Tuesday, August 7, 2012

2012 Positional Breakdown: Wide Receiver

One of last year's biggest strengths for the Wolverines was at the wide receiver position, largely because of the depth and a stellar performer in Junior Hemmingway. Unfortunately, number 21 from last year is no longer at Michigan's disposal to consistently make big plays. It is now up to the lesser roles of last year to step up and make something happen out wide for the Wolverines.

Heavy weights will be rested upon the shoulders of players like Roy Roundtree, Jeremy Gallon, and Drew Dileo. Some of these guys have proven themselves in years past, but offensive coordinator Al Borges will be looking for someone to really step up and do as much as possible to replace the presence of Hemmingway for the Michigan offense.



Roy Roundtree (Senior)
Roy Roundtree is entering his final season for the Wolverines, and he is certainly looking to make it his best. Roundtree has had trouble with consistency throughout his career, so that certainly has a lot of people questioning how much production he will bring this year. He is coming off of a sub-par performance in 2011.

Here are the basic stats for Roundtree:


2009
2010
2011
Receptions
32
72
19
Yards
434
935
355
Average
13.6
13.0
18.7
Long
76
75
57
TDs
3
7
2


As you can see, he has not been a very consistent player, year to year, for the Wolverines, but he has proven in the past that he can step up under pressure, and that is exactly the case heading into the 2012 season. Without Hemmingway, many people are relying on Roy Roundtree to come up big.

The biggest improvement I'll be looking for in Roundtree is his total number of catches. The rest of those statistics are heavily dependant on a number of other factors, but it is pretty clear that Robinson will be looking towards Roundtree more this season. I'm looking for a pretty sizable leap in the number of catches Roundtree brings in this season.

Jeremy Gallon (Junior)
Jeremy Gallon had what I considered to be a break out season last year. He came in during his freshman season and was really a non-factor for the Wolverines. However, as he got more opportunities on the field, his results spoke volumes. He was a sleeper on the depth chart heading into 2011, but he proved that he can have a huge impact for the Wolverine offense.


Here are the basic stats for Gallon:


2010
2011
Receptions
4
31
Yards
49
453
Average
12.3
14.6
Long
20
64
TDs
1
3

The number one thing I love about Jeremy Gallon is his ability to simply catch the football. He arguably has the most reliable hands on the team and rarely misses an opportunity when the ball comes his way. And when you combine that with his speed, it becomes pretty clear that Gallon is primed to make a huge difference for the Wolverines in 2012.


Drew Dileo (Junior)
Drew Dileo will be looking forward to his first year of consistent action for the Wolverines in 2012. As a freshman and sophomore, he did not get very many opportunities, but one of the great things about college football is that guys graduate and holes are left to be filled by those waiting.


Here are the basic stats for Dileo:


2010
2011
Receptions
1
9
Yards
3
121
Average
3.0
13.4
Long
3
28
TDs
0
2

Drew Dileo doesn't have great height for a wide receiver, so most of the damage to his credit will have to be done working down field, not starting down field. With no disrespect to Robinson, Michigan's offense relies a lot on jump balls down the field, and Dileo simply won't be able to compete for many of those standing at 5-feet-10-inches.

One thing I'm really looking forward to seeing with Drew Dileo is how he handles a huge step up from last year, when he was a small factor. He will be getting a lot more targets and touches, which will overall result in a very good amount of opportunities to make things happen for this team.

Along with these three, there are a few players that deserve mention.  The first being Jerald Robinson.  He was pretty quiet in his first two seasons, receiving a redshirt in 2010 and made no major contributions in 2011, but by all accounts he had a great spring practice and appeared destined for some serious playing time in the fall.  He has great size at 6'1" and weighing 215 lbs and finally appeared developed enough to make a serious impact.  However, he has been involved in some offseason trouble and his status is still up in the air at this point.  If he makes it back for the fall, he could be a guy that even becomes a starter towards the latter part of the year.

There are also two very talented freshmen recruits entering Ann Arbor, Jehu Chesson and Amara Darboh.  Although neither is likely to start, there is a good chance at least one will see some serious playing time.  Darboh has impressed in his first few days in fall camp, which makes me believe even more than he will not be redshirted in his freshman campaign.  To me, his impressive size at 6'2" and 220 lbs makes him ready for the field this year.  Chesson is a tad taller, but only comes in weighing 185 lbs.  If we see him in any serious capacity, it will be a bad sign for all of Michigan's returning receivers.

The final "receiver" that should be mentioned is the wildcard of Michigan's 2012 offense, Devin Gardner.  We covered this potential move in an article awhile back and it's still one of the hottest topics in Michigan sports.  Can Gardner transition to wide receiver?  Is it a good decision?  Those things can be debated, but for this article, there is no doubt that he could have a tremendous impact on the wide receiver position.  He stands at an impressive 6'4" and weighs 2013 lbs.  He also has the added advantage of college experience and knowledge of the offense.  By most signs, this position move will be occurring next year.  Not permanently, but at least for a few games.

There's no doubt that the wide receiver position will be in transition for 2012, but that doesn't mean there aren't any capable guys coming back to fill the void.  The main question will be; who will step up and when?  There are a few guys that appear likely to take over, but with incoming freshmen, off-field issues, and the wildcard of Devin Gardner, it's pretty hard to predict a starting lineup.  This is one that will largely be determined in camp.

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