Last season was a struggle at the wide receiver position for the Michigan Football team. Their best wide receiver, Tarik Black, was out for a majority of the season with an injury, Donovan Peoples-Jones was struggling to break out, Oliver Martin didn’t see the field, Nico Collins barely saw playing time, and the veterans at the time weren’t playing like veterans.
This year things have changed, except the Tarik Black injury as Harbaugh said there is no timetable for his return. Martin has stepped up with Black gone and so has Collins who blew up in camp this year.
One player that nobody seems to be talking about as the leader of the group is Grant Perry. He was Michigan’s best wide receiver in 2017, leading the wide receivers with 307 yards on 25 catches and a touchdown, but despite being the best last year, Perry only has six catches for 60 yards — as Peoples-Jones and Collins have been seeing more action and improving their game.
Perry talked about how the wide receiver group has grown, saying, “A big emphasis in camp was doing better than we did last year. I don’t know the statistic but we only had a few touchdowns in the receiver room and I’m pretty sure we’ve doubled that in three games this year. That’s just something to work off of and makes us happy coming back here on Sunday’s and Monday’s knowing that we did well and did our part.”
Perry knows he also has to be a leader in this position group as the others have graduated or transferred and he is now one of the seniors in the wide receiver group. When asked about being that mentorship role, Perry says it’s his job as a senior to be there for the younger players.
“I just try and be a guy that they can lean on,” Perry said. “I don’t really harp on them or anything, I just tell them I will be there for them, give them advice, let them know I am somebody they can talk to about football or not football related issues and I think they’ve taken that with good open arms and they’ve welcomed me as a leader and I appreciate that.”
Perry and the other wide receivers will need to get ready for this week as they start Big Ten play, hosting Nebraska this Saturday at noon in Ann Arbor.