising redshirt sophomore Luke Schoonmaker — will need to step up and assert themselves as the No. 2 man at the position. All played in 11 contests as a freshman in 2019, but only hauled in one reception for 10 yards. Schoonmaker, meanwhile, hauled in a 29-yard reception against Rutgers Sept. 28 and snared a 25-yard touchdown pass in the win at Illinois Oct. 12, but failed to register another catch the rest of the way. Incoming freshman Matt Hibner will be in the mix to see playing time as well. A Too-Early Look At THE 2020 WOLVERINES The Wolverine Tries To Predict Michigan's Depth Chart Next Fall In limited action across 13 games, rising redshirt junior quarterback Dylan McCaffrey has thrown for 242 yards and three scores with no interceptions, and rushed for 166 yards and two touchdowns. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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