The Wolverine

February 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 185 of 187

W ith its 41‑7 victory over Florida in the Citrus Bowl, Michigan is a hot name this offseason with four national media outlets placing the Wolverines in their preseason top 10 for 2016. Returning eight of 11 starters offen‑ sively and six of 11 defensively, U‑M is in the best spot among Big Ten East teams to win the division and play for the confer‑ ence title. Ohio State was, arguably, the best team in the league in 2015, its lone loss to Michigan State an anomaly, but the Buckeyes have hemorrhaged their best players this winter, seeing nine underclass‑ men — defensive end Joey Bosa, cornerback Eli Apple, safety Vonn Bell, linebacker Darron Lee, tailback Ezekiel Elliott, quarterback Cardale Jones, safety Tyvis Powell, and wide receivers Michael Thomas and Ja‑ lin Marshall — declare for the NFL Draft. Additionally, the Scarlet and Gray say goodbye to eight seniors that started this past season, including three offensive linemen. OSU loses 72.2 percent of its rushing offense, 59.6 percent of its passing yards, 80.4 percent of its re‑ ceptions, five of its top seven tacklers and 51.3 percent of its 38 total sacks. Ohio State's ros‑ ter has been gut‑ ted this offseason, though the team that Urban Mayer puts out in 2016 will boast a Rivals. com average team recruiting ranking of 4.6 over the past five classes. "I'm still default‑ ing to Ohio State," writer Tom Di‑ enhart said. "They get the benefit of the doubt. "They have a tremendous coaching staff, with [new defensive coordina‑ MAIZE N' VIEW   MICHAEL SPATH Looking Ahead To 2016 With Ohio State saying goodbye to eight senior starters and nine talented juniors, plus Michigan State having to replace 13 starters, U-M could surge to the top of the Big Ten East next season. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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