Projecting Michigan's 2021 Offensive Starters
Quarterback - 5th Sr. Dylan McCaffrey
With the cancelation of spring practice, it will be very hard for Joe Milton to make up ground on McCaffrey in time for the start of the 2020 season. While I've been told previously that Milton has expressed no desire to transfer, circumstances are changing, and if the NCAA grants immediate eligibility to first-time transfers it's hard to imagine the loser of this year's QB battle staying put.
With a season of starting under his belt, McCaffrey returns for a fifth year to guide the Wolverines and mentor the precocious five-star freshman, JJ McCarthy.
Tailback - R-Jr. Hassan Haskins
Haskins reminds me a poor-man's Mark Ingram - follows blockers well, has a good nose for a hole, deceptively elusive, possesses power and while neither have breakaway speed, they have enough acceleration to hit some big plays. Ingram had seven rushes of 20 yards or more in his final season (2010) and 20 rushes of 10 yards or more. In 2019, Haskins had seven 20-yard runs and 18 10-yard runs.
The coaches liked him enough to replace Zach Charbonnet in the starting lineup in Week 8 against Notre Dame despite the fact that Charbonnet had rushed for 457 yards and seven touchdowns, and was coming off an 81-yard two-TD effort at Penn State. The back-and-forth between Haskins and Charbonnet will play out in 2020 but I'm betting on the higher-ceiling ball carrier.
While Blake Corum should be in the mix as a sophomore and a potential true freshman - especially if it was Donovan Edwards or five-star TreyVeon Henderson - could vie for snaps, Alabama has proven time and time again that thunder and thunder works just as well as thunder and lightening.
Wide Receiver - Sr. Ronnie Bell, Jr. Giles Jackson, Jr. Mike Sainristil
One of Jim Harbaugh's favorite players, Bell should go into his senior season looking to become the 15th Wolverine all time to reach 2,000 yards receiving. Jackson will be a breakout player this season, Michigan's version of Rondale Moore, and Sainristil is another versatile athlete that will really allow offensive coordinator Josh Gattis to fully feature "speed in space."
Tight End - Jr. Erick All
All and Luke Schoonmaker weren't overly productive as freshmen in 2019, making just three grabs for 64 yards and a touchdown, but one of the two should emerge this fall behind senior Nick Eubanks to get 15-20 targets. All played in more games as a true freshman than Schoonmaker did as a redshirt frosh and is already someone the coaches feel they can rely on. That gives him a slight edge.
Offensive Line - LT R-Jr. Ryan Hayes, LG R-So. Nolan Rumler, C R-So. Zach Carpenter, RG 5th-Sr. Andrew Steuber, RT R-Jr. Jalen Mayfield
It is quite possible Michigan could feature the same starting lineup along the offensive line for two straight years as there are no seniors on the 2020 roster (though Steuber, Joel Honigford and Chuck Filiaga are redshirt juniors).
Mayfield and Hayes project to give U-M its best pair of bookends since Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield started at opposite tackles in 2012-13, while competition for the two guard spots will be fierce this fall and could be heated again going into 2021 even with returning starters. Center could be Carpenter's in 2020 - he's competing with senior walk-on Andrew Vastardis - and should be his no later than 2021.
What do you disagree with? Who do you think will start for the Wolverines in 2021? Drop us a comment. And check back tomorrow for our defensive projections.