Ranking Michigan Football's Top 50 Players in 2018

Ranking Michigan Football's Top 50 Players in 2018

Football

Ranking Michigan Football's Top 50 Players in 2018


WolverinesWire used a proprietary ranking system, and rated every Michigan football player with an eye on the 2018 season. These are the Wolverines who made the Top 50.


Ranking Michigan Football’s Top 50 Players in 2018

If Jim Harbaugh can rank his players, we can too.

Since Harbaugh arrived in Ann Arbor, he’s notoriously made sure that every player knew were they stood.

So we decided to take a crack at it ourselves, ranking every single player listed on Michigan’s most recent roster and adding the incoming true freshmen.

Let’s explain how we got to where we are with these numbers.

Methodology.

We created a weighted algorithm based off several factors.

The two most important factors were each player’s personal importance, in that, they’re already a starter — or a star player — and are expected to do big things in 2018. Equally, we looked at their level of disruption — how vital they are to the team’s on-field success. If a player was a crazy standout but has someone behind them just as good, they lost a point or two.

Then we looked at how many years they’ve been in the program, regardless of starting experience, where they stand on the depth chart, and current thoughts about where they would fall when it comes their turn to go to the NFL — rating from first-round draft pick, to unselected but playing, to not going to the NFL at all.

We also took into consideration if the player was on scholarship or not, and their positional impact. All defensive players scored highly when it came to impact (SAM linebacker took a marginal hit), but tight end was a rung below most of the offensive positions — due to the depth of the position — and fullback was slightly lower as well — as their snaps are limited. Special teams-only players were affected most by this.

Without further ado, here are the players we ranked in the Top 50.

50-41

50. Christian Turner

Position: Running Back

Years in Program: 1

WolverinesWire score: 70

Why 50th? The only true freshman to make the list, Michigan sees big things in store for Buford (GA) tailback Christian Turner. Solely based off potential, the former three-star makes the Top 50 under the guise that he could crack the three-deep with a good fall camp.

49. Josh Uche

Position: Linebacker

Years in Program: 3

WolverinesWire score: 70

Why 49th? Uche started coming on strong late in the season as the second-rotation SAM linebacker. Since SAM isn’t an every down linebacker in Don Brown’s system, he isn’t used as often as some of his other teammates, but he did get three tackles, including one for loss and a sack in 2017.

48. Jordan Anthony

Position: Linebacker

Years in Program: 2

WolverinesWire score: 72

Why 48th? Jordan Anthony is something of a mystery, as last fall, Michigan didn’t have a specific position in the linebacking corps it saw to be an obvious fit for the former two-sport star.

A former four-star, wherever he specializes, Anthony is almost assured to be in the rotation.

47. Nick eubanks

Position: Tight End

Years in Program: 3

WolverinesWire score: 72

Why 47th? His 2017 season started with a bang, as Eubanks — something of a tight end/wide receiver hybrid-type player — caught two long passes in the season opener against Florida. However, he battled injuries through much of the season and wasn’t seen beyond Week Four.

Now healthy, he’s expected to be the third tight end used, but has to play behind McKeon and Gentry, the incumbent starters.

46. James Hudson

Position: Offensive Tackle

Years in Program: 2

WolverinesWire score: 72

Why 46th? We know very little about James Hudson save for that the former four-star defensive lineman switched over to the offensive side of the ball early in 2017, and has stuck there. A strong candidate to win one of the tackle jobs in just his second-year, the redshirt freshman is a physical specimen who should see some playing time in 2018 regardless.

45. Jaylen Kelly-Powell

Position: Safety

Years in Program: 2

WolverinesWire score: 72

Why 45th? One source told WolverinesWire that Kelly-Powell suffered a little in year one from playing multiple positions. He wasn’t just on special teams or safety, he also played corner and reportedly practiced at VIPER.

Those days are over, as he’s now concentrating at safety (though he very well return to special teams, as well). A smart, physical player from Detroit (MI) Cass Tech who excels in coverage, Kelly-Powell will almost certainly be a part of the safety rotation in 2018.

44. Oliver Martin

Position: Wide Receiver

Years in Program: 2

WolverinesWire score: 72

Why 44th? The only one of Michigan’s four wide receiver recruits in 2017 to redshirt, we’ve heard good things about Martin from practice reports. Coming in at the Y-receiver (slot), he can actually move to the other spots, and reportedly has great hands.

He’ll be playing behind Grant Perry, but is sure to get some significant playing time in 2017.

43. Luiji Vilain

Position: Defensive End

Years in Program: 2

WolverinesWire score: 72

Why 43rd? Nearly a five-star as a recruit, Vilain was a player fans were excited to see in 2017, but he sustained an injury during fall camp that kept him out for the entire season.

Now healthy, he’s ready to go and should get some time in the rotation. We’ll see how detrimental a year off football was (or not) for him.

42. Devin Gil

Position: Linebacker

Years in Program: 3

WolverinesWire score: 72

Why 42nd? When Mike McCray had an equipment malfunction at the outset of the season opener against Florida, Gil got the nod, and started in his stead. Don Brown has mentioned repeatedly about how the competition between Gil and second-year WILL backer Josh Ross has been and should continue to be fierce.

A former three-star, he has an experience advantage, but we’ll see if he can win out come fall camp.

41. Tyrone Wheatley Jr.

Position: Tight End

Years in Program: 4

WolverinesWire score: 72

Why 41st? A player we rated much higher a year ago, Wheatley continues to be plagued with injuries that have kept him off the field. He missed his freshman year with injury. He was sparse behind Jake Butt in 2016, especially with the emergence of Devin Asiasi. Last year, he played, but with a cast on his hand. This spring, he broke his foot.

If he’s able to get healthy, he’s a physical freak, a mismatch for anyone who would potentially cover him. A healthy Wheatley could be one of Michigan’s biggest weapons.

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