Michigan Football Preview: 3 Things That Went Right This Spring

    Michigan Spring Football: What are the three key things that went right this spring?

    April 2, 2016


    Michigan Spring Football: What are the three key things that went right this spring?


    No one generated the buzz this spring like Jim Harbaugh and Michigan did. The needle is pointing way, way up with a ton of talent, a coaching staff that appears to be finding its groove, and the potential to make Michigan into Michigan again. There were plenty of positives, but here are the three key things that went right in spring football for Michigan.

    Michigan lost its starting quarterback, but improved the position

    Jake Rudock got a bit of a bad rap.

    First, he wasn’t good enough to be Iowa’s quarterback, so why was he going to be strong enough for Michigan?

    The transfer came out with a dud, throwing three picks against what turned out to be a fantastic Utah defense in the opening weekend loss. But even if that was the first chance to make an impression, as it turned out, he was fine, completing 64% of his passes for over 3,000 yards with 20 touchdowns, and with just four interceptions after the first three games.

    Bug now Rudock is gone, and Michigan is better at quarterback – only because there’s more talent now.

    Shane Morris is in the equation, and the one-time super-recruit under Brady Hoke has a shot at the gig, but he’s most likely the No. 3 guy at this point. He’ll get his chances, but go ahead and read into him playing a little bit of receiver in the spring game.

    John O’Korn is a bit of an X factor. The Houston transfer has the size, the experience, and most of all compared to the other options, the mobility. The overall combination of positives made it easy to think he’d be the one to rise up, but if the season started right now he’s probably be the backup.

    Wilton Speight stepped in for Rudock against Minnesota last year, completed 3-of-6 passes for 29 yards and a score, and he got out with a win. But overall, he was awful when he got his chances in garbage time. This spring, he looked the part.

    The 6-6, 239-pound junior was in command at times in spring ball, ended up working mostly with the ones, and appeared to be the starter-to-beat in the spring scrimmage.

    Rudock was good, but as a group, these guys are stronger.

    MORE: Three Key Question Marks For Michigan After Spring Football


    Jabrill Peppers is better than you

    As if it wasn’t enough that the Jabrill Peppers bar was set at Charles Woodson when he signed on during the Brady Hoke era, now he might take things one step further by reinventing a position.

    If Peppers was eligible for this year’s NFL Draft – and it’s ridiculous that underclassmen this talented aren’t – he’d probably be a top five overall pick, top 15 at worst.

    Either Michigan is sort of slow, or Peppers is special, clocking in as the team’s fastest player with under 4.4 wheels in a 6-1, 208-pound body built for safety or as a dominant big corner.

    Or at linebacker.

    In what could be one of college football’s most interesting experiments, the most talented defensive back in America is going to be a hybrid outside linebacker in the new defensive scheme. While he’ll still work in pass coverage, he’ll use his range, speed, and all-around talent to wreak havoc – at least that’s the hope – while also seeing time on offense and as a lethal kick returner.

    Michigan is better overall as a team, and Peppers is its signature superstar. At least that’s the hope if this position move works out.

    The tight ends are going to be phenomenal

    Jake Butt returned for his senior season, even though he would’ve been a decent draft pick coming off a 51-catch, 654-yard, three touchdown season. He’s got the prototypical NFL size, nice hands, and the talent to be one of the nation’s top targets.

    And he’s not even the tight end everyone was talking about.

    Officially listed at 6-6 and 280 pounds – but probably closer to 290+ on the right day – sophomore Tyrone Wheatley Jr. is turning into a cult hero with freakish athleticism and skills for a player of his size. He’s not Butt as a receiver, but at his size he’s like another offensive tackle who can also be used as a devastating matchup problem.

    Throw in junior Ian Bunting – who at 6-7 and 252 pounds is a problem for defensive backs, too – and the Wolverines have a slew of terrific tight ends who all need to be on the field.

    MORE: 3 Things That Mattered In Michigan’s Spring Football Game

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