#14 Michigan Football 2016 Preview

Michigan Wolverines
Overall Rank: #14
#3 Big Ten
It did not take long for Coach Jim Harbaugh to turn the hype into results. Following a 5-7 season in 2014, Coach Harbaugh led his Wolverines to a 10-3 record and a blowout win over Florida in the Citrus Bowl. The Wolverines did lose the biggest games on their schedule, at home to Michigan State and Ohio State, but it has been a while since Michigan looked consistent and they were pretty consistent in 2015. The goal for 2016 is to be consistently better and that should not be a problem with more and more talent coming into the program.
2015 Record: 10-3, 6-2
2015 Bowl: Citrus Bowl vs. Florida (W 41-7)
Coach: Jim Harbaugh (10-3 at Michigan, 68-30 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Tim Drevno
Defensive Coordinator: Don Brown
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: De’Von Smith, RB, 753 yards
Passing: Wilton Speight, QB, 73 yards
Receiving: Jehu Chesson, WR, 764 yards
Tackles: Jourdan Lewis, CB, 52
Sacks: Chris Wormley, DE, 6.5
Interceptions: Jeremy Clark, CB, 3
Other Key Returnees: RB Ty Issac, WR Amara Darboh, TE Jake Butt, OL Erik Magnuson, S Delano Hill, LB Jabrill Peppers, DE Taco Charlton
Key Losses: QB Jake Rudock, OL Graham Glasgow, LB Joe Bolden, S Jarrod Wilson, LB Desmond Morgan, DT Willie Henry
The Wolverines ranked third in the nation in pass defense, fourth in total defense and sixth in scoring defense. That was under defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin though, who is now the head coach at Maryland. But Michigan brought in one of the coordinators who was better than them in 2015, Don Brown from Boston College. The front four lost tackle Willie Henry, but ends Taco Charlton and Chris Wormley are ready to spend a lot of time in the backfield. Wormley tied for the team lead with 6.5 sacks and Charlton added 5.5. Tackles Ryan Glasgow, Maurice Hurst and super freshman Rashan Gary should make fans forget about Henry. Jabril Peppers is moving to a hybrid position so the Wolverines can utilize his athleticism when blitzing. Upperclassmen Ben Gedeon and Mike McCray will get the first shot at filling in at the other linebacker spots. The secondary will again be led by All-American cornerback Jourdan Lewis. With Channing Stribling, Jeremy Clark and Brandon Watson, the Wolverines are absolutely loaded with talent and experience at the cornerback spots. Delano Hill is the most experienced safety after starting eight games last season.
The Michigan offense certainly has experience, especially at running back and wide receiver. De’Veon Smith rushed for 753 yards and six scores last season and Ty Isaac and Drake Johnson also return. Michigan’s top three receivers return, led by Jehu Chesson who caught 50 passes for 764 yards and nine touchdowns. Amara Darboh added 58 receptions for 727 yards and five scores and tight end Jake Butt caught 51 passes for 654 yards and three scores. The question is who is going to get them the ball after Jake Rudock’s one season at Michigan was up. The options are pretty good though. Wilton Speight was Rudock’s backup last year and has been biding his time. However, Houston transfer John O’Korn is the favorite and he put up some huge numbers with the Cougars.
The Bottom Line:
This season will basically come down to three games, all of which are on the road. The Wolverines only leave the Big House four times and the first time is not until October 8th against Rutgers. And that hardly counts as a road game for a team as good as Michigan. The other three road games are against Michigan State on October 29th, Iowa on November 12th and Ohio State on November 26th. Even with early home games against Penn State and Wisconsin, Michigan should control their own destiny with those three big road games looming. Win those three and this is a Wolverine team that will likely be competing for another title. Lose one and they could still win the Big Ten East. But lose two or three and Michigan will fail to take the step forward they are hoping for in year two under Coach Harbaugh.
Projected Bowl: Outback Bowl
2015 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 158.2 (83rd in nation, 8th in conference)
Passing Offense: 237.7 (53, 4)
Total Offense: 395.9 (69, 4)
Scoring Offense: 31.4 (50, 4)
Rushing Defense: 122.2 (16, 5)
Pass Defense: 158.5 (3, 1)
Total Defense: 280.7 (4, 2)
Scoring Defense: 16.4 (6, 3)
Turnover Margin: -0.31 (92, 10)
Sacks: 2.46 (35, 5)
Sacks Allowed: 1.38 (27, 3)
Madness 2017 NFL Draft Rankings:
#15 Jabrill Peppers
#39 Jake Butt
#42 Jourdan Lewis
#67 Chris Wormley
Madness 2016 Recruit Rankings:
#1Rashan Gary
#38 Ben Bredeson
#41 Devin Asiasi
#80 David Long
#83 Kareem Walker
#100 Brandon Peters
#168 Michael Onwenu
#172 Dylan Crawford
#189 Ahmir Mitchell
#193 Lavert Hill
#201 Ronald Johnson