The Wolverine had their best season in the College Football Era this year. Their season would ultimately lead to disappointment as the Georgia Bulldogs dominated them in the College Football Semi-Final game. While most Michigan fans are disappointed with how the season ended there were a lot of positives that occurred this year for them. This included finally beating the Ohio State Buckeyes in their rivalry game. While they will certainly wish the season ended better Michigan will look back to the ride this team gave them this year. What does this mean for Michigan in the future? There are Rumors of Coach Jim Harbaugh leaving for the NFL and the defense will lose two of their biggest stars in Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo to the draft. Will Michigan really be ready to compete at a high level after those huge losses?
There is one important bright note for Michigan to pay attention to, freshman QB JJ McCarthy looked great in the parts of the game that he played against the tough Georgia Defense. He looked like a freshman QB which is why there is still room for improvement but overall played well for a dude that was thrown into the game after offensive struggles for the Wolverines. Their other QB Cade McNamara is also a good QB who looked good throughout the year. Although McCarthy did not win the starting job as a true freshman I wouldn’t be surprised if he took it this offseason. There are a lot of fingers to point for this offense during the Orange Bowl but I will direct most of it at the Offensive Line for Michigan. The Georgia front seven dominated the game which made it hard for Michigan to ever get anything going on the offensive side of the ball. So at the QB spot, they should be set for next year unless both of these guys happen to get hurt or transfer during the offseason. With Harbaugh potentially leaving I could see that potentially happening, unfortunately.
They will likely lose running back Hassan Haskins to the draft who was phenomenal for this offense. It will definitely be someone who they miss as he was a key part of this offense throughout the year for the Wolverines. He will definitely make a great back in the NFL for the team that takes him in the upcoming draft. Although they have a lot of depth at running back and this should not be a problem for Michigan either. The offense looks like it will be ready to go next year despite the potential departures. The defensive side looks scarier for Michigan as they were terrific this year and the draft will certainly take a lot of them.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Wolverines will lose Aidan Hutchinson and David Obaji to the draft. Those will be the biggest losses for the Wolverines on defense and should bring the defensive production down. While it would be fixable to replace two guys Michigan will be losing a lot more. Christopher Hinton will also be declaring for the draft which was a bit of a surprise to the Michigan faithful. He had a great year this year and should get drafted at some point in the year. Mazi Smith is another name that has not confirmed his departure but there are rumors going around. He is another key to the defense that they will need in order to continue to play at the level they played at this year. They have some guys ready to replace Hutchinson on the edge including Braiden McGregor and TJ Guy. The only question is whether these guys can have a similar impact on the edges that made Michigan so effective. The transfer portal will also be something that Michigan should try to be active with. They could replace a lot of the talent they lose with even more talent in the portal. As college football is developing the portal it could be important to step in at this time. Although there will inevitably be some changes in the secondary if Michigan taught us anything this year it is that they need to be good upfront. There have been talented secondaries with this team before and they have never seemed to have made it out.
The Wolverines have a lot of things that are going to change for them coming into this college football season. The biggest thing needs to be the Wolverines being active in the portal to bring in some defense. If they can survive the departures they could be in the running for back-to-back Big 10 Championships. My prediction is the Wolverines finish the season in the top 20 coming behind Ohio State in their respective Big 10 division. While the potential is there I am not sure if this team can really go quickly with all the change and quarterback question marks.
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