Michigan Football: Two Wolverines earn Freshman All-American honors

Michigan football has an outstanding class and two were named to the freshman All-American for the preseason. 

College football kicks off this Saturday and Michigan football will have its season opener next Saturday. As an avid Michigan fan, you have probably read a Preseason All-American team or list of the best 50-100 players in the country at some point this offseason.

Well, 247Sports has its own unique spin to these lists with its Preseason True Freshman All-American team. This year, a pair of Michigan true freshmen in running back Donovan Edwards and linebacker Junior Colson were named to 247sports’ Preseason True Freshman All-American team for 2021.

Donovan Edwards finished as the 42nd overall prospect in the 2021 class and the 4th best running back in the 247Sports composite.

However, according to 247Sports own rankings, Edwards ranked as a five-star, the 33rd overall prospect, and the 2nd best running back in the country.

Edwards does not have the same clear path to playing time as some other running back prospects as Michigan football returns Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum.

There is a strong case to be made that Edwards is the most physically gifted of Michigan’s running backs. He is too good not to have a role and I predict that his role will increase as the season goes on.

However, if Edwards is going to earn a spot on the postseason True Freshman All-American team, he likely will need upwards of 750 yards rushing or 1,000 yards combined rushing and receiving. Edwards may not get that opportunity if he is sharing carries with Haskins and Corum.

Colson was ranked as a four-star, the 90th overall prospect, and the 10th ranked linebacker in the 2021 class. While he finished as a top 100 prospect, I thought he was still underrated and should have finished as a top 50 prospect.

His explosiveness and versatility have reminded me of Isaiah Simmons to a degree. However, Colson’s path to immediate playing time may have taken a hit with the emergence of redshirt freshman Nikhai Hill-Green.

It appears that Hill-Green has passed Michael Barrett on the depth chart at inside linebacker. With Josh Ross having the other spot locked down for Colson to earn a starting spot, he will have to pass either Hill-Green or Ross.

I don’t think it is likely that Michigan football starts two freshmen inside linebackers with a defensive coordinator.

Colson will rotate in at linebacker and be a factor on special teams. However, it may be year two before he makes a significant impact if Hill-Green’s emergence is legit.

A few months ago, Michigan football was in line to have three players on this team.

However, four-star receiver Xavier Worthy was granted release out of his letter of intent. Worthy is already turning heads at Texas and looks like he will be a significant contributor for the Longhorns this year.

His departure was a big loss, however, Michigan still has a very talented wide receiver room.

It is possible that Michigan already has a third candidate for this team in true freshman quarterback J.J. McCarthy.

McCarthy will likely begin the season as Cade McNamara’s backup although, that might not be the case all year.  247Sports listed SMU true freshman Preston Stone as the quarterback for its Preseason True Freshman All-American team.

However, Stone is in a battle for the starting job himself. If McCarthy starts more games and puts up better numbers, he could be the quarterback on the post-season version of this team.

Donovan Edwards, Junior Colson, and J.J. McCarthy were the headliners in Michigan’s 2021 recruiting class.

Despite the present circumstances, if all three find themselves on the final edition of 247Sports True Freshman All-American Team, Michigan likely has a successful 2021 season and will enter next season with a lot of momentum.