Best Guess 2019 Roster: September 19th Update

With 5-star Daxton Hill in the fold, here's our latest assessment of the 2019 Michigan roster.

This is a periodic feature taking a look at how we project Michigan to manage its 85 scholarships for the following season. This considers several factors: potential early entries to the NFL draft, those who may transfer and/or not rewarded a 5th year, latest information on the incoming recruiting class, and our own speculative analysis. This feature is intended to be a tool for those trying to keep track of who could be coming and going for the Wolverines. Obviously, that also means some names of players either currently on the roster, or currently thought to be committed, may not be on this list. Make of that what you will.

Quarterback (4)

Shea Patterson (Sr.), Dylan McCaffrey, (R-So.), Joe Milton (R-Fr.), Cade McNamara (Fr.)

For now, we’ll continue to project Patterson to return. But with guys like Drew Lock and Jarrett Stidham seeing their draft stock slip to start the season, if they don’t rebound and Patterson closes strong this fall that could change. If he does return, this is pretty much the ideal quarterback room. If he doesn’t, then our projection of a Brandon Peters transfer might not materialize, and this would still be a decent unit.

Running Back (8)

Chris Evans (Sr.), Ben Mason (Jr.), Ben VanSumeren (So.), Hassan Haskins (R-Fr.), Christian Turner (R-Fr.), Zach Charbonnet (Fr.), Giles Jackson (Fr.), Eric Gray (Fr.)

Gray did make his visit to Ole Miss, and that’s resulted in a crystal ball to the Rebels already. However, the Michigan side of things remains confident he’ll remain the fold. So, for now, we’ll upgrade him to a projected signee instead of a hard commit, after leaving him off our last update. We suspect his recruitment might go to the end, for SEC country doesn’t let explosive talents like Gray head north without a fight to the finish. Michigan coaches remain excited about Turner’s potential, and word is we’ll see him before this season ends. Charbonnet’s film is ridiculous, and he will be a candidate for early playing time next year.

Wide Receiver (9)

Donovan Peoples-Jones (Jr.), Nico Collins (Jr.), Tarik Black (R-So.), Oliver Martin (R-So.), Ronnie Bell (R-Fr.), George Johnson (Fr.), Quintel Kent (Fr.), Giles Jackson (Fr.), Kyle Ford/Cornelius Johnson (Fr.)

With Gray now somewhat in the fold, Jackson is moved to his more natural slot position here as opposed to an all-purpose replacement for Gray. That would give the Wolverines two slots in this class counting Johnson. Given the focus on getting defensive back Ambry Thomas some touches at this spot this season, this is clearly a point of emphasis for Michigan’s roster moving forward. The top four of this position group would be among the most talented returning in college football in 2019.

Tight End (6)

Zach Gentry (R-Sr.), Sean McKeon (Sr.), Nick Eubanks (R-Jr.), Luke Schoonmaker (So.), Mustapha Muhammad (R-Fr.), Erick All (Fr.)

If Gentry has more games like he had last Saturday, he’ll strengthen his case for declaring early for the draft with production to match his crazy athleticism. If he comes back, the talent here is filthy. If he doesn’t, it’s still pretty good. All is one of the fastest rising Midwest prospects in the 2019 class. Muhammad was one of the most decorated members of the 2018 class.

Offensive Line (16)

Ben Bredeson (Sr.), Michael Onwenu (Sr.), Stephen Spanellis (R-Jr.), Cesar Ruiz (Jr.), Andrew Stueber (R-So.), Joel Honingford (R-So.), Chuck Filiaga (R-So.), James Hudson (R-So.), Jalen Mayfield (So.), Ryan Hayes (R-Fr.), Nolan Rumler (Fr.), Trente Jones (Fr.), Jack Stewart (Fr.), Karsen Barnhart (Fr.), Zach Carpenter (Fr.), Trevor Keegan/Danielson Ike/Bryce Benhart (Fr.)

We believe Michigan will sign one of its trio of coveted tackle prospects in the 2019 class. This would be the deepest the offensive line has been in Ann Arbor in a long time, and the depth would include guys that are interchangeable (Spanellis at any of the interior positions and Stueber backing up either tackle). Hudson and Mayfield are the unquestioned bookends at tackle.

Defensive Line (14)

Michael Dwumfour (R-Jr.), Carlo Kemp (R-Jr.), Aubrey Solomon (Jr.), Kwity Paye (Jr.), Donovan Jeter (R-So.), Luiji Vilain (R-So.), Aidan Hutchinson (So.), Taylor Upshaw (R-Fr.), Julius Welschof (R-Fr.), Gabe Newburg (Fr.), David Ojabo (Fr.), Mazi Smith (Fr.), Chris Hinton (Fr.), Mike Morris (Fr.)

Good numbers here, including several guys with impressive recruiting profiles. But unless Solomon comes back healthy and shines in the second half of 2018, and/or Dwumfour starts living up to the preseason hype, this position group returns the least amount of proven production next season. Aside from Kemp, a former four-star who has shined since given a chance to move inside.

Linebacker (11)

Khaleke Hudson (Sr.), Josh Uche (Sr.), Devin Gil (Sr.), Josh Ross (Jr.), Drew Singleton (R-So.), Jordan Anthony (R-So.), Cameron McGrone (R-Fr.), Michael Barrett (R-Fr.), Joey Velazquez (Fr.), Charles Thomas (Fr.), Quavaris Crouch (Fr.)

We see Hudson returning for his senior year not just because of his slow start this season, but also because he’s still a bit of a tweener at the next level. While losing Devin Bush early is no doubt a loss, there might be as much collective speed and athleticism at this position as there’s been in recent memory. It’s so good that McGrone, the highest ranked recruit in the 2018 class, still might not see the field much next year. As well as Barrett, perhaps the most overall athletic player in the 2018 haul. And yes, we’re projecting Michigan to add the highly-touted Crouch to the incoming class.

Defensive Back (15)

Lavert Hill (Sr.), Josh Metellus (Sr.), Ambry Thomas (Jr.), J’Marick Woods (Jr.), Brad Hawkins (Jr.), Jaylen Kelly-Powell (Jr.), Myles Sims (So.), Vincent Gray (So.), Sammy Faustin (R-Fr.), Gemon Green (R-Fr.), German Green (R-Fr.), Quintel Johnson (Fr.), D.J. Turner (Fr.), Daxton Hill (Fr.), Lewis Cine (Fr.)

Based on non-conference performance, we’re now projecting David Long to be more of an early entry candidate for the NFL draft. But that can change, like it has since our last update. The addition of 5-star Hill, which we projected in our last update, puts every one of the safeties on notice. He’ll be a candidate for early playing time. Cine as a projected addition here may surprise some, but he’s paying out of pocket to come back to Ann Arbor for an unofficial this weekend. And there’s plenty of smart people who see Cine as more of a Viper at Michigan, which means he and Hill could play at the same time.

Specialists (4)

Will Hart (Sr.), Quinn Nordin (R-Jr.), Brad Robbins (R-So.), Jake Moody (So.)

Notes:

  • This roster projection puts the Wolverines two over the 85-person limit, but there are five players we’re currently projecting to return next year that could elect to declare for the draft. We’re already projecting three Wolverines to declare early for the draft after the season. Then there’s prospects we’re currently projecting to be in the 2019 class that might not be in the end. Needless to say, only being two over the limit is not a difficult roster to manage.
  • Italics are projected commitments still to come.
  • Eligibility is how each player would be classified in 2019.
  • This feature will be updated as more news becomes available.
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