By VERONICA RATES, Staff Writer
The special teams was a solid position group for the University of Michigan last season, except for one play against Michigan State. It is an underrated aspect of the game, but the special teams unit for the Wolverines could play a big role in their season with a veteran kicker and an explosive returner who is one of the most athletic players in the country.
Expect fifth year senior Kenny Allen to take the field for the Wolverines this season, replacing Blake O’Neill as punter and taking on double duty. Allen has appeared in 25 games. He was 18-for-22 field goal attempts and never missed a single extra point out of 46 attempts last season. Freshman Quinn Nordin stands close behind Allen, rated the nations top kicker by Scout.com in the class of 2015. Quinn could possibly take the job of placekicker, along with sophomore Ryan Tice in the mix as well.
Sophomore Jabrill Peppers is known for his versatility in a handful of positions on the field and lights will shine brighter on him this season.
Peppers comes back as the team’s punt returner and for obvious reasons. He averaged 11.4 yards in punt returns and a 27.9 average in kick-returns in 2015.
Jehu Chesson will also be in the mix for kick returns and don’t be surprised if head coach Jim Harbaugh puts a freshman out there to return some kicks in 2016.
Michigan has an experienced group of players in regards to special teams under newly promoted coach Chris Partridge. With just kicker Andrew David gone, who transferred to TCU, and Blake O’Neill missing, the team looks to veterans to keep special teams looking very similar to last season.