While Michigan lost more talent than any other school last year, it replaced a lot of it with this year”s recruiting class, bringing in another top-five class.
Incoming recruits rarely make serious contributions, watch for these six to possibly get some time this year and develop into stars in upcoming seasons.
Spencer Brinton: Brinton was the final piece of Michigan”s blockbuster trade with San Diego State, a deal that netted the Aztecs Steve Fisher and Brandon Smith in exchange for Brinton and two conditional draft picks.
Because Brinton served on a Mormon mission in South Africa last year, he never got to see Michigan or the other schools he considered transferring to: Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi and Arizona. For Brinton, a 30-minute conversation with Michigan”s coaching staff was all he needed.
“In some ways he reminds me of Tom Brady,” head coach Lloyd Carr said. “He”s a left hander but he”s got a very good release, he”s smooth and I know he”s smart.
Markus Curry: Curry, brother of junior strong safety Julius, played strong safety against Miami (Ohio) and will return punts as the season progresses.
Markus thought he was going to play for Michigan last year, but the University didn”t admit him. Instead, he attended Valley Forge (Penn.) Prep School. Curry enrolled in January.
“I think going to prep school was a tremendous experience for him,” Carr said. “He”s got everything you want: he”s smart, he”s tough, he”s bigger than he appears to be, and he”s going to get better and better.”
Curry was rated the nation”s 18th best prospect by Super Prep Magazine.
Braylon Edwards: Edwards will battle Tyrece Butler and Tim Massaquoi for the No. 3 starting receiver spot.
The 6-foot-3, 200 pound Edwards, who hauled in two passes for 22 yards late in Saturday”s win, will provide a big target for Navarre.
As long as senior Marquise Walker and junior Ronald Bellamy stay healthy, Edwards will receive limited playing time, but if either gets hurt, expect Edwards to play more.
Marlin Jackson: Jackson was one of four blue-chip prospects Carr stole from Pennsylvania.
Jackson saw a fair amount of playing time and finished with five tackles Saturday. He”ll see most of his time in the dime package. Like Curry, Jackson will get a chance at returning punts.
Ernest Shazor: At 6-foot-4, 212 pounds, he”s the biggest safety to play for Michigan in recent memory. Expect him to contribute on special teams, possibly blocking an extra point or field goal at some point during the season.
Rivals.com rated Shazor the No. 6 player in the country and the No. 1 safety prospect.
David Underwood: Expect Underwood to get about five carries a game and follow Anthony Thomas”s path of making a presence as a freshman tailback. Underwood ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds and expect the bulk of his carries to come off of sweeps off tackle.
ESPN”s Tom Lemming rated Underwood the country”s 69th best prospect.