As the Wolverines now turn their sights to fall camp roughly four months away, there are a handful of guys on the offensive side of the ball who are in position to have a breakout year. Though many position battles are far from settled at this point, these are the five offensive players that are most likely to take a big step forward during the 2021 season.
Erick All, Junior - Tight End
Erick All has shown all of the promise and talent necessary in order to be a big time contributor for the Wolverines at the tight end position. Though All earned a starting role during the 2020 season, he developed a case of the drops throughout the year that significantly impacted his numbers. Entering his third season in Ann Arbor, the 6-4, 230 pound product out of Fairfield (Ohio) is likely to become a major contributor for Michigan's offense during the 2021 season.
Sophomore Notes (2020)
- Appeared in all six games with two starts at tight end; caught 12 passes for 82 yards to earn his second varsity letter
- Caught two passes for 33 total yards in his first career start at Minnesota (Oct. 24)
- Caught three passes for 13 yards against Michigan State (Oct. 31)
- Contributed snaps at tight end at Indiana (Nov. 7)
- Started and caught two passes playing tight end and special teams against Wisconsin (Nov. 14)
- Caught four passes for 27 yards at Rutgers (Nov. 21)
- Caught an eight-yard pass against Penn State (Nov. 28)
Blake Corum, Sophomore - Running Back
Blake Corum showed flashes of what made him such a highly-rated high school recruit during his freshman season in Ann Arbor. The 5-8, 200 pound running back out of St. Francis Academy (Md.) showed a unique combination of both power and speed that will serve him well during the upcoming season.
Unfortunately, Corum was never quite able to find a rhythm during his freshman year due to a questionable four-back rotation in the backfield. With new running backs coach Mike Hart in town, expect the running back group to be utilized in a way that is far more impactful during the 2021 season - which should lead to a lot of production for Corum in his second year.
Freshman Notes (2020)
- Appeared in all six games at running back and on special teams, with one start in the backfield; carried 26 times for 77 yards with two touchdowns and caught five passes for 73 yards, also returned five kickoffs for 96 yards to earn his first varsity letter
- Shared Offensive Player of the Week honors with three running back teammates for his performance against Minnesota
- In his collegiate debut, started at Minnesota (Oct. 24) and turned five carries into 24 yards, and adding two catches for 36 yards
- Against Michigan State (Oct. 31), turned seven touches into 32 yards with a pair of rushing touchdowns, including two catches for 17 yards
- Carried twice and caught a 21-yard pass out of the backfield at Indiana (Nov. 7)
- Netted five yards on the ground against Wisconsin (Nov. 14) and returned two kickoffs
- Totaled 20 yards on five touches at Rutgers (Nov. 21), including one reception
- Finished with 27 yards rushing against Penn State (Nov. 28)
AJ Henning, Sophomore - Wide Receiver
When word began to circulate that former Michigan wideout Giles Jackson was going to transfer, it was rumored that the emergence of sophomore AJ Henning played a factor in Jackson's decision. Ironically, Henning has a very similar build and skillset when compared to Jackson. With Jackson now officially out of the picture, Henning is the most likely candidate to take over as both a threat on special teams and at the wideout position.
Freshman Notes (2020)
- Appeared in all six games with one start at wide receiver; carried five times and caught six passes for 74 all-purpose yards to earn his first varsity letter
- Caught a 14-yard pass at Minnesota (Oct. 24) in his collegiate debut and added a six-yard carry
- Turned two touches into 24 yards against Michigan State (Oct. 31), including a 15-yard reception
- Contributed at wide receiver at Indiana (Nov. 7)
- Carried once and also caught one pass against Wisconsin (Nov. 14)
- Made his first career start against Penn State (Nov. 28) working out of the slot and caught a 28-yard pass among three others
Zak Zinter, Sophomore - Offensive Line
Though much hasn't been revealed during spring ball when it comes to position battles, it's clear that Sophomore offensive lineman Zak Zinter is impressing his teammates with his play. Zinter appeared in all six games during his freshman season, including three starts at right guard against Wisconsin, Penn State and Rutgers.
Fifth year offensive lineman Andrew Stueber indicated that Zinter is certainly in the mix and playing well.
“He’s definitely someone in the mix at O-line,” Stueber said. “The way he can drive somebody off the ball — (and) come off the ball — is really impressive. And his understanding of the offense for a second-year guy is incredibly impressive.”
Expect the 6-6, 340 pound mammoth to play significant role up front in 2021.
Freshman Notes (2020)
• Appeared in all six games with four starts at right guard and also played on special teams to earn his first varsity letter
• Made his collegiate debut at Minnesota (Oct. 24), playing special teams and snaps at guard
• Contributed on special teams against Michigan State (Oct. 31)
• Made his first career start at right guard at Indiana (Nov. 7)
• Started at right guard against Wisconsin (Nov. 14), Penn State (Nov. 28), at Rutgers (Nov. 21)
Roman Wilson, Sophomore - Wide Receiver
Roman Wilson was able to put together a solid freshman year given the circumstances surrounding the 2020 season. Wilson finished the year with 122 yards on nine receptions, often showcasing his speed and athleticism in the process.
Speaking of speed, Wilson is quite possibly the fastest guy on the field no matter who the Wolverines happen to be playing on Saturday - clocking a 4.37 40-time. If speed in space is still the goal of the Michigan offense in 2021, there's no question that Roman Wilson will play a big part of that in year two.
Freshman Notes (2020)
- Appeared in all six games at wide receiver; caught nine passes for 122 yards with one touchdown to earn his first varsity letter
- Made his collegiate debut at Minnesota (Oct. 24) and caught two passes for 34 yards
- Caught his first career touchdown, a 13-yard grab, at Indiana (Nov. 7)
- Saw action at wide receiver against Wisconsin (Nov. 14)
- Played wide receiver at Rutgers (Nov. 21) and carried once for nine yards
- Caught one pass against Penn State (Nov. 28) for four yards