Written by: Billyle Alman
The three B10 pre-season honorees for Michigan come as no surprise for those following the program. In the PDL prospect world, Francis Atuahene and Marcello Borges have both been tabbed as future professionals. We hope that Borges’ placement in the backline doesn’t hide his creative talent going forward. With the likes of Rylee Woods and others at the left back spot in the past, there is no doubt that Coach Daley will commit numbers going forward. We just hope Marcello gets enough opportunities to be a focal point creatively.
The most recent beat about Francis is his health. It looks like the freshman, Zakyi, will always be an able replacement at the #9, but with a healthy Francis scoring goals, he has the respect of opposing coaches to be in the mix for Big Ten Player of the Year.
Jack Hallahan came to Michigan as an accomplished youth player and valued recruit, but made a splash in the Big Ten as an unknown. The challenge is for him to stay creative and dangerous now that he is on the opposing team’s scouting report. As a young growing talent we have no doubt he will excel.
Let’s throw the individual awards out the window. The Wolverines were picked to finish 5th in conference of 9 competing clubs. Though a top 3 pick would have felt nice, finishing second to last in 2016 could have left this team anywhere. A 5th place pick among the coaches speaks a lot to the returning talent of this umich club. Maryland and Indiana look like big NCAA candidates, but the opportunity is there for Michigan to jump the likes of Wisconsin and MSU in early Big Ten play.
Again, Coach Chaka Daley brings in a talented recruiting class to Ann Arbor and Big Ten coaches have taken note. Can these young players contribute to a returning pool of players looking to redeem the let down of 2016? Yes.