The Wolverine

March 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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MARCH 2018 THE WOLVERINE 77   MICHIGAN FOOTBALL and the Bills need pass rushers. They had only 27 sacks in 2017, which ranked 29th in the league." SB Nation's Dan Kadar on Feb. 12 — No. 22 overall to the Buffalo Bills "Kyle Williams will be 35 when next season starts, and the Bills need help up front on the defensive line. Hurst is a disruptive player up the middle and thrives when he can split gaps and create pressure." Land Of 10's Wayne Staats on Feb. 16 — No. 25 overall to the Ten- nessee Titans MLive's Nate Atkins on Feb. 15 — No. 26 overall to the Atlanta Falcons "Maurice Hurst is getting a lot of love this time of year, but the more I watch full games of his, the more I expect teams to slide him down when they do. His size limits him to a three-technique role, and he needs much better technique and plans when he rushes. "The Falcons will like the athleti- cism and believe they can unlock this in him the way they did Grady Jarrett." Not selected in the first round — Walter Football (Feb. 14); The Wash- ington Post (Feb. 14); CBS Sports' Pete Prisco (Feb. 15) — Andrew Vailliencourt SEC County — No. 11 Their Take: "Jim Harbaugh, fair or not, has gotten all sorts of backlash after failing to deliver on sky-high expectations in Ann Arbor. But 2017 always was going to be a rebuilding year. Ole Miss transfer QB Shea Patterson could play as soon as 2018. And that could help Harbaugh avoid the Les Miles path on offense (too old-school and conservative). "The offensive line also is a top concern, though whomever starts at QB should have an adequate backfield and receiving corps. Don Brown's defense has a chance to be the best in the Big Ten based on returning personnel. Can Harbaugh shake off the boobirds just as people lose faith in his potential to win titles?" Opponents: Ohio State (No. 2), Wisconsin (No. 6), Michigan State (No. 7), Penn State (No. 12) and Notre Dame (No. 14). CBS Sports — No. 14 Their Take: "This ranking is based on Shea Patterson's avail- ability. If — as expected — Patterson gets a transfer waiver, Jim Harbaugh will have the best quarterback of his Michigan reign. If not, another eight-win season looms." Opponents: Ohio State (No. 4), Michigan State (No. 5), Penn State (No. 6), Wisconsin (No. 7) and Notre Dame (No. 10). USA Today — No. 16 Their Take: "These are strange times for Michigan, which had enormous hopes upon Jim Harbaugh's arrival but has yet to crack the upper echelon of the FBS. That may happen in 2018, especially given the Wolverines' defense, but that's only half the battle. Can Harbaugh find a quarterback?" Opponents: Ohio State (No. 3), Wisconsin (No. 5), Penn State (No. 6), Michigan State (No. 10) and Notre Dame (No. 15). Sporting News — No. 17 Their Take: "Too high? The arrival of Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson could be the missing piece that allows Jim Harbaugh to silence the critics after a disappointing five-loss season. To be honest, we wanted to go higher, but the Wolverines' sched- ule — which features road games at Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio State — leaves them with a lot to prove." Opponents: Ohio State (No. 4), Wisconsin (No. 6), Notre Dame (No. 9), Penn State (No. 10) and Michigan State (No. 16). Yahoo Sports — No. 17 Their Take: "The 2017 season was an expected rebuilding year for the Wolverines, but the heat has been turned up for Jim Harbaugh after the Wolverines ended the season with three straight losses. "Those late-season lumps could translate into some wins for a more-experienced group in 2018, especially if quarterback Shea Patterson, a five-star transfer from Ole Miss, is granted eligibility by the NCAA. Patterson could be the stud quarterback Harbaugh has lacked throughout his return to Ann Arbor, but it won't be easy to leapfrog Ohio State and Penn State in the Big Ten East." Opponents: Ohio State (No. 4), Wisconsin (No. 5), Penn State (No. 7), Michigan State (No. 12) and Notre Dame (No. 22). Sports Illustrated — No. 23 Their Take: "This was one of the tougher rankings to as- sign, and it depends a lot on the eligibility of Shea Patterson. Should the Ole Miss transfer play in 2018, Michigan might be a top-15 team, but that's still uncertain." Opponents: Ohio State (No. 4), Wisconsin (No. 6), Penn State (No. 7), Michigan State (No. 12) and Notre Dame (No. 13). — Austin Fox Jim Harbaugh's 2018 crew was ranked an average of 14.1 in the way-too-early prognostications of nine different publications and websites. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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