Best guess 2020 roster v1.0

With the 2019 season almost upon us, we take our first shot at projecting Michigan's potential 2020 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)

Dylan McCaffrey, (R-Jr.), Joe Milton (R-So.), Cade McNamara (R-Fr.), J.D. Johnson (Fr.)

Given the current environment, where quarterbacks routinely say if I’m not starting I’m departing, it’s hard to envision Michigan not getting caught up in that with so much depth at the position. But with the possibility McCaffrey could head to the NFL if he has the type of 2020 many envision, a player such as Milton might be willing to stick it out. Especially given the scheme switch that really plays to his skillset.

Running Back (6)

Ben VanSumeren (Jr.), Hassan Haskins (R-So.), Christian Turner (R-So.), Zach Charbonnet (So.), Blake Corum (Fr.), Eamonn Dennis (Fr.)

There remains the question about whether Chris Evans will be eligible to return from suspension next season, or just elects to cut his losses and head off to the NFL. VanSumeren made the switch here in the spring to accommodate the new offense of Josh Gattis. Much is expected out of Charbonnet and Turner this fall. Corum is one of the jewels of the 2020 recruiting class, but don’t sleep on Dennis. He’s electric with the ball in his hands.

Wide Receiver (10)

Tarik Black (R-Jr.), Ronnie Bell (Jr.), Mike Sainristil (So.), Giles Jackson (R-Fr.), Cornelius Johnson (R-Fr.), George Johnson (R-Fr.), Quintel Kent (R-Fr.), A.J. Henning (Fr.), Brenden Rice (Fr.), Roman Wilson (Fr.)

Loads of “speed in space” here, but much of it is young. We are projecting the son of Jerry Rice, Brenden, to be in this class to fill the need for an outside receiver. Henning and Wilson could be the fastest duo committed to any program in the 2020 class. With Donovan Peoples-Jones and Nico Collins off to the NFL, the opportunity for Black to anchor the unit is there. Bell has already flashed big-play ability, and the hype surrounding Sainristil for this fall is reminiscent of Steve Breaston.

Tight End (6)

Nick Eubanks (R-Sr.), Mustapha Muhammad (R-So.), Luke Schoonmaker (R-So.), Erick All (So.), Matthew Hibner (Fr.), Nick Patterson (Fr.)

Eubanks and Muhammad have explosive athleticism for the position, and could be flexed out in Gattis’ system. Schoonmaker is more of your classic, Harbaugh-style inline guy. All is a player the program is very high on, and we will see him this fall. Hibner and Patterson, brother of Shea, are 3-star commitments. Though Hibner is rising and could be a prospect that finishes higher than that.

Offensive Line (17)

Stephen Spanellis (R-Sr.), Cesar Ruiz (Sr.), Chuck Filiaga (R-Jr.), Joel Honingford (R-Jr.), Andrew Stueber (R-Jr.), Ryan Hayes (R-So.), Jalen Mayfield (R-So.), Karsen Barnhart (R-Fr.), Zach Carpenter (R-Fr.), Trente Jones (R-Fr.), Trevor Keegan (R-Fr.), Nolan Rumler (R-Fr.), Jack Stewart (R-Fr.), Reece Atteberry (Fr.), Micah Mazzccua (Fr.), Jeffrey Persi (Fr.), Zak Zinter (Fr.)

The Wolverines will have to replace a lot of experience up front in 2020, but the good news is the recruiting and development is now in position to do exactly that. With players spending 2-3 years being developed in the program ready and waiting in the wings. For now, we’re projecting Ruiz to return next season. But if he takes his game to another level in ’19, the NFL will come calling.

Defensive Line (17)

Michael Dwumfour (R-Sr.), Carlo Kemp (R-Sr.), Ben Mason (Sr.), Donovan Jeter (R-Jr.), Luiji Vilain (R-Jr.), Aidan Hutchinson (Jr.), Taylor Upshaw (R-So.), Julius Welschof (R-So.), Chris Hinton (So.), Mazi Smith (So.), Mike Morris (R-Fr.), Gabe Newburg (R-Fr.), David Ojabo (R-Fr.), Kris Jenkins (Fr.), Aaron Lewis (Fr.), Braiden McGregor (Fr.), Kenny Mestidor (Fr.)

We are projecting Mestidor to end up in the 2020 class, which would make this as deep as any position group on the team for that season. We’re also projecting Paye to have enough of a breakout season in 2019 to head to the NFL Draft. This sounds like the place Mason will spend the bulk of his time moving forward. Among the newcomers, McGregor might be the top overall 2020 recruit. We’ll see Hinton and Smith, also both decorated recruits, this fall. A year of development makes Ojabo and his eye-popping athleticism an intriguing option down the road. But he’s not alone. Numerous exciting options on this list.

Linebacker (8)

Josh Ross (Sr.), Jordan Anthony (R-Jr.), Cameron McGrone (R-So.), Charles Thomas (R-Fr.), Nikhai-Hill Green (Fr.), Kalel Mullings (Fr.), Osmane Savage (Fr.), Cornell Wheeler (Fr.)

After emphasizing this unit in the 2020 class, the Wolverines seem well-positioned here for the next couple of years. Which means Michigan can be especially choosy in recruiting. Ross will be the lone senior, while Anthony and McGrone were each highly-rated prospects coming out of the prep ranks. Mullings is the most regarded among the incoming freshmen.

Viper (4)

Michael Barrett (R-So.), Anthony Solomon (R-Fr.), Joey Velazquez (R-Fr.) William Mohan (Fr.)

Barrett looks to have finally found a permanent home here, and Solomon and Velazquez will have a full year of development to prepare them to take on an expanded role next season. Mohan, though, was Michigan’s top Viper prospect on their 2020 recruiting board. He’s still a little under-sized even for this tweener position, so it’s iffy how much he’ll be able to contribute right away.

Defensive Back (15)

Brad Hawkins (Sr.), Ambry Thomas (Sr.), Vincent Gray (Jr.), Sammy Faustin (R-So.), Gemon Green (R-So.), German Green (R-So.), Daxton Hill (So.), Quinten Johnson (R-Fr.), Jalen Perry (R-Fr.), D.J. Turner (R-Fr.), Jordan Morant (Fr.), Andre Seldon (Fr.), Darion Green-Warren (Fr.), R.J. Moten (Fr.), Makari Page (Fr.)

We expect this position to be the focal point of Michigan’s recruiting efforts down the stretch of the 2020 cycle, which you can see by virtue of the three commitments currently being projected to come. There might actually be more optimism about the safeties than the corners for a change. The front seven for the 2020 defense looks formidable, so this is where the question marks would be.

Specialists (1)

Jake Moody (Jr.)

It’s hard to imagine the Wolverines carrying two scholarship kickers for a second year in a row, so we projected some attrition. And a punter still needs to be found, too, for 2020. Ideally, that’s a slot that could go to a walk-on.

Notes:

  • This roster projection puts the Wolverines three over the 85-scholarship limit, which with your typically reasonable attrition shouldn’t be a problem to navigate through.
  • Italics are projected commitments still to come.
  • Eligibility is how each player would be classified in 2020.
  • Running back commit Gaige Garcia is currently not projected to be on a football scholarship but a wrestling one to begin with. Our understanding is the dual-sport athlete won’t have to be on a football scholarship until he plays in a live game.
  • This projected 2020 roster would be given a score of 311 points in my team total talent ratings. The actual 2019 roster ended up with 313 points, which was tied for 5th in the country with Texas.
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