We all know that Michigan was quite dominant last year. They may have lost three games, but all were close, with a one point loss to Iowa, an overtime touchdown allowed against Ohio State, and a 4th quarter touchdown given up against Florida State in the Orange Bowl. But for the most part, the outlook on the Wolverines was positive in the eyes of college football fans.
However, in 2017, the Wolverines have not performed as well as they did the year before. They lost ten starters on defense, including Heisman candidate Jabrill Peppers. On offense, Michigan lost arguably the nation’s best tight end, Jake Butt. The Wolverines also lost their two best receivers, Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson.
This has lead to quite a drop in production on both sides of the ball. Their quarterback play has been subpar, with Wilton Speight enduring an injury against Purdue and John O’Korn throwing 5 interceptions with only one touchdown. Their defense is still very tough, letting up the third lowest amount of yards per game and having the best pass defense in the country.
Michigan had a close loss to Michigan State, but were blown out by Penn State earlier this season. It doesn’t get easier for the Maize and Blue, as they play an undefeated Wisconsin team in Madison team this week and Ohio State during rivalry week. This means that Michigan could end up a four loss team if they do not perform well, even though they are still guaranteed a bowl appearance. Fear not Michigan fans, the Wolverines will be back on top next season.
Michigan should be returning 17 starters, 8 on offense and 9 on defense. Their already dangerous run game, led by Karan Higdon and Chris Evans, will continue to perform, as three of the four running backs on their depth chart will be coming back. Redshirt freshman Brandon Peters has done a fine job since taking over, with 4 touchdowns in three games and no interceptions, so look for him to make an impact in the future. Look for freshman Dylan McCaffrey to give Peters competition for the starting job next offseason, as he had one of the best arms in the 2017 recruiting class.
The Wolverines’ defense will return two starters on the defensive line, two of the three linebackers, and the entire secondary. That should be a scary sight for opposing Big Ten teams, as they will continue to terrorize their offenses. Michigan’s defense will keep learning and will have many experienced players for the 2018 season.
Coach Jim Harbaugh has done a very good job at recruiting, too. Out of their 29 recruits in the 2017 class, 27 were 4-star recruits. Although the 2018 recruiting season is not over, the Wolverines are already reeling in some of the best players in high school. They already have ten 4-star recruits and five 3-star recruits, and I’m sure those numbers will only increase. The future is bright for Michigan, so don’t be sad Wolverine fans, you will be back!