Ryty's Big Ten Blog Besides the Ohio State Buckeyes, which Big Ten team has the best future for the next three years? I will try to evaluate each team in multiple areas using the scientifically proven question mark scale: Column 1 Column 2 ? - The future looks bright. There is little question that this position will be an area of strength for the foreseeable future. ?? - The future looks mixed. The future could really go either way. ??? - The future looks AWFUL. Unless something drastic happens, there is little question that this undoubtedly will be an area of weakness in the future. We will evaluate each team in the following areas: 1. Quarterback 2. Offensive Skill Positions 3. Offensive Line 4. Defensive Line 5. Linebackers 6. Defensive Secondary *Anywhere I mention I player, I will list their overall ranking as well as their current year. Here we go..... TEAM 1 THE MICHIGAN WOLVERINES Quarterback This season, both Tate Forcier (86) and Denard Robinson (81) shared time at QB. Forcier threw for 1,600+ yards while throwing 12 TD's and only 6 interceptions. Denard Robison threw for 538 yards while throwing 3 touchdowns. Going into next season, it appears that we will have a qb controversy in the Ann Arbor. Who will coach JCA go with? Like he did this season, will he go with the more accurate and aware Forcier? Or will he start the fast, strong armed Robinson? Since both QB's are sophomores, will one of them transfer? To add the QB controversy in Michigan, we have Redshirt Freshman and highly touted Devin Gardner (76). The 6'4 freshman has one of the strongest arms in the country and can flat out fly. Most scouts would agree that he is more talented than both Forcier and Robinson. Will he get his chance next season or will he backup either Forcier or Robinson? Also, Coach JCA added 4* Recruit, Kerry Miller. The recruit from San Gabriel California is 11th ranked QB in the country. He has good size at 6'6 and has a B+ arm. The negatives on Miller would be his speed (D) and his elusiveness (D-). Coach JCA will have to surround him with a strong O-Line or Mr. Miller will be a sitting duck for Big Ten D's. Miller will undoubtedly reshirt next season. Column 1 Column 2 RESULT ? [/B][/FONT][/SIZE] Even though we have an obvious QB controversy in Ann Arbor, there is no doubt that this is a position of strength for the Wolverines. Offensive Skill Positions The running backs for Michigan look pretty good on paper. This season, the bulk of the rushing load was handled by Sophomore RB, Vincent Smith (85). Smith rushed for 957 yards and scored 12 TD's. He is a 5'6 back with very good quickness and agility. He seems to fit very well in Michigan's offense. Backing up Smith will be Junior Michael Shaw (85) and Freshman Fitzgerald Toussaint (82). Shaw is more of a punishing running back with above average ability to break tackles, while Toussaint is more of a straight up running speed back with some elusiveness. At wide receiver, we have a strong junior class along with Sophomore standout Roy Roundtree (86). Roundtree had 17 catches this season (coach JCA likes to spread it around) while averaging 21.7 yards per catch along with 3 TD's. With good speed and average hands, look for Roundtree to be a bigger part of the offense next season. Additionally, next season will feature three junior wideouts in Junior Hemingway (85), Martavious Odoms (85) and Darryl Stonum (84). All three were involved in the offense with 17, 22, and 13 catches respectively and are all rated around 85 overall. Furthermore, Michigan has 5 other receivers on their roster between 78 and 63 ranking overall. At TE, Michigan will be returning Kevin Koger (84) for his final season. Koger caught 27 balls for a total of 457 yards. With coach JCA's strong willingness to use his TE's, Koger will be a intrical part of the Wolverine offense. He is 6'4 with good acceleration off the line and has average hands. However, with only one backup in Sophomore Brandon Moore (77), the Wolverines will need to recruit TE depth this offseason or next year. On the recruiting front, Michigan has not recruited any offensive skill position players so far this year. Column 1 Column 2 RESULT ? [/B][/FONT][/SIZE] Overall, the skill position players for the Wolverines appear to be sound for the next two to three years. Offensive Line At the tackles, Michigan has one of the better redshirt freshman lineman in the country in Taylor Lewan (85). He is 6'8 283 pound agile tackle that has the ability to run block and pass block with the best of them. He will be the anchor on the left side of the line for at least the next two seasons. The right tackle position will be anchored by 6'6 305 pound Junior Mark Huyge (85). His is an above average lineman in really all aspects. The problem for the Wolverines will be depth at the tackle position. Right now, the Wolverines will only have 3 Tackles on the roster next season (two mentioned above) and do not have any commits yet at this position. At Center, the Wolverines have captain David Molk (96). The big question is will he return for his senior season or will he take his talents (FU Lebron) to the NFL? If he returns, he will most likely be rated at the top center in the country. If he doesn't, Michigan will have to rely on Sophomore Rocko Khoury to lead the way. Khoury is basically an average lineman. However, the Wolverines have done a good job of recruiting centers. The first center commit is 4*, 8th ranked in the country from Ohio, Damarcus Bailey. Bailey is 6'4 and 279 pounds with A- acceleration. He is rated C+ in both run blocking and pass blocking. His major weakness is his run blocking strength. With the powerful defensive lineman in the Big Ten, he will have to improve his run blocking strength to become a major factor. The second center commit is 4*, 7th ranked Center in the country from Ohio, Deon Ward. Ward is 6'2 and 300 pounds will good mobility. He is rated C+ in both run blocking and pass blocking. His major weakness is his stamina (D). He will need to get in better shape if he is to be a major factor for the Wolverines. At the guard position, the Wolverines appear to have a strong foundation at RG. Sophomore Patrick Omameh (87) and Sophomore Ricky Barnum (83) will most likely be the starters for the next two seasons. Omameh started this entire season at RG and gave up 6 sacks. Barnum got some experience in the Wolverine blowouts and will most likely move to LG next season. Also, the Wolverines add 4* Recruit and the 16th ranked Guard in the country from Missouri, Kevin Waller. Waller is 6'2 and 294 pounds with good mobility and pass blocking footwork. His major weakness is his run blocking strength and footwork (both D+). Column 1 Column 2 RESULT ?? [/B][/FONT][/SIZE] Overall, the offensive line depth concerns me a little. Of course, I'm sure coach JCA will be looking to add O-line depth next season. Defensive Line The future of the defensive line looks strong for the Wolverines. At the ends, they have two decent juniors in Ryan Van Bergen (86) and Brandon Herron (82). Van Bergen had 40 tackles, 17 for a loss and 8 sacks while Herron played behind 6'5 sophomore Craig Roh (73). Roh is a converted OLB that has the size and speed to play either position. Will Roh play end next year? Even if he moves to LB, Michigan has other people to fill in. Freshman Jibreel Black (77) has good speed and may challenge to start next year at the end opposite of Van Bergen. At Defensive Tackle, the Wolverines have a monster in the middle. Junion Mark Martin (90) will be amongst the best at his position in the country next season. Along with Martin, Michigan has two strong young tackles in Freshman Renaldo Sagesse (87) and Sophomore William Campbell (85). Sagesse had 13 tackles and 3 sacks in his first year as a freshman. Defensive Tackle is without a doubt a strength for the Wolverines moving forward. So far, Michigan has not added any D-Line commits. Column 1 Column 2 RESULT ? [/B][/FONT][/SIZE] Overall, with Martin, Van Bergen and Sagesse, Michigan appears to be set at D-line for the next few years. Linebackers At the linebacker position, Michigan appears to have a bunch of average linebackers. That is probably why coach JCA heavily recruited this position. At the outside linebacker position, sophomore Brandin Hawthorne (80) appears to be the best of the returning starters. The 6'0 202 pound speed rusher had 23 tackles and 6 tackles for a loss this year. Starting at the other linebacker spot will be Freshman Marvin Robinson. Robinson redshirted this season but seems to be the type of linebacker that coach JCA loves. He is extremely fast (90 speed) but only weighs 190 pounds. There is no doubt he can rush the passer but can he play the run in the Big Ten? Time will tell. In the middle, Michigan will have to rely on Sophomore Kenny Demens (78). The 6'1 244 pound MLB has very good speed (88). He is also an above average tackler with decent strength. He has 20 tackles this season and 4 tackles for a loss. Beyond Demens, the MLB position appears to be relatively weak for the future. On the recruiting front, coach JCA did land three 4 star OLB recruits. They are: OLB J. Green is a 6'2 220 pound recruit our of Virginia. He appears to be the best of the OLB recruits. He had out of this world acceleration for a linebacker (A+) and decent speed (B-). He has above average tackling skills and play recognition skills. Besides awareness, his big weakness is man to man coverage. He will have to improve in this area if he is to guard to good tight ends in the Big Ten. OLB A. Ferguson is a 6'3 198 pound recruit out of Washington DC. Like the other Michigan linebackers, he can definitely run (B- speed, B- Acceleration). He is also very strong for a 198 pound linebacker (B). His weaknesses are awareness and man coverage. He will most likely redshirt (unless JCA made some promises that we don't know about...) OLB Brett Gilliam is a Juco transfer from the state of Virginia. He is 6'5 227 and has very good acceleration (A-), decent speed (B-) and is fairly strong (B-). His big weakness will be his awareness and play recognition skills. (as with most of the people in this recruiting class). If he can improve in those abilities, he will be able to contribute for the Wolverine during the next two seasons. Column 1 Column 2 RESULT ?? [/B][/FONT][/SIZE] I definitely like the OLB recruits coach JCA recruited this season. However, I'm concerned that they will be able to hold up against the running games of other Big Ten teams? We shall see! Defensive Secondary The departure of all-world DB and Captain, Troy Woolfork looks to be a big loss for the Wolverines. For the next few seasons, Michigan will have to rely on Sophomore DB JT Floyd (81). Floyd is an average corner with extreme acceleration and average speed (89) for a CB. This season, he had 20 tackles and 2 interceptions opposite Woolfork. Beyond Floyd, the Wolverines will have to rely on two Freshman CB's in Justin Turner (78) and Al Backey (75). Coach JCA will have to add CB depth in this offseason or next year. If not, this could be a major concern for the Wolverines moving forward. At the FS position, True Frosh Cameron Gordon played very well in his first season. He had 30 tackles and 8 pass deflections. With his tremendous speed (96) ,man coverage ability (86), and pursuit skills (92), he looks to be a force in the future for the Wolverines. Coach JCA also added 4* Recruit FS Troy Holmes from Fenton, Michigan. Holmes is rated the 13th best FS in the country. However, some scouts think he is one of the most underrated recruits in the country. Holmes is a very good tackler (A-) with good speed (B+) and acceleration (A-). His biggest weakness is his coverage ability (C). Column 1 Column 2 RESULT ?? [/B][/FONT][/SIZE] Overall, the safety position is very strong for the Wolverines.