The Wolverine

September 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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SEPTEMBER 2016 THE WOLVERINE 45 Devin Funchess included after he left for the NFL with a year of eligibility re- maining). At this point, the class grade would probably be closer to a B. As for the 2013 group? There's still plenty to prove. "The sky's the limit, but it's not re- ally about me — it's about the team," senior safety Dymonte Thomas said. "I want to see how good we can be this year. Hopefully, this will be a big year for me but also for our recruiting class; we call this the 'money year' — the year when we earn all our money. We're excited to leave it out there each and every day on the field. "We have so much talent … one thing we talk about is after the season when we have a pro day, it's going to be something special. Our whole defense is going to be in there. A lot of guys came back and we have lot of talent, so the defense should be some- thing special — could be. But we have to go out each and every day and play like we are something special." Our annual class-by-class review, starting with the 2013 group: THE TOP FOUR CONTRIBUTORS SO FAR 1. Jourdan Lewis, CB: A 2015 All-Big Ten and All-America selection (USA Today), Lewis has emerged as one of the best cover corners in the nation. The Jim Thorpe Award semifinalist as the nation's top defensive back set a school record with 22 passes broken up last year and also picked off two passes. He could play some offense this year and will also con- tribute on kick returns. 2. Jake Butt, TE: Butt should break the program's top tight end mark of 132 catches held by Jack Clancy (1963-66) — he enters his fourth year with 92 after hauling in 51 for 654 yards a year ago. He was first- team All-Big Ten and won the 2015 Kwalick-Clark Big Ten Tight End of the Year award in addition to first- team All-America honors (Sports Il- lustrated and CBS Sports). 3. De'Veon Smith, RB: The 5-11, 228-pounder was a three-star recruit, but has emerged as U-M's tough- est running back. He rushed for 753 yards a year ago, averaging 4.2 yards per carry, and also caught 19 passes out of the backfield to earn All-Big Ten honorable mention honors. He's also U-M's best pass protector at his position. 4. Delano Hill, S: Hill, one of the more physically gifted players on the team, appeared in 13 games at safety last year, making eight starts. The 6-1, 215-pounder was playing his best foot- ball at the end of last season and fin- ished with 46 tackles, 2.5 for loss and two passes broken up. One of them came on fourth down at the goal line at Indiana, securing the win after two overtimes. READY TO MAKE AN IMPACT THIS FALL Channing Stribling, CB: The 6-2, 175-pound Stribling was the MVP of the final spring practice in Florida, head coach Jim Harbaugh joking he probably caught more passes than the receivers that day. He made four starts last year and got off his season off to a great beginning before injuries slowed him. He still finished with three passes broken up and two interceptions, but Harbaugh believes he could be great this year. Maurice Hurst Jr., DL: Hurst has appeared in 20 games as a reserve de- fensive lineman, making four starts, but he's set to become an even more integral part of the deep and talented line. He should play more three-tech- nique tackle after seeing plenty of time at nose tackle last year and should be a force as a pass rusher. He notched three sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss among his 35 stops a year ago. Ben Gedeon, LB: Gedeon assumed a leadership role this spring and hit the ground running, defensive coordinator Don Brown said on media day. Har- baugh, meanwhile, called him a "stud" in the spring. The 6-3, 247-pounder has appeared in 37 games and made one start a year ago, finishing the season with 34 total stops and three tackles for loss. He could very well be U-M's breakout defensive player of 2016. Taco Charlton, DE: Charlton, now 6-6, 272 pounds after dropping 10 pounds in the offseason, appeared in 13 games at defensive end, making three starts. He showed flashes of his pass rushing ability against Penn State last year, finishing with three tackles for loss and two sacks, and his coaches believe he has it in him to be a force at weakside defensive end. He's ap- peared in 35 career games, making four starts, but his best football seems to be in front of him, even after he notched 5.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss last year among his 30 stops. WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Kyle Bosch, OL: A four-star recruit, Bosch became only the fifth Wolver- ine in school history to start along the offensive line as a true freshman, oc- cupying the role for three games. He took a leave of absence in 2014 and transferred to West Virginia, where he was granted immediate eligibility and started for the Mountaineers last season. Derrick Green, RB: A former five- star talent, Green never panned out at Michigan, choosing to transfer after running for 157 yards in nine games played last year. He averaged 3.3 yards per carry in two of his three years and is now at TCU. Dan Samuelson, OL: Samuelson, a former three-star prospect, never played in his first three years at Michigan and ended up transferring to Eastern Michigan. He'll be eligible to play this season after sitting out last year. Da'Mario Jones, WR: Played in 23 games, mainly on special teams, and finished his Michigan career with two receptions for 13 yards, includ- ing one catch for two yards in 2015. He transferred to Bowling Green and will be eligible immediately as a graduate transfer. Ross Taylor-Douglas, DB: Trans- Senior defensive end Taco Charlton has started just four games in his career, but he has notched 14.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks in his first three years. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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