Michigan In ESPN’s Top 25 Future Power Rankings For 2018

Michigan In ESPN’s Top 25 Future Power Rankings For 2018

Football

Michigan In ESPN’s Top 25 Future Power Rankings For 2018


ESPN can see the 2018 Wolverines have a big year if some questions get answered.


Michigan in ESPN’s Top 25 future power rankings for 2018

With five Big Ten teams making ESPN’s early Top 25, where do the 2018 Wolverines factor in?

Michigan sputtered to an 8-5 season in 2017, which has had many pundits and fans, alike, not particularly optimistic about the program’s direction.

But, that’s not how the “Worldwide Leader” sees it.

ESPN has put together a list of where teams stand heading into 2018. As far as where the Wolverines sit, ESPN has Michigan at 16th overall (available via ESPN Insider subscription) in their way-too-early power rankings.

16. Michigan Wolverines

Future QB ranking: 21
Future offense ranking: 25
Future defense ranking: 5

Scouting the Wolverines: After the top five to seven teams, Michigan could really end up anywhere on this list. Jim Harbaugh has assembled enough talent — much of it from the 2016 recruiting class, which ESPN rated sixth nationally — to start challenging for Big Ten titles and ultimately the playoff. Then again, Michigan needs to show more in college football’s most competitive division. Don Brown’s defense has often performed at an elite level and should continue to do so in 2018 as Rashan Gary, Chase Winovich, Devin Bush and Khaleke Hudson headline an excellent front seven.

Then there’s the offense, a unit that, as one Big Ten coach put it, “has more talent than what’s showing up on game day.” Shea Patterson could be the immediate answer at quarterback, and Michigan should benefit from Tarik Black‘s return at wide receiver. But the offensive line has got to start performing to its potential, as veteran assistant Ed Warinner takes over there. Michigan’s 2018 recruiting fell off a bit compared with Ohio State and Penn State, adding to the urgency for a breakthrough this fall.

As for other Big Ten teams, Ohio State clocks in at third, Penn State sixth, Wisconsin ninth and Michigan State at 17th.

Unlike in 2017, the Wolverines have a bevy of returning experience at key positions, and have upgraded, not only the coaching staff — as mentioned with the addition of Warinner — but has also brought in a new strength and conditioning coach in Ben Herbert, who has reportedly paid big dividends this offseason.

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