Emerging From the Pack: Michigan Players Standing Out in Fall Camp

Michigan recruiting-Michigan football-BBQ at the Big House-Jim Harbaugh-Wolverines-football-recruiting

Emerging From the Pack: Michigan Players Standing Out in Fall Camp

Football

Emerging From the Pack: Michigan Players Standing Out in Fall Camp

Fall camp for Michigan is actually winding to a close, but some battles are still ongoing.

The Wolverines will turn their focus to Notre Dame in earnest this upcoming week, and those starting positions that haven’t been decided will soon be etched in stone.

While several of the following may or may not win those starting jobs, as many are competing just for viable playing time, WolverinesWire spoke to several sources close to Michigan who have knowledge of how things have gone through the duration of fall camp. Here are some of the (non-obvious) players we’re told that have gone beyond expectations and have impressed greatly.

Nico Collins

nico collins michigan

As we mentioned, we spoke to multiple sources, and this name came back unanimously.

We reported earlier this month after speaking to a different observer that Nico Collins and Grant Perry were among the top wide receivers in fall camp. Now, with the question being ‘Which of the (non-obvious) players have been the most impressive?’ not only did Collins get the most mentions, but he was listed first by every single respondent.

Given that when the players have met with the media the past few weeks, even when asked about Tarik Black and Donovan Peoples-Jones, they’d mention Nico’s name, it’s not surprising that he’s had a solid camp. With this news, he should be a player that fans can expect to see on the field a lot in 2018.

Devin Gil

This is no indication of whether or not Devin Gil has won the WILL starting job over Josh Ross, but one source indicated that Gil’s play this fall has really stood out to them.

Last year, Gil got the nod as the starter when Mike McCray had some equipment malfunctions against Florida, and by the end of the season, defensive coordinator Don Brown was raving about his emergence.

Asked earlier this week how the WILL battle has been going, linebackers coach Al Washington said this of Gil:

“He’s a dude, in the words of Coach Brown,” Washington said. “He’s another one guy who’s making strides. Benefitting from the reps – getting a lot of reps this camp. That’s something he really started in the spring. In the spring, saw him make a lot of plays. Is very smart. Very football smart. And what I mean by that is he just gets it. He understands nuances naturally. His role is being a WILL linebacker in what we’re doing and kinda helping us out. He’s doing a real good job.”

Aidan hutchinson

aidan hutchinson michigan

We have written quite a bit about Hutchinson’s emergence this fall already, but the hype train continues to roll on.

The person we spoke to absolutely raved about Hutchinson’s potential, saying that in fall camp he has been “an animal.”

That jibes with what we had already been hearing about him, considering that we reported earlier this month that the first year defense event has already been working with the twos

Jon Runyan Jr.

One source was particularly impressed with the job that Jon Runyan Jr. has done while battling for left tackle this fall camp.

Runyan has been in the mix for that position this year, and has been praised greatly for his athleticism. Hearing his name as a fall camp standout isn’t terribly surprising given what we heard all throughout the spring as well as from players recently.

“Jon’s talented,” Michigan center Cesar Ruiz said on Thursday. “We’ve got a pretty athletic offensive line. We have a lot of competitions – who’s the most athletic. Jon’s up there. Jon’s really athletic, and he’s way talented, too. Really smart. There’s a lot of older guys in the offensive line (room). It’s good to have him on there, too.”

Brad Hawkins

brad hawkins michigan indiana

Michigan safety Brad Hawkins is player who was mentioned in our summer Leaders & Best breakdown, based off what we had heard coming out of spring ball.

The Wolverines had moved Hawkins from VIPER to safety, and since that move, he’s had opportunities with the top groups in practice.

We actually asked safeties Chris Partridge about him on Monday, and here’s what he had to say:

“Incredible – what a camp he’s had,” Partridge said. “He’s really, really stepped up and done some things and gotten – he’s gone above expectations for me. I think he’s a guy that, another guy that has a bright future, that loves playing the game and is really in-tuned and is really good. You’ll see him on the field for sure.”

Tru Wilson

tru wilson michigan running back

When we launched WolverinesWire back in June, one of the first things we put out there was how much we had heard that walk-on athlete Tru Wilson had impressed at running back after moving from safety.

While that was hardly a surprise given what Coach Harbaugh had said on his podcast about the third running back position, we were told by one source close to Michigan that the emergence is real, but that the staff wanted to see if he could carry it from the spring to the fall, especially with Christian Turner and Hassan Haskins arriving on campus. We’re told that Wilson has continued his upward trajectory.

Again, we cannot speak to if that lands him that third tailback spot or not, but having a solid fall camp means we should definitely see Wilson on the field at tailback this fall.

Lawrence Marshall

lawrence marshall michigan dt

Lawrence Marshall is a player we already know we’re going to see on the defensive interior in 2018.

While Michael Dwumfour gets all the hype, Marshall and he are battling for that starting job, and one source said that the fifth-year DT has really impressed this fall and will definitely see a ton of playing time.

Even Dwumfour, his fiercest competitor, praised the job Marshall has been doing in camp.

“I’m competing with Lawrence Marshall,” Dwumfour said. “We’re competing every day for the spot. Me and him are great friends and great competitors, most importantly. We make each other better. We don’t talk about that. Whoever starts will start. Everybody has a job to do. You just do your job, and you’ll win.”

Vincent Gray

One of the players mentioned that we don’t know if we’ll see much of on the field this year beyond four games is Vincent Gray, the former three-star from Rochester (MI) Adams, who flipped to the Wolverines just before Signing Day.

Last week, cornerbacks coach Mike Zordich said, “Vincent Gray has done something,” when talking about the young cornerbacks, while lamenting simultaneously at that point that Myles Sims, the four-star early enrollee hadn’t separated himself from the other freshmen, by virtue of being on campus longer.

Well, per our sources, Gray has been one of the players who has impressed them the most this camp. We’ll just have to wait and see if that translates to playing time in a deep cornerback rotation.

Ronnie Bell

Two Michigan wide receivers mentioned true freshman wideout Ronnie Bell within the past week or so:

“He can jump out of the gym,” Grant Perry said. “He goes and gets the jump balls. He’s explosive, too. Really fast, good hands. And he’s picked the playbook up really well, really fast. You tell him something and he does it right. That’s good to see.”

“He’s definitely gotten better from the start of camp on his routes and his release and things like that,” Tarik Black said. “He’s very, very athletic. He can catch the ball, run routes, all that. He’s good. I think he’ll see the field this year, for sure.”

Well, the source who said that Bell was the player that impressed them the most was someone who has more intimate knowledge of defense than offense, so that should speak to how impressive the first-year player has been in just his first fall camp.

From what we’ve heard, Bell should definitely be in the mix this season, potentially beyond the four-game redshirt threshold.

Contact/Follow @WolverinesWire@isaiahhole

Latest

More WolverinesWire
Home