USA Today Sports Images
With Florida and Michigan set to open their respective seasons with a much-hyped Sept. 2 meeting at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the hunger for knowledge has been strong among Gators fans regarding the outlook for the Wolverines' roster for 2017.
Last Saturday, Michigan wrapped up its spring with its annual spring game in Ann Arbor. Today, TheWolverine.com senior editor Chris Balas joins us and shares his in-depth insight about the Wolverines football team and how it looked this spring.
ITG: With spring practices in the books, who do you see as Michigan’s top players on each side of the ball and why?
Balas: Chris Evans has made a push at running back after averaging 7.0 yards per carry as a true freshman last year. He’s got wiggle, speed and he’s added nearly 10 pounds, so he’s stronger. He showed in the Orange Bowl he could excel against top talent, and he’s going to get the most carries. True freshman wide receiver Tarik Black was the leading receiver in the spring game, and the Wolverines will need him to step up to help replace an NFL receiving corps. True freshman Donovan Peoples-Jones, too, will be relied upon and had a great spring … not ideal to have freshmen replacing guys like Amara Darboh, obviously, but that’s where they are.
Defensively, the front four should be outstanding. Last year’s second unit is now this year’s first, but they could have started for many teams last year. Sophomore Rashan Gary, Rivals.com’s former No. 1 recruit nationally, has been nearly unblockable, and tackle Maurice Hurst is a future pro. Fifth-year senior linebacker Mike McCray will be an All-Big Ten guy this year, as well.