Today we will be continuing our series of position previews for the 2011 season. This series is designed not only to give you all a close look at the Wolverine stars but also to give you a look at the players who may not be in the spotlight but still play a very important role on the team. Today’s edition will focus on one of the strongest positions for the Wolverines, the Wide Receivers.
The 2011 Wolverines will have a lot of questions. Will Drob transition well to the pro style offense(he will)? Who will start at RB? Will our defense go from awful to mediocre\good? But the one place I don’t believe we have any questions is at WR. This is a great position to have talent and experience because it will really help Denard transition to his new role in the offense.
There will be 4 seniors at the WR/TE position for the 2011 season and while they may not be the stars of the show, when healthy they pack a powerful punch. Remember PG Kelvin Grady well he’s turned himself into a very nice WR. While Kelvin hasn’t seen tons of playtime in the last 2 years he did manage to accumulate 210 yards last season and will make for a nice backup this year. Let’s also not forget senior TE Kevin Koger. Koger has been a mystifying player to me, being that if the catch is not difficult he has a tendency to drop the ball. Although that has been an issue, Koger still managed to rack up 200 yards and 2 TDs in his reduced role in the spread offense. Look for Kevin to play a much larger role in the offense this year. Now to dig into the meat of the senor wide-outs Martavious Odoms and Junior Hemingway, for the most part these 2 have been nothing short of spectacular during their Michigan careers when healthy. Junior missed three games last year and Odoms missed 6 and, even with those issues the WRs combines for over 700 yards and 5 TDs. But stats don’t tell the whole story both receivers are clutch (Odoms biggest game against ND and Hemingway’s catch against Indiana) and give extra effort during every play.
All of the senior WRs will be a great compliment to the true star of the show Roy Roundtree. Roundtree came to Michigan in the 12th hour of recruiting when Former Michigan Coach Rich Rod sold him a ton of snake oil(according to former Purdue coach Joe Tiller). In his time as part of the Maize and Blue Roy has turned into a true go to wide-out and the first WR to possibly be worthy of the #1 jersey. Last season was Roundtree’s breakout year when he snagged 72 receptions for 935 yards and 7 TD’s, he also had 242 of those yards in a win against the Illini setting the Michigan single game record for most yards in a game. Rountree’s one issue which was prominent against the Buckeyes last year (of course) was drops, if he can eliminate the drops expect Drob to Roundtree for the TD to ring out all year in the Big House.
With Stonum Redshirted for the season the rest of the WRs although talented have little experience. Jeremy Gallon(RS SO) Jeremy Jackson(SO) and Terrence Robinson(RS JR) all had about 50 yards last year. Although this group is limited I do expect one or more of these WR to step up big this year.
The Coaching staff can really rest easy with this group of talented WRs even without Stonum this is the most talented groups of WRs in the Big Ten. If this group can stay healthy expect them to really help Drob in his transition to the new offense. And don’t count out the young wide-outs because one of them could very well be the next great Michigan WR.