The Wolverine

October 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 29 of 75

30 THE WOLVERINE OCTOBER 2017 BY CHRIS BALAS Last year, Michigan played 17 true freshmen in the season opener against Hawai'i, what seemed then to be an outrageous number and probably a one-time occurrence. But head coach Jim Harbaugh proved his commit- ment to youth was no outlier in play- ing 14 first-year players in the first two games this year, many of them contributing to a pair of wins over Florida and Cincinnati. Ten total played in the first game, though five — cornerback Benjamin St-Juste, fullback Ben Mason, line- backer Josh Ross, safety J'Marick Woods and offensive lineman An- drew Stueber — played only on spe- cial teams. Donovan Peoples-Jones contributed as a wide receiver and punt returner, Tarik Black at wide re- ceiver, Aubrey Solomon at defensive tackle, Kwity Paye at defensive end, and Ambry Thomas at cornerback and on special teams. A week later, offensive lineman Cesar Ruiz, running back O'maury Samuels (one carry for three yards), safety Brad Hawkins (special teams) and corner Jaylen Kelly-Powell (spe- cial teams) joined their classmates in burning the redshirts. Mason got his first run at fullback, while Woods saw time on defense, bringing the total number of freshmen playing on more than special teams to nine, with the potential that more will continue to join them. Harbaugh knew this fall, before any YOUTH MOVEMENT Michigan's 2017 Recruiting Class Is Already Contributing Rookie Tarik Black tallied six catches for 94 yards through the first two games and hauled in a 46-yard touchdown pass on his first career catch. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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