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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Saw this on BON; passing on some accidental memery. In short: five players from opponents that you would draft onto your team given the opportunity.

1. Justin King, Penn State

Aaaargh. Mr. King, if you had decided to come to Michigan a national championship would have been a real possibility last year and you wouldn't be facing down another year of playing opposite Anthony Morelli. Also your head coach would not constantly try to schedule you for brain extraction surgery.

Anyway: King's the best corner in the conference and Michigan's defensive backs are looming as a potential Achilles heel on an otherwise national-championship caliber team. So what if he's still a bit shy when it comes to tackling? He can cover. We need guys who can cover.

2. Jack Ikegwuonu, Wisconsin

Sense a theme? Ikegwuonu did a better job against Manningham than anyone else who faced him -- both Mario TDs were against Allen Langford -- and established himself as an excellent tackler and solid coverman as the year progressed. He's behind King because I've seen King cover deep routes more tightly and, um, King's eligibility isn't in question because he likes to steal.

3. Dan Connor, Penn State

Connor's moving into the MLB spot vacated by the departed Paul Pozluszny; if he was moving over to replace David Harris I would be vastly more sanguine about the linebacking corps this year. Connor's never gotten the opportunity to wreak terrible revenge on Chad Henne, like PSU message board nuts proclaimed he had, uh, proclaimed before he matriculated; if you can't beat 'em -- and you can't, man, you just can't -- join 'em.

4. Sam Young, Notre Dame

He's a right tackle who would form a bookend of death if paired with Jake Long. Though everyone has high hopes for redshirt freshman Steve Schilling, Young leapt right into the starting lineup for ND and performed well as a true freshman. Mono kept Schilling from replicating that feat and a shoulder injury held him out most of the spring, so he's still a talented wilcard. Young, not so much with the wildcard.

5. Travis Beckum, Wisconsin.

The stupidity-based departure of Carson Butler leaves Mike Massey alone amongst Michigan tight ends with a shred of experience. Meanwhile, Beckum was the only identifiable receiving threat the Badgers had last year and he still spent his 2006 torching Big Ten secondaries. And he had just been moved over from LB/DE, so he's just scratching the surface of his talent. Add Beckum to a Manningham/Arrington combination at wide receiver and opposing secondaries would run up the white flag.

6. (I cheat!) Aaron Pettry, Ohio State

I really hope we don't have cause to mutter to ourselves this year and take back all the unfairly nasty things we said about Garrett Rivas and his 80% field goal conversion rate. With Brian Wright apparently struggling -- in the spring game KC Lopata appeared to be the leading candidate for the job -- Michigan is going back to walk-ons to handle the kicking job. Anyone who remembers the Brabbs/Neinberg/Finley year of kicking death is spooked. Pettry didn't get many opportunities last year what with the Buckeyes preferring those touchdown things, but he was 8 for 11 and showed 50-yard range.

7. Vernon Gholston, Ohio State

Like King, I suffer through coulda-woulda-shoulda syndrome in re: Gholston, the first Michigan native to excel for the Buckeyes I can remember. (Say what you want about Craig Krenzel's moxie/toughness/grit/general David-Eckstein-ness, but he was an average at best QB.) Gholston was and is a freak of nature, a late-developing player who Michigan was tardy to offer and lost to the Buckeyes. He's sort of like Alain Kashama except sometime over the past couple years he learned how to play football. He would look great occupying a defensive end slot, but he's lower on the list because Michigan looks set at defensive end with Tim Jamison and Brandon Graham.

Others considered: Malcolm Jenkins, CB, OSU; Anthony Scirroto, S/posse organizer, PSU; Sean Lee, LB, PSU; Alex Boone, OT, OSU; Anthony Morelli, QB-- HA! No, seriously folks.