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Michigan football senior day: Which players still have…

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan’s 2018 season will be defined by the upcoming matchup with Ohio State, a possible Big Ten championship game appearance and where the Wolverines land in the postseason. But before it can attack any of those goals, Michigan has one final home game against Indiana.

For people outside the program, Saturday’s game is an appetizer. The five-star main course will be the game against Ohio State, which once again determines the Big Ten East Division.

To the seniors, however, Saturday will be one of the most memorable games of their careers. It will be the last time they burst from the tunnel, slap the banner and play in front of more than 111,000 fans.

Well, for some of them.

Senior day can be a bit confusing in college football. Some players are fifth- or even sixth-year seniors who are completely out of eligibility. Others might be in their fourth year but never took a redshirt.

But what everybody really wants to know: Which players can come back next season?

Here’s a look at the remaining eligibility for all the seniors listed on Michigan’s roster.

Fifth-year seniors

These players have already used their redshirt season and are in their fifth and final season playing college football. They aren’t eligible to return next season.

DL Chase Winovich

Chase Winovich decided to return to Michigan for one more season and became the heart and soul of the team’s No. 1 defense.

The linebacker turned tight end turned defensive lineman could have entered the NFL draft last season, but returned to school for one more crack at Ohio State and a Big Ten title.

In his final season, Winovich isn’t only leading the team with 12 tackles for loss, he coined the term “revenge tour” and helped set the tone for a dominant defense. Winovich is a fan favorite, not only because he decided to return, but because he backed it up with elite play and has the team in contention for a playoff berth.

The Wolverines have plenty of depth on the defensive line, but they’ll still feel the loss of Winovich next season.

CB Brandon Watson

Brandon Watson’s return for a fifth year was met with much less fanfare, but he’s been excellent as the No. 3 cornerback behind Lavert Hill and David Long.

Watson has picked off three passes and defended nine more, both the most on the team. Quarterbacks simple don’t throw in the direction of Hill and Long very often, so the third cornerback on Michigan’s defense is extremely important.

Don Brown puts his cornerbacks on islands in man-to-man coverage, and Watson has been up to the task. He’s also got 30 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss this season.

RT Juwann Bushell-Beatty

Last season wasn’t very successful for Juwann Bushell-Beatty, but he’s made massive improvements as a fifth-year senior.

Bushell-Beatty has played right tackle in all 10 games, getting better each week under Ed Warinner and even grading out as the team’s best offensive linemen a couple times.

He’s appeared in 32 games throughout his Michigan career, both on the offensive line and special teams.

DT Bryan Mone

One of the few players still left over from the Brady Hoke era, Mone has had an understandably up-and-down career.

As a true freshman in 2014, he played in 12 games and looked like Michigan’s next great defensive tackle. An injury completely erased his sophomore season, though, and that’s why he’s still eligible for 2018.

In limited playing time due to a wealth of talent on the defensive line, Mone has made 12 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss this season.

DL Lawrence Marshall

Lawrence Marshall has been a steady depth player for Brown the last two seasons. He’s made 19 career tackles since 2015.

LB Noah Furbush

Noah Furbush hasn’t gotten as many defensive snaps as a graduate student, but he has five tackles, an interception and two passes defended.

Last year, Furbush made 30 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and an interception, so Harbaugh was happy to have him back for a fifth season.

In 42 career games, he’s made 50 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss.

FB Jared Wangler

After he didn’t see the field his first two seasons, Jared Wangler played sparingly at linebacker in 2016. He switched to fullback for his senior season and has become the primary backup to Ben Mason in his fifth year.

Wangler is a trusted blocker in short-yardage situations and occasionally gets a chance with the ball in his hands. He caught his first career touchdown pass last month against Maryland.

RB Joe Hewlett

Joe Hewlett has never been a featured player for Michigan, but he’s doing a little bit of everything in his final season.

He’s been a star on special teams, returning a blocked punt 10 yards against Western Michigan, recovering a critical fumble on punt coverage against Michigan State and making several tackles.

Hewlett also got a carry on offense against Rutgers, gaining five yards.

Seniors with no eligibility remaining

Michigan has a handful of seniors who played as true freshmen and never took a redshirt season. Saturday will be their final game in the Big House.

S Tyree Kinnel

Jim Harbaugh decided to play Tyree Kinnel on special teams for eight games in 2015, so he’ll move on after three straight years as a starting safety.

Kinnel has played in every single game for Michigan since the start of 2016, making 140 tackles, eight tackles for loss and two interceptions over that 36-game span.

He’s made 87 solo tackles over the last three years, including many that prevented touchdowns or much longer gains. He gets lost in all the flashy talent on Michigan’s defense, but Kinnel has been rock solid throughout his Michigan tenure.

RB Karan Higdon

If the current redshirt rule had been in place when Karan Higdon arrived at Michigan, he would have another season of eligibility, though he almost certainly wouldn’t use it. Higdon played in three games as a true freshman, but they were the sixth, seventh and 11th games of the season.

Before the new rule that allows players to appear in any four games of a season without burning a year of eligibility, they could only play in the first four games of the season unless an injury landed them on the sideline.

Again, it probably wouldn’t have mattered, as Higdon is well on his way to becoming an NFL running back. He returned to Michigan after falling six yards short of 1,000 last year, and he’s already surpassed that mark in nine games.

Higdon is averaging 5.3 yards per carry with a much larger workload. He’s scored nine touchdowns to bring his career total to 26.

Higdon was the first player to officially announce his commitment to Harbaugh on national signing day, and he’s been one of the most productive to play for him in Ann Arbor.

