2008 Michigan Preview: Receivers

If the QB is the meat of the spread offense, then the receivers are the potatoes.

Not only did Michigan lose their star wideout a year early, but they also lost the backup star wideout, Manningham and Arrington. Those two would've flourished under the new system. But, such is life. They left, and we must move on. Sure, we have a roster of unknowns, but we're deep with unknowns!

Making his starting debut this year, Greg Mathews (Jr. 6-3, 207) will be a somewhat familiar face to Michigan fans. He saw some pretty good playing time catching passes from Henne last year. With Hart hurt and Grady out, receivers were pressed to produce. And with Henne's injury, they were asked to catch lightning rods from Mallett. Mathews had 39 catches for 366 yards and 3 TDs last year. He saw playing time in every game, seeing at least 1 reception per game.

This year he will be asked to spend more time blocking than last year. Spreading the field out means that receivers are now not only engaging DBs at the line, but blocking downfield and maybe even taking on a LB or two.

Mathews has decent size for a WR. And he has the speed to be able to get into the middle of the field and get some attention from safeties. Breaking in a new QB might be a bit easier with a speedy talented WR corps. Mathews will be a pivotal player in this system.

Junior Hemingway (So. 6-1, 214) is a virtually unknown in the Michigan roster. Odds are you've heard his name a few times, but haven't a clue who he is and what he can do.

Hemingway only saw action in two games last year, although played in 10. He had 4 catches for 37 yards. I wish I could give a more detailed description of this guy, but I just don't have a clue what he is capable of. Out of HS, he was a 4-star recruit and the #19 player on the ESPN Top 150.

Also listed as a starter this year is Toney Clemons (So. 6-3, 201). Another virtually unknown on the Michigan roster. He played in 10 games last year, earned a letter. But only made one catch, against Purdue, for 5 yards. His HS career was good. He was a 4-star recruit and the #10 rated WR according to Scout.com.

Perhaps the most exciting player at the WR position this year could be true freshman Darryl Stonum (Fr. 6-2, 190). Stonum has been on the roster since January when he enrolled early at UM. He participated in the spring game and looked very impressive.

A 4-star recruit, #12 WR in the nation by Scout.com. In 2006 Stonum had 49 receptions for 1,100 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also recorded seven punt returns for 236 yards and two touchdowns. He is known for his speed, downfield threat and running ability.

Also showing up on the radar are LaTerryal Savoy, Roy Roundtree, Jon Conover and James Rogers.

It's a big radar.

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