The Wolverine

April 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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APRIL 2021 THE WOLVERINE 43 2 Kicks returned for touchdowns in two seasons for Jackson (vs. Mar yland in 2019, against Rut- gers in 2020). It's also the number of Michigan play- ers who have more than one kick return for touchdown in their career (Des- mond Howard also has two). 91 Career touchbacks for Moody on 193 kickoffs (47.2 per- cent). He's been out- standing in that role. POSITION BATTLE TO WATCH Moody has handled kickoffs and done it well for most of his career, but will the coaches want him to do both that and placekicking, or just concentrate on the latter? They could decide to let Doman handle kickoff duties if there's no drop-off, which would allow Moody to focus on his consistency as a placekicker. WHO'S GONE PLACEKICKER QUINN NORDIN The edgy kicker was truly an enigma, coming through with some big kicks at times, including a pair of 50-yarders in his 2017 debut against Florida, but also going through rough stretches in which he seemed to have the yips. PUNTER WILL HART The Big Ten Eddleman-Fields Punter of the Year in 2018 was solid in 2019 (44.2 average) but lost his job to Robbins last year, kicking only four times. He entered the transfer portal this winter, and was also the team's holder on field goals. WHO'S BACK JUNIOR PLACEKICKER JAKE MOODY Moody started strong, making 10 of 11 field goals in replacing Nordin in 2018, but he's been inconsistent since. He's gone 7 of 13 in the last two years, though he's consistently been high and long with his kickoffs. REDSHIRT JUNIOR PUNTER BRAD ROBBINS The 2017 honorable mention All-Big Ten pick won his job back from Hart last year and punted 23 times in five games, averaging 45.3 yards per punt (10th na- tionally) with a long of 66. He earned honorable mention all-conference hon- ors for the second time. SOPHOMORE RETURNER GILES JACKSON The diminutive return man/receiver av- eraged 27.2 yards per return to rank 11th nationally among players with 10-plus returns, including a 95-yard touchdown in a win at Rutgers. The Wolverines led the Big Ten in kick-return average (24.8 yards per return) due mostly to his ef- forts. Jackson also handled punt return duties and averaged 9.0 yards on five runbacks with a long of 32. FRESHMAN RETURNER BLAKE CORUM Corum was the 'other' returner next to Jackson, but he also has a chance to be explosive in his role. He returned five kicks last season and averaged 19.2 yards per return with a long of 32. He can also return punts. REDSHIRT FRESHMAN LONG SNAPPER WILLIAM WAGNER The redshirt freshman stepped in for Camaron Cheeseman, a multi-year starter who opted out last season, and handled the snapping duties in all six games. TOP NEWCOMER KICKER/PUNTER TOMMY DOMAN Doman will arrive in June as a five-star kicking prospect, ranked as the No. 1 punter and No. 2 kicker nationally in Kornblue Kicking's Fab50. Former U-M kicker Brandon Kornblue has worked extensively with him and believes he has the ability to thrive in either duty in the early going. SPECIAL TEAMS BY CHRIS BALAS "I watch Jake Moody stand on the 50 and bomb kicks through [the uprights] during pregame. He's got the leg strength and won the battle once with Quinn Nordin, but he needs to show the consistency he had back when he was a freshman. "Giles Jackson has shown flashes, but to become a special return man, I feel you need to do it in the biggest games." — Michigan football sideline reporter Doug Karsch QUOTABLE M i c h i g a n ' s special teams w e re s u p - posed to be a strength last year, but instead they proved to be a mixed bag. Neither of the two placekickers (Quinn Nordin and Jake Moody) became the consistent field goal maker they were expected to be, and the talk of "having the best 1-2 combination in the country" proved to be just that — talk. The two combined to make only three of nine field goal attempts. On the plus side, sophomore Giles Jackson continued to show well as a kick returner. He joined redshirt junior punter Brad Robbins in earning Big Ten postseason honors. There's also plenty of help on the way in the form of poten- tially explosive return men and one of the top incoming kickers/punters in the country with Tommy Doman. SPRING FOOTBALL ANALYSIS . SPRING ROSTER No. Name Pos. Class Ht. Wt. Hometown 2 Blake Corum KR/PR Fr. 5-8 200 Marshall, Va. 0 Giles Jackson KR/PR So. 5-9 188 Antioch, Calif. 13 Jake Moody PK Jr. 6-0 200 Northville, Mich. 91 Brad Robbins P R-Jr. 6-1 195 Westerville, Ohio 36 Greg Tarr* LS Fr. 6-2 200 Washington, Mich. 49 William Wagner* LS R-Fr. 6-1 238 Alpharetta, Ga. Position coach: Jay Harbaugh (seventh year at U-M, second as special teams coordinator) PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL BY THE NUMBERS *Walk-on JAKE MOODY

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