#12 Michigan Football 2020 Preview

Michigan Wolverines
Overall Rank: #12
#4 Big Ten
 Michigan Logo
Michigan entered the 2019 season as the favorites, by many, to win the Big Ten. Losses on the road to Wisconsin and Penn State and a season ending home defeat to Ohio State put an end to those hopes. Their only other loss came against Alabama in the Citrus Bowl. Obviously none of those are bad losses, but it is not what the Wolverines were hoping for. Now they have some big holes to fill and the expectations will be slightly lower, but as always Michigan will aim for a conference title.
2019 Record: 9-4, 6-3
2019 Bowl: Citrus Bowl vs. Alabama (L 16-35)
Coach: Jim Harbaugh (47-18 at Michigan, 105-45 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Josh Gattis
Defensive Coordinator: Don Brown
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Zach Charbonnet, RB, 726 yards
Passing: Dylan McCaffrey, QB, 116 yards
Receiving: Ronnie Bell, WR, 758 yards
Tackles: Aidan Hutchinson, DL, 68
Sacks: Kwity Paye, DL, 6.5
Interceptions: Ambry Thomas, DB, 3
Other Key Returnees: RB Hassan Haskins, WR Nico Collins, P Will Hart
Key Losses: QB Shea Patterson, WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR Tarik Black, OL Cesar Ruiz, OL Michael Onwenu, OL Jon Runyan Jr, LB Khaleke Hudson, LB Jordan Glasgow, DB Josh Metellus, LB Josh Uche, DB Lavert Hill
The big question is at quarterback where Shea Patterson needs to be replaced. Dylan McCaffrey and Joe Milton have spent the last two seasons as the second and third quarterback, respectively. McCaffrey did some damage with his legs last season and it seems likely that Coach Jim Harbaugh will utilize both quarterbacks. Ronnie Bell and Nico Collins will again be the quarterback’s top targets out wide. Michigan struggled on the ground last season, but Zach Charbonnet and Hassan Haskins had promising seasons. Charbonnet rushed for 726 yards and 11 scores as a freshman, while Haskins added 622 yards and four scores. Michigan could emerge as a very dangerous team on the ground, but much will depend on replacing four very good starting offensive linemen.
Like on offense, there are significant departures on defense as well. The strongest position is at defensive end where Kwity Paye and Aidan Hutchinson could be one of the best tandems in the Big Ten. If some younger players can step up at defensive tackle, the Wolverines will be in good shape on the line. Cameron McGrone stepped in for an injured John Ross at linebacker last season and played very well. Now he and Ross are back and they should help ease the loss of Khaleke Hudson and Josh Uche. The secondary lost Lavert Hill and Josh Metellus, but there is plenty of talent ready to step up. Ambry Thomas is a solid cornerback and many think safety Daxton Hill is the next defensive superstar for the Wolverines.
The Bottom Line:
After having ten players selected in the 2020 NFL Draft, it seems logical that Michigan will take a step back this season. However, the Big Ten will again probably come down to those three teams that beat the Wolverines last season. We will not have to wait long to see how that all works out. Michigan hosts Wisconsin and Penn State in their first two Big Ten games. If they win both of those, the Wolverines will be lined up for an outing to Ohio State with a trip to the Big Ten title game on the line.
Projected Bowl: Outback Bowl
2019 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 150.7 (77th in nation, 8th in conference)
Passing Offense: 250.8 (50, 5)
Total Offense: 401.5 (68, 7)
Scoring Offense: 31.7 (44, 6)
Rushing Defense: 121.7 (22, 6)
Pass Defense: 185.5 (10, 3)
Total Defense: 307.2 (11, 4)
Scoring Defense: 20.7 (25, 5)
Turnover Margin: 0.00 (61, 7)
Sacks: 2.77 (21, 5)
Sacks Allowed: 1.92 (58, 5)
Madness 2020 NFL Draft Rankings:
#12 Jalen Mayfield