WR Grant Perry

Michigan’s roster has been loaded with highly recruited wide receivers throughout Grant Perry’s career, but he’s always found a way to be part of the offense.

Perry’s made 68 catches for 737 yards and three touchdowns in his career, and while those numbers don’t jump out, he’s made some big plays in big games.

Perhaps the most important play he’s ever made came against Michigan State this season, when he ripped a sure interception out of a defender’s arms while Michigan was on the cusp of falling apart.

Michigan will have plenty of receivers going forward, but Perry has been a nice compliment in the slot.

OL Grant Newsome

Grant Newsome doesn’t technically belong in this section because he didn’t use up all of his eligibility. But he’s a fourth-year player who won’t play for Michigan again, just like Kinnel, Higdon and Perry.

Newsome was one of Michigan’s rising offensive linemen when he suffered a severe injury against Wisconsin in 2016. He worked to get back on the field for nearly two years before announcing his medical retirement from football.

He’s on the staff this season as a student coach working with tight ends.

Seniors with eligibility remaining

TE Zach Gentry

Michigan fans are hoping Zach Gentry will follow in the footsteps of Jake Butt and return for another season, because he’s a difficult player to replace.

At 6-foot-8, Gentry is a near-impossible matchup for defenses, and he’s used that to catch 28 passes for 392 yards and two touchdowns this season.

Gentry is a favorite target for quarterback Shea Patterson, and he’s still only scratching the surface of being a tight end after Harbaugh converted him from quarterback. If he stays for another year, Michigan will have another talented target who knows the system.

LT Jon Runyan

Jon Runyan is one of the most improved players on this Michigan team and epitomizes the growth Michigan’s offensive line has showed as a whole.

Runyan made his first start at left tackle against Notre Dame and struggled. He’s started all nine games since, and become reliable in run blocking and pass protection. He’s been named Michigan’s offensive lineman of the week twice: in two of the biggest games against Wisconsin and Penn State.

For an offensive line that’s seen plenty of turnover the last several years, Runyan will likely be a stabilizing force returning at left tackle in 2019.

LB Jordan Glasgow

The Glasgow family has been kind to Michigan, and Jordan Glasgow can return for one more season.

He’s made two sacks in limited defensive snaps this season, but Glasgow is most valuable on special teams. He’s a terror in kick coverage and can step in and make plays when called upon defensively.

Glasgow, like his brothers before him, came to Michigan with little fanfare and carved out an important role.

DL Reuben Jones

Reuben Jones was a three-star recruit in the 2015 class and has been in the mix for defensive line snaps since his sophomore year.

Jones has played in four games this season, making five tackles and one tackle for loss.

OL Nolan Ulizio

When Michigan was floundering at the tackle positions last season, Nolan Ulizio was one of the main options Harbaugh used to try to protect the quarterbacks.

Ulizio started the first five games of the season at right tackle and appeared in three other games as a backup.

He’s appeared in 17 games throughout his career.

Other seniors who will be honored

There are several seniors on Michigan’s roster who haven’t seen the field much or at all, but have been important contributors on the practice squad or in the locker room. Some have eligibility remaining, as well.

WR Jacob West

After he didn’t see the field his first three seasons, Jacob West made his debut on special teams against Notre Dame. He was a regular on special teams during nonconference play before tearing his ACL against SMU.

He has eligibility remaining.

WR Brendan White

Like West, Brendan White made his Michigan debut against Notre Dame. He’s contributed on special teams in every game and even saw snaps at wide receiver against Nebraska.

He has eligibility remaining.

DB Louis Grodman

The coaches have praised Louis Grodman as a practice squad member, but he made his official debut against Western Michigan. He’s played on special teams in six games this season and made a tackle against Maryland.

  He has eligibility remaining.  

  TE Kenneth Ferris

Kenneth Ferris hasn’t seen the field yet in his Michigan career, though he was an academic All-Big Ten honoree in 2017. He has eligibility remaining.

TE Joseph Files

After three years without game action, Joseph Files made his debut at tight end against Western Michigan. He also played tight end against Nebraska.

He has eligibility remaining.

LB Jameson Offerdahl

Jameson Offerdahl has piled up scout team awards throughout his Michigan career, and got into the Ohio State game last season. He hasn’t seen game action yet this season.

He has eligibility remaining.

LB Jack Dunaway

Perry’s former Brother Rice classmate, Jack Dunaway, made his season debut against Nebraska this season. He’s also been recognized for several scout team awards.

He has eligibility remaining.

DL John Luby

John Luby joined Michigan in 2017 and hasn’t gotten onto the field yet. He was named the scout team defensive player of the week in preparation for the SMU game.

He has eligibility remaining.

DB Matt Mitchell

Matt Mitchell waited more than four seasons to make his Michigan debut, but he got onto the field on special teams against Nebraska. He didn’t see game action from 2014-2017, but as a fifth-year senior, this will be his final home game.

LS Andrew Robinson

Andrew Robinson appeared in several games as a long snapper from 2015-2017, but hasn’t gotten onto the field yet this season. He’s a fifth-year senior, so he has no eligibility remaining.

RB Berkley Edwards

The brother of legendary Michigan wide receiver Braylon Edwards, Berkley Edwards joined Michigan for his sixth, and final, year of eligibility. He has contributed on special teams and carried the ball twice for four yards against Rutgers.

DB Casey Hughes

Casey Huges is also a sixth-year senior with no eligibility remaining. He spent his first five seasons at Utah. He played 29 games in the secondary and on special teams at Utah. He played on special teams against Western Michigan and SMU this year.

Copyright 2018 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit – All rights reserved.

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