When the Washington Huskies host the Michigan Wolverines to kick off the upcoming season, there will be new faces on the field for both teams. Husky Maven/Sports Illustrated's Mike Martin sat down with Brandon Brown of Michigan Digest to get an inside look at three newcomers who could make a difference.
LB Michael Barrett
"Redshirt sophomore Michael Barrett is penciled in as Khaleke Hudson’s replacement at viper. The viper position was made famous by Jabrill Peppers in Don Brown’s defense and is generally reserved for a bit of tweener — players who aren’t quite big enough to play linebacker or quite explosive enough to play safety. Peppers and Hudson fit that bill and really shined at the position. That’s Michael Barrett as well. At 6-foot and 227 pounds, Barrett can really run and has an extremely versatile past. In high school, he played dual-threat quarterback and has bounced around between linebacker, wide receiver and even kick returner at U-M. Last year, Barrett played sparingly on special teams and recorded just seven tackles. He’s expected to take a massive leap in 2020 and could become a household name in Brown’s linebacker-friendly defense."
QB Dylan McCaffrey/Joe Milton
"Okay, I’m cheating a bit here but that’s only because we don’t know who the starter is yet. Whoever it is will be new and inexperienced. Both McCaffrey and Milton are bigger than Shea Patterson at 6-5 and 220 and 6-5 and 245 respectively, have stronger arms and are viewed as better natural athletes in the run game. Because of that, I’m high on what the offense can look like with either at the helm and in year two under Josh Gattis. On the flip side, neither has been particularly accurate. Both Milton and McCaffrey are completing just over 50 percent of their throws albeit in only 46 total attempts between the two of them. Milton has also thrown two interceptions in just 11 pass attempts.
I see it like this — McCaffrey and Milton’s best should be better than Patterson’s because of their physical abilities, but I think their worst would be worse than Patterson’s."
RB Chris Evans
"Okay, I’m cheating again. Evans has made plays at Michigan in the past but he wasn’t on the team last year as he worked through an academic issue with the university. Because of that, Washington fans likely won’t know who he is and won’t find any evidence of him being a part of the program last year.
Evans burst onto the scene as a true freshman in 2016 with 614 yards and four touchdowns on 88 carries. He was productive in 2017 and 2018 as well, but missed all of last year. He returns this year and is honestly a perfect fit for Josh Gattis’ spread offense. Evans was equal parts running back and wide receiver in high school and could be a real weapon for Gattis in 2020. Michigan’s running back room is pretty loaded, so we’re not sure how Evans will be used yet, but I have high hopes for him in his final season in Ann Arbor."
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