Michigan Wolverines’ Top 10 Returning Players in 2024 Include Will Johnson, Colston Loveland

    These top 10 returning players will need to step up in 2024 if the Michigan Wolverines are to repeat last season's championship-winning success.

    The Michigan Wolverines begin 2024 as a team in transition, fresh off winning a national championship. However, 18 players are leaving to turn pro, and head coach Jim Harbaugh departs for the NFL. There has been an exodus of talent in Ann Arbor; however, as an elite college program, there are plenty of playmakers waiting to step up.

    With a solid core of young players, potential breakout stars, and some of the top players in the nation at their position, these top 10 returning players will be the ones looking to lead the Wolverines to back-to-back championships.

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    Michigan Wolverines’ Top 10 Returners in 2024

    Analyzing the returning players at every school is a difficult task in the transfer portal area. As such, we’ve included transfer-portal athletes on each team’s roster page to open spring camp in addition to the rostered players from last year.

    10) Kalel Mullings, RB

    Kalel Mullings returns to Michigan and should see an increased role in 2024. While Donovan Edwards will be the lead back, Mullings will see plenty of snaps as a two-pronged rushing attack.

    The converted linebacker had 36 rushing attempts for 222 yards and one touchdown last fall, although expect those numbers to increase exponentially in 2024. Mullings should also see more special teams reps in the fall and is envisioned to have prominent contributions.

    9) Giovanni El-Hadi, OL

    There is turnover on the Wolverines’ offensive line, with six players leaving for the NFL Draft. However, there is plenty of talent waiting in the wings, including Giovanni El-Hadi, who will likely slot in at either guard spot.

    El-Hadi is entering his senior year in 2024 and deserves his opportunity. While he has only three stats in his career, he has stepped up in relief throughout his time in Ann Arbor and is ready to have a mainstay role on the offensive line.

    8) Ernest Hausmann, LB

    Ernest Hausmann had a great 2023 season, considering he wasn’t a starter in the Wolverines’ linebacker core. Even still, he finished with 46 tackles and two for a loss. That was good enough to rank Hausmann third on the team in total tackles, and he now has a clear path to being a starter in 2024.

    The Nebraska transfer showed enough in 2023 to believe he is ready for a significant role with the Wolverines. As Junior Colson and Mike Barrett leave for the NFL Draft, Hausmann is the next man up.

    7) Rod Moore, S

    Rod Moore is one of the top returning safeties in the nation, opting to return to Ann Arbor and forgo an opportunity to enter the 2024 NFL Draft. In 2023, Moore made 11 starts, recording 38 tackles, one for a loss, two interceptions and three pass breakups.

    While Moore is one of Michigan’s top players, he is unlikely to see any action in 2024 due to tearing his ACL in practice. It is a bitter blow for the Wolverines’ defense, and the star safety would have been much further up this list if he could have stayed healthy.

    6) Myles Hinton, OT

    Myles Hinton has been in and out of the Michigan lineup since transferring from Stanford. In 2023, the Wolverines OT played five games split across right and left tackle but should accumulate more playing time in the fall.

    Hinton is the most experienced offensive lineman on the roster, having started 16 games at RT for Stanford across 2021 and 2022.

    Despite most of Hinton’s experience coming on the right side of the offensive line, he is expected to lock up the left tackle spot in Ann Arbor — the position he played in high school. The line will look different in 2024, but Hinton has the experience and leadership to anchor it.

    5 ) Kenneth Grant, DT

    Kenneth Grant exploded onto the scene in 2023 and returns as one of the most talented defensive tackles in the nation. With 29 total tackles, five for a loss, 3.5 sacks, an interception, five passes deflected, and a fumble recovery, it was an impressive year considering he only had five starts — although he did feature in all 15 games.

    The Wolverines defensive lineman can only boost his stock more in 2024 and is prepared for more starts in the fall. With additional snaps and subsequent experience-led development, Grant has the skill and potential to be one of the top defenders in college football.

    4) Mason Graham, DT

    Mason Graham returns to Ann Arbor after starting 13 games in 2023. The Michigan defensive lineman is expected to take up more of a leadership role in the fall with so much talent leaving for the NFL. Between Graham and Grant, Michigan has a great tandem on the interior defensive line.

    A CFN 2023 Third-Team All-Big Ten selection, Graham had 36 total tackles, 7.5 for a loss, three sacks, a pass breakup, and a forced fumble a year ago. The junior can kick on and is anticipated to be even more productive in 2024.

    3) Donovan Edwards, RB

    Donovan Edwards will be the Wolverines’ lead back in 2024 after splitting reps with Blake Corum a year ago. The star Wolverines RB should be able to form a formidable thunder-and-lightning approach alongside Mullings and is predicted to put up huge numbers in the Wolverines’ run-heavy offense.

    Across his Michigan career, Edwards has 294 rushes for 1,662 yards and 15 touchdowns, 68 passing receptions for 714 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns. The Wolverines RB is a double threat with his equal ability to run and catch, which should mean he has a career year in 2024.

    2) Colston Loveland, TE

    Colston Loveland was one of the top tight ends in the nation in 2023 and should be even more impressive in 2024. With a lack of standout receiver talent on the Michigan roster, Loveland will likely be the primary contributor to the Wolverines’ passing attack in the fall.

    Starting 12 games in 2023, Loveland had 45 receptions for 649 yards and four touchdowns. However, the stats don’t tell the whole story for the Wolverines’ tight end, who grew enormously as a block in his second season.

    A trusted blocker and an important pass catcher, Loveland can continue his development, becoming a star for the Wolverines and a potential top draft pick when the time comes.

    1) Will Johnson, CB

    Will Johnson isn’t just the top cornerback on the team; he can also claim to be the top cornerback in the nation. The elite corner started 11 games as a sophomore in 2023 and was incredibly clean. With 27 tackles, one for a loss, four interceptions, a touchdown, and four pass breakups, Johnson’s elite play transitioned into production.

    While teams may choose to target the Wolverines CB a lot less in 2024, he can still prove he is a true lockdown corner. The sky is the limit for Johnson, who is realizing his potential as college football’s best corner and a potential high draft pick.

    College Football Network has you covered with the latest news and analysis, rankings, transfer portal information, top 10 returning players, the 2024 college football season schedule, and much more!

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