Michigan is coming off its best season in a long time after beating rival Ohio State, defeating Iowa in the Big Ten title game and making the college football playoffs.
Even after losing the majority of the defense, Wolverines still have high expectations for the new football season. Corn and Blue return most of their star power to the offensive end of the ball, and Michigan earned a Rimington Award runner-up at center in Virginia’s Olusegun Oluwatimi as a graduate transfer.
With the Wolverines having such a great season last year, as you can imagine, expectations are extremely high for Jim Harbaugh and company. ESPN has published an article ranking the top 25 in college football based on future rankings. The list is determined based on projections for the 2022, 2023 and 2024 seasons. Adam Rittenberg bases his projections on coaching changes, recruitment and NIL projections.
Michigan came in 8th on the list and moved the furthest to the top of any team last year. Rittenberg ranked the Wolverines quarterback room as the eighth best in the nation, he ranked the corn and blues offense 8th and the defense is 10th for the 2022 season. Here’s what was said about Michigan for the future.
QB Future 2022 ranking: ten
Ranking of future offenses 2022: 8
Future defense ranking 2022: ten
Future 2021 team ranking: Unclassified
Wolverine Recognition: As expected, Michigan takes the biggest step up in the team standings after recording its first AP top three since its final national championship season in 1997. The Wolverines may not be a yearly contender for the CFP, but they have apparently turned a corner under Coach Jim. Harbaugh, who recommitted to the program after flirting with the Minnesota Vikings job in February. The offense has made great strides in 2021 and will likely stay on track despite the departure of coordinator Josh Gattis to Miami. Michigan returns starting quarterback Cade McNamara as well as dynamic sophomore JJ McCarthy, who could be the unit’s long-term answer. Although Michigan relied on running play and control of the line of scrimmage in 2021, its strength this coming season could be wide receiver. Ronnie Bell returns from an ACL injury to join fellow senior Cornelius Johnson, junior Roman Wilson and second Andrel Anthony. The Wolverines also find All-Big Ten candidate Erick All at tight end. While Hassan Haskins will miss running back, Michigan’s 1-2 punch of junior Blake Corum and second Donovan Edwards should propel the position through at least 2023. A veteran line returning Zak Zinter, Trevor Keegan and Ryan Hayes added center Olusegun Oluwatimi, a Virginia transfer and 2021 Rimington Trophy finalist.
The biggest short-term questions come on defense, as Michigan loses arguably the best running tandem in the nation with Aidan Hutchinson (2nd pick in the NFL Draft) and David Ojabo, who would have been a first-round pick. if he hadn’t been pre-draft injury. Safety Dax Hill, an NFL first-round draft pick, and coordinator Mike Macdonald are also leaving. The linebacker looks like the immediate force of the unit as Junior Colson and Nikhai Hill-Green both return, alongside Michael Barrett and intriguing young players such as Raylen Wilson, ESPN’s No. 56 rookie in the class of 2022. Cornerbacks DJ Turner and Gemon Green bring their experience to the back, alongside junior safety RJ Moten. Michigan’s recent recruiting campaign, which includes top 100 national prospects William Johnson and Keon Sabb, should help in 2023 and 2024. The inside line is settling in well with Mazi Smith and Kris Jenkins, but Michigan needs more of threats to emerge. Braiden McGregor, Michigan’s top rookie of 2020, will flourish this fall? The Wolverines also added Derrick Moore, ESPN’s No. 20 rookie in 2022.
Other Big Ten teams ranked in the ESPN FPR article were: Ohio State (3), Penn State (15), Michigan State (18), Wisconsin (19), and Iowa (21).