To say it’s been a while would be a rather significant understatement.
Late in the third quarter of Michigan’s Sept. 9 win over Cincinnati last season, wide receiver Grant Perry caught a 33-yard touchdown pass from now-UCLA quarterback Wilton Speight. Over the next 11 games of the 2017 season, the Wolverines tossed an anemic six touchdown passes — none of them to a wide receiver.
It was lather, rinse and repeat in the season opener as U-M, once again, failed to throw a touchdown pass to a wide receiver — or anyone else, for that matter — in the 24-17 loss to Notre Dame. Saturday afternoon against Western Michigan, that inexplicable drought ended as Nico Collins (pictured) caught a 44-yard touchdown pass from Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson in the second quarter of the non-conference tilt.
The touchdown reception from a wide receiver was just one day shy from coming exactly one year after the last one.
At the time of this posting, Michigan is blasting its Michigan directional foe 35-0 late in the second quarter.
There’s a lot of optimism around Michigan going into the season in part because of the addition of transfer quarterback Shea Patterson but Jim Harbaugh has not been shy on heaping praise on the progress made at the wide receiver position in recent months as being a key to a much more productive offense in 2018. Sadly though, it might be missing a key piece thanks to some tough injury news out of Ann Arbor this weekend.
In an email, the school confirmed reports that wide receiver Tarik Black had suffered a foot injury in practice and is being listed as out indefinitely as he undergoes further evaluation.
It’s a super tough blow for Black considering he missed most of last season while dealing with a foot injury and, when healthy, is viewed as top pass-catcher for the team after flashing early in 2017. While he broke his left foot last season, it appears this current injury is to his right foot but the school did not give any further specifics on the severity of the issue this time around.
The absence of Black in the lineup for the huge showdown against Notre Dame on Saturday night on NBC (and likely well past that game) puts even more pressure on the rest of the young receiving corps to step up in his place. Chief among the top options on the outside for Patterson this week will likely be former top recruit Donovan Peoples-Jones. Grant Perry, Nico Collins and Oliver Martin all will likely see the field in various combinations as well.
Still, it’s a bummer to hear of Black’s injury so close to the season getting underway for the Wolverines and because of what he went through all of last year to get ready to play for the maize and blue again.
The status of one Michigan wide receiver appears it will be up in the air for a little while longer.
Suspended wideout Grant Perry was originally scheduled to go to trial on May 15th in a case stemming from an incident last year but, according to MLive.com, that trial date has been pushed back and a new timeframe has not yet been announced. He faces two counts of sexual assault as well as an additional count of minor in possession and a felony count of resisting a police officer.
The charges stem from a mid-October incident last year in which Perry was accused of groping the groin and buttocks of a female Michigan State student.
Perry was initially given a two-game suspension by head coach Jim Harbaugh and wound up returning to action to post up 13 receptions for 183 yards and a touchdown last season. After charges were filled however, the receiver was suspended indefinitely prior to the Wolverine’s bowl game against Florida State.
MLive.com notes that Perry has remained suspended from team activities this spring, including practice and the team’s trip to Italy. Michigan is replacing a lot of production at his position heading into next season but it seems that with his trial pushed back, they likely are not going to be able to count on Perry being part of the equation in 2017 until the legal system runs its course.
One Michigan player’s off-field odyssey will continue to keep him away from his football team.
Grant Perry, mlive.com has reported, has waived his right to a preliminary hearing and will stand trial on multiple counts, including one felony. The wide receiver has been accused of groping the groin and buttocks of a female Michigan State student outside of an East Lansing bar in mid-October.
Formally, Perry has been charged with two counts of sexual assault, and one each of a minor in possession of alcohol and resisting an officer. The latter charge is the felony, the others are misdemeanors.
Thus far, a trial date has not been set. Perry’s attorneys are seeking a course that would ultimately end in probation for their client as a first-time youthful offender.
The defense has asked for the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act. The act allows a judge to place a defendant between age 17 and 24 on probation without a conviction. If the defendant successfully completes the terms of their probation they avoid having the charges on their criminal record. Reynolds said Perry could still be granted HYTA status at the circuit court level, which he plans to seek.
Shortly after the incident last year, Perry was suspended for two games. In mid-December, and after serving the initial suspension, the 19-year-old sophomore was indefinitely suspended by the football program after charges were formally filed. Perry did not travel with his Wolverine teammates to their bowl game.
The suspension will remain in effect until at least the case winds its way through the legal system.
Last season, Perry had 13 receptions for 183 yards and a touchdown. His 14.1 yards per catch were third on the team for players with 10-plus receptions. Over his career, the rising junior has 311 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 27 catches.