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What To Expect From Michigan Football’s Transfer Class

michigan football transfer

This off-season was an important one for Michigan Football. Michigan faced criticism for its 2023 recruiting class not being quite as good as many believed it should have been. Jim Harbaugh and his staff were able to quell some of those concerns with a strong group of transfer players. The Wolverines are not known to take many transfers, but the changing dynamics within college football recruiting have forced programs to adapt. Michigan landed a total of 10 players through the portal to date and has successfully filled some key holes with these veteran additions. A handful of these players are expected to compete for starting roles but expect many to add quality depth and veteran leadership to their position rooms.

Michigan Football Transfer Analysis: How Does Each Transfer Fit In?

Jack Tuttle, QB (Indiana Transfer)

Tuttle was rated a four-star recruit coming out of Mission Hills High School in California. He originally enrolled at Utah before transferring to Indiana after his freshman season. He appeared in 15 games with five starts for the Hoosiers accumulating 901 passing yards, five touchdowns to six interceptions, and a completion percentage of 57.1 percent. Tuttle suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the first game against Penn State. He served as a team captain last season.

Tuttle brings veteran experience and leadership to the quarterback room that has been vacated by the transfers of Cade McNamara (Iowa) and Alan Bowman (Oklahoma State). He provides quality depth behind J.J. McCarthy and will compete for the backup quarterback job with Davis Warren and Alex Orji. Tuttle has also expressed interest in coaching after his playing days are over. Expect him to have some sort of mentorship role with the young quarterbacks in Michigan’s room.

A.J. Barner, TE (Indiana Transfer)

Barner was rated a three-star recruit coming out of Aurora High School. He was the No. 44 ranked player in Ohio in the class of 2020 per the 247 Sports Composite. He appeared primarily on special teams as a freshman, but he has earned regular playing time over the last two seasons. Last season, he was voted team captain and totaled 28 receptions for 199 yards and three touchdowns.

Michigan enters next season needing to replace production and depth at the tight end position. Luke Schoonmaker has moved on to the NFL and Erick All and Louis Hansen both transferred to new schools. Colston Loveland is locked in as the starter after an impressive freshman season, but the backup job is up for grabs. Barner is likely the early favorite to win it in Fall camp. Matthew Hibner, Max Bredeson, and Marlin Klein will also compete for the job. Barner has good size (6-6, 250) and has the athleticism and receiving skills needed to produce in Michigan’s offense.

Myles Hinton, OT (Stanford Transfer)

A former four-star recruit out of high school, Michigan was considered the favorite to land Hinton before he signed with Stanford. He was the sixth-rated offensive tackle prospect and the number 74 overall player in the nation. Over the course of his career at Stanford, he started in 16 of 23 career games. He left the program after head coach David Shaw stepped down. Hinton has plenty of familiarity with the program as his brother, Chris, was a defensive lineman for the Wolverines.

Hinton provides much-needed depth at offensive tackle after the graduation of starting left tackle Ryan Hayes. His combination of size and power fits best on the right side, but he has some experience at left tackle. Fellow transfer LaDarius Henderson (we will get to him in a second) is the favorite to land the left tackle job vacated by Hayes, which leaves a crowded competition on the right side. Returning co-starters Karsen Barnhart and Trente Jones will likely push Hinton to a backup role. Hinton has the ability to provide veteran depth as a swing tackle, but he will surely compete for a starting job next season.

LaDarius Henderson, OG/OT (Arizona State Transfer)

Henderson was rated a three-star recruit coming out of Waxahachie High School in the class of 2019. However, he didn’t begin playing football until his junior year of high school. As a 17-year-old true freshman, he took over the starting left tackle job in the third game of the 2019 season. He appeared sparingly in 2020 but claimed the starting left guard spot as a junior. He started all 13 games in 2021 and started the first six games in 2022 before an injury ended his season. Henderson accepted an invite to the East-West Shrine Bowl before transferring to Michigan for his final year of eligibility instead. He is yet another former team captain.

Michigan’s back-to-back Joe Moore Award-winning offensive line is one of the best in college football, but they must replace two starters from last season. Henderson is seen to be the favorite to start at left tackle, but he didn’t enroll for the Spring, so he may need time to pick up the offense. Nonetheless, his combination of athleticism and length is intriguing. He also brings versatility to the unit as someone who can play guard or tackle.

Drake Nugent, OC (Stanford Transfer)

Nugent was rated a three-star recruit coming out of Highlands Ranch High School. The second Stanford transfer for Michigan, Nugent was a two-year starter for the Cardinal and a two-time All-PAC-12 honorable mention. Like a few other members of this transfer class, he was voted team captain last season.

