Breaking Down Michigan Football's 2021 Scholarship Numbers
Like many college football programs across the country, Michigan's offseason has taken some twists and turns. Fifteen players have departed the program via the transfer portal, while two athletes have transferred in.
Below, we have provided the program's updated scholarship chart (unofficial) and are here to break it all down.
Michigan Football 2021 Scholarship Chart (Updated June 8, 2021)
* — Redshirted
^ — Former walk-on now on scholarship (it should also be noted, however, that walk-on scholarships are given on a semester-to-semester basis, and aren't necessarily held throughout an entire career).
# — Seventh year in college
Breaking Down Michigan Football's Scholarship Numbers
• The Wolverines are on the hook for 86 scholarships at this point, including all walk-ons who have been given a scholarship at any point in the past — fifth-year senior center Andrew Vastardis, redshirt junior defensive tackle Jess Speight and junior kicker Jake Moody. Michigan is on the hook for 83 when excluding all walk-ons. The program does not update the public on scholarship status for former walk-ons.
• It's important to note, however, that 2020 was deemed a 'free year' by the NCAA, meaning every player on the roster was able to return. Plenty decided to depart, as they had originally planned to heading into last year's campaign, but two — Vastardis and fifth-year senior safety Brad Hawkins — decided to return. Hawkins does not count against the scholarship count, meaning the Wolverines' official count is at 85 (though they are paying for Hawkins' schooling).
We'll also point out that each and every second-year player listed on the chart has freshman eligibility. They could redshirt this season (or any year) and have four years of eligibility remaining, or they could play the next four years consecutively. The Wolverines have a total of 41 players who have technically have not used up any eligibility.
• Many have gone out of their way to criticize the Michigan program for having 15 players transfer out this offseason, but with the Wolverines having signed 22 newcomers in its 2021 class, some attrition was actually a necessity to clear some space.
Now, Michigan has three scholarships to work with heading into 2021, considering the fact that they can take one of the three aforementioned former walk-ons off of scholarship.
The Maize and Blue have pursued several transfers, including former USC defensive tackle Jay Toia, who was on campus for an official visit last weekend (CLICK HERE to read the latest intel on his visit). They've landed two in redshirt sophomore quarterback Alan Bowman out of Texas Tech and seventh-year senior defensive tackle Jordan Whittley out of Oregon State, and have room for a few more.
One Big-Picture Takeaway
This is a young Michigan team. Yes, plenty gained some valuable experience in 2020, with several starters having either opted out or suffered injuries, but it was only a six-game season, and it went sideways quickly.
On the positive side of things, 41 players have freshman eligibility, and some have game experience. Running back Blake Corum, offensive lineman Zak Zinter and slot receiver A.J. Henning have all started at least one game (Zinter has four starts under his belt), and are expected to be significant contributors in 2021.
If the Wolverines can avoid some attrition from the 2020 and 2021 recruiting classes over the next couple years, this will be a veteran team down the road, older than other Harbaugh teams we've seen.
Another positive (for the future) is that only three players — Vastardis, Whittley and Hawkins — will be out of eligibility after this year, meaning every other player can theoretically return. It would have to be a mutual decision, of course, since the Wolverines will still have to stay at or below the scholarship limit of 85. Some will head to the NFL, while others will use their final year(s) at another institution.
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