With Donovan Peoples-Jones now preparing to suit up for the Cleveland Browns and Tarik Black recently announcing that he'll finish his college career at Texas, Michigan is going to need some young wide receivers to step up next season. Luckily, offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Josh Gattis has a few to choose from. Most notably, sophomores Giles Jackson and Mike Sainristil.
Last year, Jackson proved to be a big play waiting to happen. He only had nine catches for 142 yards but he did score a touchdown. He also took a kickoff back for a score against Maryland and a jet sweep to the house against Ohio State. He's got great long speed and is a nightmare in the open field.
During the same season, Sainristil had eight catches for 145 yards and a score. He too showed the ability to make people miss in the open field and turn short catches into long gains.
It's pretty crazy how similar the two players are. Jackson is 5-9, 188 pounds, while Sainristil checks in at 5-10, 183 pounds. The two are both extremely versatile as evidenced by what they did as freshmen and in high school. Both played receiver, running back, defensive back and contributed as returners. They have similar skill sets and even had nearly identical receiving numbers as true freshmen. Jackson was utilized a bit more, but all in all they're a lot alike.
So the question is, who ends up being more productive in 2020?
Jackson feels like the obvious choice since he wears a couple more hats than Sainristil, and I think it'll play out that way on the field. I do see both of them getting a lot of snaps as wide receivers with pretty similar production, but Jackson's abilities as a return man and out of the backfield will likely give him a leg up. If both sophomores are in the 30-40 catch range with 400 or 500 yards and at least three touchdowns, Michigan's offense will be very multi-faceted. Throw in a score or three for Jackson as a return man or back and he'll end up with slightly more production overall than Sainristil.
There's generally a pretty big leap from freshman to sophomore year, and if both Jackson and Sainristil take that big leap, they could be extremely dangerous weapons for whoever ends up starting at quarterback.