Evaluating where the Michigan Wolverines stand right now
As rumors have quelled about Jim Harbaugh leaving the Michigan Wolverines’ football program, the ship has been more or less righted. Now it’s time for Michigan football to start the offseason process.
After a season in which they beat their arch rival Ohio State Buckeyes at the Big House and finished eligible for the college football playoff at No. 3 in the country, Michigan football has big expectations to live up to for 2022.
Michigan’s offense was the brightest spot on the team this season. Under senior quarterback Cade McNamara, they averaged 35.79 points per game and McNamara threw 21 passing touchdowns this past season.
As McNamara redshirted as a sophomore, he is eligible for a fourth full year, and if he takes that option then he will be under center for the Wolverines again this fall. If he’s inclined to return, Michigan will be getting another year of a consistent and reliable quarterback.
Redshirt freshman JJ McCarthy is also a backup with good potential in case McNamara opts out of playing another full season.
The real powerhouse of that Michigan offense is running back Blake Corum Jr. Corum Jr. ended his sophomore campaign with 11 touchdowns and 952 rushing yards on 144 carries and through the air he had 141 yards and 1 touchdown on 24 receptions.
He was an offensive juggernaut for Michigan last season, and a big reason why they often outscored their opponents so heavily.
In the wide receiver department Michigan was decent but could’ve been better. Senior Ronnie Bell made just one reception (a 76 yard touchdown haul) before suffering a season-ending injury in early September. Junior wideout Roman Wilson put up a solid 2021 campaign, hauling in 25 receptions for 420 yards and 3 touchdowns.
In 2021 the star wideout for Michigan, though, was Cornelius Johnson who made 40 receptions and racked in 627 yards and 3 touchdowns. Redshirt freshman Andrel Anthony had a very promising season as he played just eight total games but put up 248 yards and 3 touchdowns on 12 receptions and averaged 20.7 yards per reception.
Tight end Erick All is also nothing to shrug at as he more than tripled his reception total from 2020 and nearly doubled his yards per reception.
On top of that Michigan has arguably the best offensive line in the Big 10. While the Orange Bowl didn’t go their way, it shows their confidence that the offensive line was wearing t-shirts that said “run the damn ball” during pre-game.
This is an offense that’s primed and ready to go back out and do it again and now they’ll likely have Ronnie Bell for a full season.
While most of the Wolverines’ best defensive players from 2021 will be drafted to the NFL in April, this is a core that is consistently dominant.
A huge reason why the offense was so elite was because the defense allowed them to be. Michigan’s defense allowed just 17.36 points per game, less than half of their 35.79 average and allowed just 243 total points compared to their total of 501.
The rushing defense was impeccable, allowing just 11 rushing touchdowns all season compared to their offense’s 39. Edge Mike Barrett was a huge part of that defensive front, and while most of Michigan’s defensive talent are juniors and seniors, there are some solid freshmen like Junior Colson, Rod Moore, TJ Guy and Jaydon Hood who will be key pieces on that side of the football in 2022.
The passing offense left something to be desired when compared to the rush defense, as they allowed both more passing attempts and completions while hauling in one less interception than the offense threw. They also allowed near the same amount of touchdowns, total yards and yards per game compared to their offense, so the secondary will certainly be something for Coach Harbuagh and new Defensive Coordinator Jesse Minter to work on prior to the fall.
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