The Wolverine

February 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 25 of 67

26 THE WOLVERINE FEBRUARY 2022 BY CLAYTON SAYFIE DEPARTURES Dan Villari The former three-star recruit did not see action in 2020, then played in four games in 2021. He completed one of his three passes for 26 yards, rushed for 35 yards and will transfer to Syracuse. RETURNERS Redshirt junior Alan Bowman The Texas Tech transfer played in just three games last season, completing 2 of 4 pass attempts for nine yards with one interception. He threw for 5,260 yards and 33 touchdowns from 2018-20 with the Red Raiders. Redshirt sophomore Cade McNamara After taking over starting duties late in the 2020 campaign, he opened all 14 contests this fall, connected on 210 of his 327 throws (64.2 percent) for 2,576 yards with 15 touchdowns and six in- terceptions. He also had 37 carries for 26 yards and one score. Sophomore J.J. McCarthy The former four-star recruit served as McNamara's backup but rotated in during 11 outings, mostly being used in the read-option game. He completed 34 of 59 passes for 516 yards with five touchdowns and two picks, and ran for 124 yards and two scores on 27 carries. NEWCOMERS Freshman Jayden Denegal The Apple Valley (Calif.) High prod- uct earned a consensus four-star rating from The 6-4, 215-pounder was tabbed as the No. 32 player in the state of California, and the No. 25 quar- terback and No. 444 overall player in the nation. Freshman Alex Orji The 6-2, 226-pounder is a dynamic playmaker who could have positional flexibility in the future, having thrown 28 touchdowns and ran for 24 scores in his senior year at Sachse (Texas) High. He was ranked the No. 414 overall player and No. 18 athlete in the class per the On3 Consensus. QUARTERBACKS 2022 LOOK AHEAD 2022 ANALYSIS Michigan's quarterback play should be improved in 2022, since the starter is back with a backup who will push him throughout the offseason. Many even be- lieve McCarthy — who possesses more mobility and arm strength — may win the job, but it's fair to assume McNamara will also continue to get better. Michigan averaged 8.1 yards per pass attempt (tied for 37th nationally) and was timely, with 121 first downs picked up through the air. By the end of the season, the quarterback rotation was working smoothly, each knowing his role. At the same time, Michigan went five games without throwing a touchdown pass. While McNamara limited turnovers and managed the offense well, the Wolverines only threw on 40.7 percent of their plays while leaning on a strong run game. Michigan ranked 68th nationally with 228.7 passing yards per game, and its quarterbacks only completed 25 passes that traveled 20 or more yards in the air according to Pro Football Focus. There's still a next step for the passing offense, which includes more of a down- field attack. It'll be crucial to unlock that element, considering the run game will likely not be as proficient without running back Hassan Haskins on the roster. On top of that, a big concern is keeping both McNamara and McCarthy happy, especially with the way the transfer portal has taken off in college football. The former was the starter on a Big Ten title team and a leader of the offense, so a switch could cause some strain, even though the two appear to have a great rela- tionship with each other and the rest of the team. An even heavier platoon could be in order, but only time will tell. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - February 2022