Where Michigan football is ranked in PFF’s way-too-early top 25

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Michigan is coming off the best season its have had in a very long time. The maize and blue defeated Ohio State, won the Big Ten title, and made it to the College Football Playoffs for the first time ever — before losing to Georgia in the first round.

The Wolverines lose a handful of starters, more notably on the defensive side of the ball, but they return a plethora of talent. Michigan returns most of its starting offense from last year, and the defense is looking to be just as good as it was this past season — even after losing its starting edge duo.

Michigan finished third last year after the season ended, and Pro Football Focus is extremely high on the Wolverines entering the 2022 campaign. PFF came out with a way-too-early top 25 for the 2022 season, and they have Michigan ranked No. 5.

Here is what PFF’s Anthony Treash had to say about the Wolverines.

5. MICHIGAN WOLVERINES

Last year, Michigan’s defense, led by edge defender Aidan Hutchinson, piloted the team to a Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff berth. With the record-breaking pass-rusher off to the NFL and young talent rising on the opposite side of the ball, the offense is likely going to be the key to Michigan remaining highly competitive.

Michigan’s offense is headlined by speedy running back Blake Corum, who turned in an elite 91.1 rushing grade serving as second-fiddle to Hassan Haskins in 2021. Alongside him is pass-catching back Donovan Edwards, tight end Erick All and a deep receiving corps that includes Ronnie Bell, Andrel Anthony, Cornelius Johnson, A.J. Henning and Roman Wilson. As good as that arsenal of weapons is, the quarterback position needs to improve in 2022.

Cade McNamara was serviceable, but he couldn’t put the team on his back. He has a limited arm that hinders the team’s downfield passing capabilities, and his 75.0 passing grade last season backs that up. On the other hand, five-star true sophomore J.J. McCarthy has a ceiling that can place this team among the best in the nation. He has the arm talent to lead an explosive passing offense and is also a high-level athlete. McCarthy saw some action last year as a true freshman and shined in both facets. Five of his 10 deep passing attempts were deemed a big-time throw by PFF, and he squeaked out just one turnover-worthy play on 66 dropbacks. On the ground, the 6-foot-3, 197-pound quarterback picked up seven explosive runs of 10 or more yards from 25 attempts — most of which were from designed attempts. He can simply make throws that McNamara can’t while also offering more in the designed run game.

Treash only had two other Big Ten teams ranked: Ohio State at No. 2 and Wisconsin at No. 21.

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