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2016 Season Preview – Special Teams

September 1, 2016

KICKERS/PUNTERS

Depth Chart – Kenny Allen (RS SR), Quinn Nordin (FR)

Overview

With the transfer of Andrew David, Michigan only has two scholarship kickers on the roster in Kenny Allen and Quinn Nordin.  Allen did a nice job of handling placekicking duties and kickoffs last year, going 18-22 on FGs including 3-6 on FGs over 40 yards.  He’ll add punting to his duties this year, taking over for Blake O’Neill who was stellar except for his one indiscretion against MSU.  Allen likely won’t be as precise but Allen was originally recruited as a punter and should do a nice job there as well.  It wouldn’t shock to see Quinn Nordin take over the kickoffs and long field goals at some point during the season.  As the highest rated kicker in the 2016 recruiting class, he has a big leg that could be an asset in certain situations this year.  Outside of those two, there are a handful of walk-ons who would have to fill in should they be needed.  

RETURNERS 

Depth Chart – Jabrill Peppers (RS SO), Jourdan Lewis (SR), Jehu Chesson (SR), Chris Evans (FR), Eddie McDoom (FR), Kekoa Crawford (FR) 

Overview

Michigan has several great options to handle kickoff and punt returns. Its expected that Mr. Everything Jabrill Peppers will handle most of the punt returns where he excelled last year.  He also will likely be out there for some kick returns alongside either Lewis or Chesson who also have shown the ability to break a big play in that role.  Don’t be surprised if some of the younger guys get a chance to return some kicks as well as the season goes on.  Evans, McDoom, Crawford and others have a ton of talent and speed and kick returns might be a place to showcase that.  

One other thing to note – last year Michigan saw a pretty decent improvement in their special teams thanks to the addition of John Baxter, one of the best special teams coaches in the country.  Baxter left in January to return to USC (must have decided he hated the Michigan winters) and Chris Patridge and Mike Zordich are now coaching the special teams.  Partridge is a former high school head coach with limited experience coaching special teams in college.  Zordich did serve as the special teams coordinator at Youngstown State before coming to Michigan.  Both are very capable, but something to keep an eye on as the season progresses.  

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