We explain what the changes to the Michigan Wolverines' updated 2020 football roster means.
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Analyzing The Changes U-M Made To Its New 2020 Roster, & What They All Mean

The Michigan Wolverines updated their 2020 football roster on Friday, revealing several jersey number changes among key returning players. Thirteen scholarship Wolverines also made significant weight changes since last season ended, with "significant" being defined as a weight fluctuation of at least 10 pounds.

We take a closer look at all the notable changes Michigan's new roster revealed, and break down what they all mean below.

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Michigan Wolverines football coach Jim Harbaugh
Michigan Wolverines football coach Jim Harbaugh has compiled a 47-18 record during his five years at U-M. (USA Today Sports Images)

The Change: Senior wideout Nico Collins has switched his jersey number from No. 4 to No. 1.

What it Means: This is the most significant move of the 16 players who switched uniform numbers on U-M's roster, seeing as how coveted the No. 1 jersey has been at Michigan throughout its history.

Only 17 Wolverine players have ever worn the No. 1 jersey, with four of them residing in the top-11 in receiving yards at U-M — Braylon Edwards (No. 1), Anthony Carter (No. 2), David Terrell (No. 5) and Greg McMurtry (No. 11).

The No. 1 jersey has often been reserved for elite receivers, with the Michigan coaches clearly thinking Collins has the potential to be one of the game's best in 2020.

The Change: Sophomore receiver Giles Jackson has switched his jersey number from No. 15 to No. 0.

What it Means: We found out about this one when Jackson tweeted it out in the spring, but it's still quite unique nonetheless. The 2020 campaign will be the first in college football history where players will be allowed to wear the No. 0 jersey, and Jackson and freshman cornerback Andre Seldon took full advantage of it.

The Change: Redshirt junior defensive tackle Donovan Jeter gained 28 pounds this offseason and is now up to 318 after playing at 290 pounds last season.

What it Means: This is arguably the most notable change on Michigan's entire roster, seeing as how the Wolverines need all the help they can get in their defensive tackle depth (especially if sophomore Chris Hinton decides not to play this season).

Defensive coordinator Don Brown gave Jeter significant run in the Sept. 21 loss at Wisconsin in 2019 but after he and the rest of the Michigan front seven were gashed severely, with the then-redshirt sophomore barely seeing the field the rest of the year.

The depth at the spot is too thin for Jeter not to be a contributor, however. A lack of bulk and size were a complaint surrounding the defensive tackles on Michigan's roster last year, but Jeter's 28-pound weight gain is a step in the right direction toward cleaning that up.

The Change: Senior fullback Ben Mason has dropped 16 pounds and is down to 254 after playing at 270 last season.

What it Means: The reason behind this change is simple: Mason added weight last year to provide some much-needed help at defensive tackle, but the experiment wound up being a disaster.

He has since strictly been moved back to fullback, hence the drop in weight. The loss is certainly nothing to be concerned about, and should actually help him move better in space from his more natural fullback spot.

The Change: Fifth-year senior running back Chris Evans is back on the roster after being removed from it for the 2019 campaign due to suspension.

What it Means: This one was a longtime coming, but is significant nonetheless. Evans' presence in Michigan's backfield will only make what is already arguably the strongest unit on the team even better.

With that being said, it's fair to expect the veteran to have some rust on his game after a full year away from football. Sophomore Zach Charbonnet and redshirt sophomore Hassan Haskins are both expected to be ahead of Evans on the depth chart as a result, as the latter works his way back into football shape.

The Change: Three returning Wolverines — redshirt sophomore Ben VanSumeren, redshirt freshman David Ojabo and redshirt freshman George Johnson — are listed at new positions on the updated roster, while we have also received clarity on four freshmen whose positions were a bit up in the air.

What it Means: VanSumeren had revealed he had moved from running back to linebacker and it was known Johnson had been switched from receiver to cornerback, but Ojabo's move from defensive end to linebacker came as a bit of an eye-opener.

Expected to be a contributor in 2020, Ojabo was anticipated to be one of the first defensive ends off the bench, but will now apparently add depth to the linebacking unit instead.

The four freshmen, meanwhile, who had some question marks surrounding their positions were Eamonn Dennis (defensive back), Jaylen Harrell (defensive lineman), William Mohan (linebacker) and R.J. Moten (defensive back).


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