Why Donovan Edwards is confident in the 2024 Michigan Wolverines

Many in the national college football ecosphere aren’t expecting much from Michigan football after winning the national championship. Coaching changes, personnel lost, a harder schedule — there are myriad reasons why the expectations are low nationally, and each one makes sense.

But expectations nationally aren’t the same as those in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines plan on repeating and defending their title.

Now one of the leaders on the team, Michigan running back Donovan Edwards returned for his senior year. He’s in the spotlight not only as a player but also as one of the focal cover athletes on the upcoming EA Sports College Football 25 video game.

Michigan does have questions at quarterback for those who don’t get to see practice, but Edwards is confident in the state of the offense — despite losing J.J. McCarthy, Blake Corum, the two starting wide receivers, and the entire offensive line. The way he sees it, there are players who will replace the aforementioned who can do some things better than their predecessors and the team will lean into those strengths.

“There’s definitely talent that we have. If not, people do different things and they may do it better,” Edwards said. “There’s a difference between Roman and T-Mo (Tyler Morris). T-Mo does things better than Roman, Roman does things better than T-Mo. It’s the same thing right now. This team is not the same, who cares? Teams are never going to be the same even if one person is gone or if 10 people are gone.

“What is our identity gonna be? How are we gonna get better? How are we going to use the talent that we have that is here to be better? We’re not last year’s team, we’re a whole different team. There’s no doubt in my mind that we will be successful.”

Of course, the defense is projected to be very good. ESPN SP+ has the defense ranked at No. 3 in the nation and Michigan as a whole at No. 6.

Edwards is acutely aware that there’s a lot to replace with 13 of his teammates having been drafted last year and more having signed with NFL teams this offseason as undrafted free agents. But they set a standard and have taught those who are left behind what they need to do in order to maintain what has quickly become the status quo in Ann Arbor.

“The team looks great now. I know I said earlier it’s going to be very hard to lose very key guys who have been here in this program for four or three, five years laying down a foundation and have been through the peaks and have been through the low points,” Edwards said. “Sad to see them go. Just those guys, the leaders that we had last year, uplifted our standards that allowed the guys like me and the rest of the other leaders like Max Bredeson, Myles Hinton, Will, Mason, Ernest, Makari, Rod, guys who have played big-time football, who have seen low points as well as losing to Georgia and TCU, it now gives us the opportunity to lead.

“Now, I say that we look really good for losing key guys. Guys who are in positions that they weren’t in last year or haven’t been, overcoming their adversity as well. Now that their numbers are called, there are some guys that are on the ones, some guys that are on the twos, they’re climbing up the depth chart now. All it is for us is to continuously just being able to stay humble and stay gritty and continue to grind and to accomplish our goals. As long we continue to have high leadership, as long as we can continue to have open ears and an open mind and an open heart then we’ll be successful. There’s no doubt in my mind that we will be able to accomplish our goals, it’s just the fact that can we continue — even though the days are hard, can we continue to lock in? Can we make our M’s straight in the weight room, can we do the small things right? Can we stay off the list?

“I’m very confident in this team so it’s going to be a great challenge for us this upcoming year.”

Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire