Michigan took a real hit with its wide receivers in the fall when it was announced that Amara Darboh would miss the season with injury. Through spring ball and everything that was said last summer, it appeared as though he would be a major contributor.
His absence provided opportunity for other receivers, but no one really stepped forward opposite the Wolverines' top target.
THE GOOD: Jeremy Gallon. The senior accounted for 1,373 receiving yards (43 percent of the team’s total) and nine touchdowns (also 43 percent of the team’s total). Even when it was obvious Devin Gardner was looking for his security blanket, even when opponents knew that the ball was likely going to end up going to Gallon, they couldn’t keep the ball out of his hands.
Hybrid TE Devin Funchess deserves a nod, too. Named the Big Ten's tight end of the year, Michigan moved him around its offense, frequently splitting him out. He was a huge part of the receiving game, and Gallon definitely owes some of his yardage to the fact teams were caught up with the 6-foot-5, 235-pound sophomore.
THE BAD: It always seemed as though Drew Dileo should’ve been involved more. He caught only 16 passes on the season, four less than he did last year. And after last season it felt like he had proved himself as a reliable and trustworthy receiver. But instead, his average dropped from 26 yards per game to 13.
Dileo was fifth on the team in receptions, which wouldn’t be too bad if second, third and/or fourth had been actual wide receivers. Funchess, Jake Butt and Fitzgerald Toussaint all played vital receiving roles for the team, but when we’re looking at it from a receiver standpoint when your best true receiver averaged 106 yards per game and the next guy averaged 13, there isn’t exactly a ton of depth in your arsenal.
Perhaps if Darboh had been able to play this season there would have been another legitimate threat out wide. Itjust never really felt like Jehu Chesson, Jeremy Jackson or Joe Reynolds was going to be a consistent contributor this season.
THE FUTURE: Funchess and Butt both return (but we’ll get to that more in the tight end section on Thursday). Expect the two top receivers next season to be Darboh, assuming he returns full force, and Chesson, who showed flashes this season. Da'Mario Jones, Csont'e York and Jaron Dukes are three freshmen who could really explode onto the scene next season. Their names were brought up during bowl practice and with time during the spring season to both get more into the playbook and the weight room, these three could be names we hear a bit next season.
And Drake Harris, who enrolled early, will have a chance to see the field if he impresses in spring season and fall camp. He’s 6-foot-4, 180 pounds with speed, quickness and a nose for the ball.