Jim Harbaugh speaks team injuries as 2021 season opener nears

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — It appears that Michigan football is relatively healthy as it enters the 2021 college football season. At least, heading into game week, that’s the case.

While there’s still a week of practice awaiting the team before the Sept. 4 season opener against Western Michigan, as the Wolverines exit training camp and emerge specifically into game week, there are few players who have been ruled out for the season. Which, if that holds, is welcome news for a team that’s either lost someone significant on the eve of the season, or has had a major contributor significantly banged up as the team is about to take the field.

This year, however, there are three players who have been ruled out for the season, and all three are walk-ons — significant in that none are starters.

“Hunter Neff sustained an injury in spring ball. It’s gonna keep him out of the season,” Harbaugh said Monday afternoon. “And then Jake Thaw and Lucas Andrighetto also will be out for the season.”

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In previous years, we’ve seen major players such as Donovan Jeter, Tarik Black, Brad Robbins, Andrew Stueber and Benjamin St-Juste ruled out before the season started. Likewise, in 2018, Rashan Gary sustained a major injury the week of the game which somewhat limited his ability to play.

The disappointing name here is Lucas Andrighetto, a running back who had drawn rave reviews from Harbaugh going back to 2019. Expected to be a special teams contributor, Andrighetto had before torn his ACL which excluded him from that season.

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Final Michigan football 2021 offensive depth chart projection