The Wolverine

August 2020

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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20 THE WOLVERINE AUGUST 2020 BY JOHN BORTON M ichigan's football season hangs in the balance, its starting quarterback re- mains an unknown, and 80 percent of its offensive line will be altered. It shouldn't come as any surprise, then, that four of the top five Wolver- ines in this year's edition of the top 25 involve players on the defensive side of the football. The staff of The Wolverine annually votes on the top combination of talent, impact and indispensability to arrive at those coveted spots. This year, junior defensive end Aidan Hutchinson clawed his way to the top of the list. The 6-6, 278-pound veteran earned third-team All-Big Ten notice by conference coaches a year ago, and shared the Richard Katcher Award in 2019 for the team's top defensive line- man with senior end Kwity Paye. Paye is also among Michigan's top five this season, along with senior cornerback and return man Ambry Thomas, and redshirt sophomore line- backer Cameron McGrone. The only player on offense to crack the top five is senior wide receiver Nico Collins. That begs the question, what about quarterbacks? Aren't they the most indispensable players on the field for any college football squad? Without spring practice, though, the battle for the top job remains clouded in more mystery than usual in a quarterback replacement year. The voting reflects a possible out- come, but the assurance wasn't there to boost anyone to the top handful. Here it is, then — the 2020 version of The Wolverine's top 25, ready for inspection and debate. 1. AIDAN HUTCHINSON, JR., DE The son of a former Michigan All- American looks ready to take the leap into dominating at the college level. He made huge strides last sea- son, his first as a full-time starter. Hutchinson racked up 68 tackles, 10 stops for loss, 4.5 sacks, six passes bro- MICHIGAN'S TOP 25 Defense Dominates At The Top, While Offense Reloads Junior defensive end Aidan Hutchinson was named a third-team preseason All-American by Athlon. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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