Michigan Football Preview 2016

2016 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 71 of 179

70 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2016 FOOTBALL PREVIEW WIDE RECEIVERS BY JOHN BORTON M ichigan's wide receiving corps features what appears to be the right combination, now and in the future. The Wolverines offer a wealth of experience among the starters while a tsunami of sticky-handed freshmen flooded in with the 2016 recruiting class. There's no way the youth movement takes center stage this fall. Fifth- year seniors Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson will see to that. Darboh notched a team-high 58 catches for 727 receiving yards and five touchdowns last fall, and has improved in the offseason, according to head coach Jim Harbaugh. Chesson merely became U-M's Most Valuable Player in 2015, not only making 50 catches for a team- best 764 yards and nine touch- downs but adding eight carries for 155 yards (19.4-yard average) and two scores. Plus, Chesson brought back a kickoff 96 yards for a touch- down and made a huge impression via his leadership skills. Combine those two with sophomore slot Grant Perry — 14 catches for 128 yards and a touchdown as a rookie in 2015 — and the Wolver- ines look well stocked for starters. They still have multi-year players behind those notables, however, and a freshman class that will be jockeying for position all season, in 2016 and beyond. The incoming class includes: 6-2, 183-pound Dylan Crawford, out of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.; Chris Evans, a 5-11, 190-pounder from Indianapolis; Brad Hawkins Jr., at 6-2, 205 from Camden, N.J.; Nate Johnson, at 5-11, 180 from Thompson's Station, Tenn.; the ominously named Eddie McDoom, at 6-0, 182 from Winter Garden, Fla.; and Ah- mir Mitchell, at 6-3, 205 from Egg Harbor City, N.J. Mitchell arrived in January as an early enrollee. The rest are rolling in during the summer months, joining with the veterans to work with the Michigan quarterbacks. Jake Rudock is gone, but that won't slow the receivers' roll, at least according to Perry. "I really don't think we're going to miss a beat," he said. "We've been working with every quarter- back throughout spring ball. They all get a lot of reps. "We all get together, and we all click with every quarterback. We're not focused on who is throwing the ball. We're focused on catching it and doing our job — helping out the quarterback, whoever that may be. We'll be ready." They were ready last season, vastly exceeding expectations. This was a group called out a bit by Harbaugh following the 2015 spring game, and one that responded by becoming a genuine strength of the team. "You've got to credit [wideouts coach] Jedd Fisch and Jim Harbaugh, Old Hands, YOung FlOOd Michigan Pass Catchers Are Looking To Catch Fire Fifth-year senior Jehu Chesson ranked third in the Big Ten with 12 touchdowns last fall — he scored nine times receiving, twice via rushing attempts and once on a kickoff return. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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