Michigan Football Position Preview: Special Teams
Kickoff is less than a month away and we are in the dead period for any news on the team and in college football in general. With that being said, let’s look over each position on the team and who is competing for the starting position and predict who will win each position. Today I will look at all of the special teams positions on the Michigan football team. Three of the five positions has competition, while the returner positions are pretty much locked up. Kicker has five guys battling, while punter has three of those five also competing for that job as well. Kenny Allen, has the most experience out of these five and looks to be the starter at possibly both kicker and punter. Ryan Tice, Andrew David and James Foug are all sophomores who see an opening and look to start at one of the positions. Quinn Nordin is the lone freshman who is only battling for kicker, but he will have a challenge trying to start his season. Long Snapper has three guys fighting for the job as Scott Sypniewski started 12 games last year while Andrew Robinson started in one game last year and will have to compete against Bradley Deeg. All of these men are going to fight like hell to prove to coach Harbaugh that they are starting at whichever special teams positions they play at Michigan. Let’s breakdown all of the candidate’s.
A sophomore from Washington high school, Andrew David was redshirted last year and will probably have to sit out another year before testing the field. Punter is weak and Kenny Allen could convert to a full-time punter and David could start at kicker, but the chances of that happening are slim.
The freshman from Rockford has some experience at punter and kicker, but will come into Michigan as a kicker. He converted two of his three field goal attempts, his longest being 51 yards out. 19 of his 23 kickoffs were touchbacks his senior year. Nordin will get a redshirt easily and won’t have a chance to possibly start until 2017.
The redshirt senior will play his final year at Michigan this year and most likely at kicker than at punter, even though he has experience at both special teams positions. Allen was 18 for 22 last season, his longest coming from 47 yards out. He also made all 46 extra point kicks. Allen is a solid kicker and while punter is in need of a good boot, kicker needs a solid player and Allen gives them that.
A sophomore from Saline, Tice will have to test Foug and Allen to show that he could start and leave the kicking duties to Allen.
Yep, Allen can also punt. Now he hasn’t punted since 2013, but with neither of the other two guys fighting for this job having any on the field play, Allen could take this job as well.
A sophomore from Palo Alton, Foug will have some competition with Kenny Allen being a kicker who could still take over the punting duties as well and Ryan Tice is a threat to his chances of starting as well.
A sophomore from Plymouth, Deeg is behind two guys who have played and started in games, his chances are at a zero percent with the other two guys still on the team.
The senior from Marquette started in 12 games last year and with that note he will start in all 12 and possibly more games this year no doubt.
The junior from Troy Athens started in one game last year, and 12 beats one, so Robinson is the clear backup and will start in 2017.
While there are a few people who do line up to return kicks, the main person who did it last year and will again is Jehu Chesson. The man had four returns last year for 166 yards and a touchdown. Chesson is the fastest player on this team and having him return kicks is the best option for the maize and blue this year.
Just like Chesson, there are a few others who can backup Peppers here, but Peppers is the main punt returner so the focus will be all on him. Peppers had 17 returns for 194 yards with a few of those just being a tackle or two away from being touchdowns. Peppers will be hungry after getting jipped out of a few of those touchdowns last year and will get one this season.
Who Starts at Each Special Teams Position for Michigan Come Week One?
The returner positions weren’t hard to figure out here and kicker had some complications to think about. Punter was a toss-up with both players in the same boat and long snapper was an easy pick. Check them out below.
- Kenny Allen
- Andrew David
- Quinn Nordin (red shirted)
- Ryan Tice
- James Foug
- Kenny Allen
- Scott Sypniewski
- Andrew Robinson
- Bradley Deeg
- Jehu Chesson
- Jabrill Peppers