Heading into 2023, Michigan must replace starting center and Rimington Award winner Olu Oluwatimi. Nugent seems like the likely favorite to replace him given his starting experience.  However, he was limited this spring, and sophomores Greg Crippen and Raheem Anderson are talented former top recruits that will challenge him for the job in fall camp. Nugent lacks size and length, but he is an intelligent player that shows good nastiness as a blocker.

Josaiah Stewart, EDGE (Coastal Carolina Transfer)

One of the top players in Massachusetts coming out of high school, Stewart was rated a three-star recruit in the class of 2021. He originally committed to Boston College but ended up at Coastal Carolina where he made an immediate impact as a freshman. He earned Freshman All-American honors with 12.5 sacks, 15.5 tackles for loss, and three forced fumbles. Stewart followed up that performance with a solid 36 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, one forced fumble, and one pass breakup in 2022. Before transferring to Michigan this offseason, he had started in 17 of 24 career games for Coastal Carolina.

Stewart is arguably the most intriguing of Michigan’s transfer additions this offseason. He is a talented pass rusher with the pure athleticism and speed to give opposing offensive linemen fits. He plays the run well too despite his lack of measurables for the position (6-1, 237). Stewart will compete with Jaylen Harrell, Braiden McGregor, and Derrick Moore for one of two starting edge spots, but Michigan regularly rotates several players. Michigan needed veteran help along the edge after Mike Morris‘ departure to the NFL and the transfers of Eyabi Okie, Julius Welschof, and Taylor Upshaw. Stewart brings much-needed pass-rushing depth and his best football may be ahead of him.

Ernest Hausmann, LB (Nebraska Transfer)

Originally a 3-star recruit out of high school, Hausmann was the top-rated transfer linebacker on the market by 247Sports. He recorded 54 total tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack, and one fumble recovery while starting seven games as a true freshman for Nebraska. He was only the fifth true freshman linebacker to start for the Cornhuskers in the last 30 seasons.

This addition is good for the present and the future. Michigan lost a couple of linebackers to the transfer portal but returns both starters from last season in Michael Barrett and Junior Colson. Depending on Colson’s NFL Draft intentions at the end of the season, the Wolverines could be looking to replace both starters in 2024. Hausmann’s speed and athleticism are stand-out traits in his game and he can start if needed. He and Jimmy Rolder give Michigan a duo of young, ascending linebackers to develop into starters.

Josh Wallace, CB (UMass Transfer)

In high school, Wallace was a standout athlete in both football and basketball at DeMatha Catholic in Maryland. He drew Division I interest in both sports but chose to attend UMass for football. Wallace started in 34 of 39 career games played for the Minuteman and was a team captain. Last season, he had 41 total tackles, three tackles for loss, two interceptions, ten passes defended, and one fumble recovery.

Wallace was a hot name on the transfer market and gathered several offers when he entered the portal. He enters as the favorite to start opposite of sophomore Will Johnson, but he will face competition. Sophomores Amorion Walker and Ja’Den McBurrows are expected to be in the running for the No. 2 cornerback job. Regardless of his role, he will add much-needed experience and depth to a room that is lacking in both areas. Wallace has good size for the position (6-0, 190) and has the blend of athleticism, length, and physicality that the Wolverines typically covet.

James Turner, K (Louisville Transfer) and Hudson Hollenbeck, P (Mississippi State Transfer)

Turner was an unranked recruit out of Saline High School in the class of 2019. Louisville was Turner’s lone Division I offer coming out of high school. He has served as the starting kicker for the Cardinals for the past three seasons. In 2022, Turner converted 20-of-22 field goal attempts, which tied a school record for most in school history. He also has experience handling kickoff duties. Hollenbeck was considered one of the better-kicking prospects coming out of high school. Per Kohl’s Kicking, he was rated as a 4.5-star kicker and five-star punter. He did not see the field during his freshman season.

Michigan returns minimal experience at specialist after the departures of Jake Moody and Brad Robbins. The Wolverines bring back sophomore Tommy Doman and second-year freshman Charlie Mentzer. Doman saw minimal action in four games last season and is the only returning specialist with game experience. Turner will compete with Doman, Mentzer, and incoming freshman Adam Samaha for the kicking duties. Turner’s experience gives him the edge in the kicking battle while Doman and Hollenbeck will likely compete for the punting job.

 

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