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College Football Preview 2024: Michigan Wolverines win projections, strengths and weaknesses, quarterback spotlight and more

2X408BM Michigan quarterback Alex Orji runs the ball during the NCAA college football team's spring game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, April 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Michigan battled through head coach Jim Harbaugh's six-game suspension after recruiting violations and a sign-stealing controversy en route to an undefeated season and the program’s first national championship in the 21st century.

Now, the Wolverines must replace Harbaugh, defensive coordinator Jesse Minter and a program-record 13 drafted players in 2024 as they begin their title defense.

Offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore takes over as head coach and performed extremely admirably in an interim role last year, going 5-0 in Harbaugh’s absence with notable wins over then-No. 9 Penn State and then-No. 2 Ohio State. He’ll have one of the best defenses in the nation to help ease him into the job but will need to address several questions offensively if Michigan wants to come even close to the success it enjoyed the past three years.

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Biggest Strength: Possibly college football's best defense again

Defensive coordinator Jesse Minter and five drafted defenders are off to the NFL, but Michigan is still loaded on that side of the ball. The Wolverines sport the second-best defensive line, the seventh-best linebacker unit and the fourth-best secondary in the nation. Six defenders made the top 10 of their respective PFF positional rankings — more than any other school.

Biggest Weakness: Uncertainty on offense

Far more concerns exist on the other side of the ball right now. Michigan must replace a first-round quarterback (J.J. McCarthy), one of the program’s greatest running backs (Blake Corum), its six best offensive linemen and its top two wide receivers.

Tight end Colston Loveland and running back Donovan Edwards are proven stars, but the rest of the offense is one big question mark.

2023 Team Overview

EPA per play Yards per play Successful play rate Explosive run play rate Explosive pass play rate
0.176 6.3 39.1% 12.6% 21.4%
10th T-33rd 22nd 111th 5th
EPA allowed per play Yards allowed per play Successful play rate allowed Explosive run rate allowed Explosive pass rate allowed
-0.293 4.3 27.2% 12.0% 8.9%
7th 11th 8th 44th 9th

Three Notable Transfer Portal Additions

Three Notable Transfer Portal Losses

Quarterback Spotlight: Alex Orji

2023 Grade: 68.9
Key Stat: Two career dropbacks


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