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ESPN: This Michigan football freshman could be instant impact in 2024

Michigan football is coming off a national championship win with a number of stalwarts remaining on both sides of the ball. However, the offense will lose a number of players to the NFL.

If the Wolverines defend their title in 2024, it will come down to the defense continuing to be elite while the offense finds its rhythm. And new players stepping up.

Though there are numerous players who have patiently waiting for their turn, particularly on the offensive line, the skill positions are mostly wide open. Though there are a few high-profile returnees like junior tight end Colston Loveland and running back Donovan Edwards, there’s room for any player who could come in and make plays. And that includes first-year players.

ESPN took a look at which top freshmen across college football could make an instant impact and one Wolverine made the list: running back Jordan Marshall. (subscription required)

RB Jordan Marshall, Michigan Wolverines

ESPN 300 rank: 153

Michigan is losing star running back Blake Corum, who led the FBS in rushing touchdowns in 2023. Donovan EdwardsKalel Mullings and Cole Cabana — who was No. 117 in the 2023 ESPN 300 — are coming back. Marshall won the Ohio Mr. Football award and ran for 1,550 yards and 17 touchdowns and had 394 yards receiving with four touchdown receptions this past season. The Wolverines’ offense is built on the running game and used multiple backs last season. Marshall could find his role as Michigan tries to fill Corum’s shoes.

Of course, that’s a tough running back room to infiltrate, but Marshall is an elite player. Like Zach Charbonnet in 2019, he certainly could see the field early, despite the multiple players ahead of him on the depth chart given his skill set.

If Michigan is to find offensive success in 2024, it almost certainly will be because it continues to lean on and have a dominant run game — especially considering there’s no surety as to who will start at quarterback. If Marshall comes in and makes an instant impact, while Edwards and Mullings take steps forward, that could go a long way towards winning the conference a fourth straight year and more.

Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire