Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, January 18, 2017
The losses for Michigan are staggering coming off a second 10-win season under Jim Harbaugh. No doubt, the 2017 season will be a year of transition for the program.
Yes, Harbaugh has recruited well. Still, he has to replace players like LB/S Jabrill Peppers, CB Jourdan Lewis, TE Jake Butt, OT Erik Magnuson, DE Taco Charlton and DE Chris Wormley, all of whom earned first-team All-Big Ten honors for the media, coaches or both. Others gone are WRs Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson, CB Channing Stribling, G Kyle Kalis, OT Ben Braden, RB De?Veon Smith, DT Ryan Glasgow, LB Ben Gedeon, Ss Dymonte Thomas and Delano Hill and K/P Kenny Allen.
Got all of that? Here are the top five Michigan players that need to be replaced.
TE Jake Butt. Has there ever been a better tight end in Michigan annals? Butt capped a big senior season by winning the Mackey Award as the nation?s top tight end. He also was voted Big Ten Tight End of the Year. Butt caught 46 passes for 546 yards with four TDs. He leaves Ann Arbor with 138 career grabs for 1,646 yards and 11 TDs. It was unfortunate to see him injure a knee in the Orange Bowl.
DE Taco Charlton. A consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection, Charlton paced the Big Ten with .86 sacks per game (9.5 total). He also was in the top 10 in tackles for loss with 13 and notched 43 tackles. Charlton formed a nice duo off the edge with Chris Wormley, who had 40 tackles with nine TFLs and six sacks and was first-team All-Big Ten by the coaches and second-team by the media.
WR Amara Darboh. He was consensus second-team All-Big Ten after ranking sixth in the Big Ten with 57 receptions for 862 yards and seven TDs. He finished with 151 catches for 2,062 yards and 14 touchdowns. Darboh combined his Jehu Chesson to form a top duo, as Chesson had 35 catches for 500 yards and two scores and leaves Ann Arbor with 114 career catches for 1,639 yards and 12 scores.
CB Jourdan Lewis. There was no better coverman in the Big Ten, as Lewis earned Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year honors and finished fourth in the league with 13 passes broken up. No doubt, he was a major reason why the Wolverines led the Big Ten in pass defense (142.5 ypg), teaming with fellow departed corner Channing Stribling to give Michigan a boffo corner tandem.
LB/S Jabrill Peppers. The guy did it all, playing myriad positions and impacting games in all three phases: offense, defense and special teams. He?s a once-in-a-generation talent that will be impossible to replace, as Peppers left early for the NFL after being a Heisman finalist and winning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Linebacker of the Year and Return Specialist of the Year honors. His stats don?t do justice to the impact he had. In a word, Peppers was sensational.
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