The third installment to our Michigan football spring preview gives you a look at the wide receivers. There is a lot of potential with this receiving core so let’s get to it.
2014 was supposed to be a big year for everything to do with Michigan football. None of what we thought was going to happen came true; Devin Gardner was supposed to have a bounce-back senior season, the running backs were supposed to lead the Michigan offense, and receivers such as Devin Funchess and Dennis Norfleet were going to shine.
Funchess was still the bright star that Michigan had at receiver. He had a bit of a drop, however, from his 2013 campaign to 2014. Even though he had more catches in 2014 (62 compared to 49), he still had fewer yards, touchdowns and average yards per catch compared to his 2013 season; not to mention three of his four touchdowns came in the first half of the home opener against Appalachian State. Overall, it was a very average year for the receivers at Michigan.
- Grant Perry (three-star receiver, played with QB Alex Malzone in high school)
- Brian Cole (four-star athlete who has experience at both receiver and running back)
Projected Depth Chart
|1st Team||Amara Darboh||RS Jr.||6-foot-2, 216 lbs.|
|2nd Team||Jehu Chesson||RS Jr.||6-foot-3, 207 lbs.|
|Backup||Freddy Canteen||So.||6-foot-1, 185 lbs.|
|Backup||Dennis Norfleet||Sr.||5-foot-7, 168 lbs.|
|Backup||Drake Harris||RS Fr.||6-foot-4, 174 lbs.|
|Backup||Brian Cole||Fr.||6-foot-2, 200 lbs.|
|Backup||Grant Perry||Fr.||6-foot, 185 lbs.|
|Backup||Maurice Ways||RS Fr.||6-foot-4, 205 lbs.|
|Backup||Da’Mario Jones||Jr.||6-foot-2, 199 lbs.|
|Backup||Jaron Dukes||RS So.||6-foot-4, 204 lbs.|
|Backup||Bo Dever||RS Jr.||6-foot-2, 199 lbs.|
|Backup||Keneth Sloss||Jr.||5-foot-11, 160 lbs.|
|Backup||Jack Wangler||RS So.||6-foot-1, 201 lbs.|
|Backup||Brad Anlauf||RS Jr.||6-foot-4, 199 lbs.|
Darboh was no doubt the second best receiver Michigan had last year behind Funchess. He had 36 catches for 473 yards and two touchdowns, which in hindsight wasn’t a whole lot but still good enough to be second behind Funchess. With Funchess gone, Darboh has a lot to prove if he wants to be the No. 1 target for whoever Michigan’s quarterback is going to be.
Canteen didn’t put up big numbers last season but he has a chance to prove himself in 2015. Although he only had five catches for 22 yards and one touchdown all season, he has potential to be a good slot receiver. He isn’t the fastest receiver Michigan has, but his route running and ability to catch and secure the ball make up for that.
Player to Watch: Dennis Norfleet
Norfleet has been an interesting player to watch since he has been at Michigan. Brady Hoke never really took full advantage of the speed and elusiveness that Norfleet possesses so it will be interesting to see what Jim Harbaugh makes of Norfleet’s unused potential. Norfleet has been great at returning kicks for Michigan, but we all want to see this kid shine at the receiver position. Since he is going to be a senior during the 2015 season, it’s a do-or-die year for Norfleet.
Position Grade: B-