Michigan wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones declared for the NFL on Sunday and, with Nico Collins and Tarik Black juggling similar decisions and Shea Patterson out of eligibility, Michigan’s passing game was staring down a major overhaul between 2019 and ’20.
It’ll still be different in 2020, but not as different as it could be.
On Sunday, Collins announced he will return to Ann Arbor for his senior season.
“I have always believed in finishing what I started,” Collins wrote in a statement posted to his Twitter account. “Coach Harbaugh, Coach Gattis and staff have helped me grow as a player and as a person. Another season with our coaching staff will allow me to continue to work on my skill and development which will prepare me for the next level. With that being said, we have unfinished business.”
The former 4-star recruit from Birmingham appeared in four games as a freshman, then joined the starting lineup in 2018, catching 38 passes for 632 yards with six touchdowns.
This season, Collins caught 37 passes for 729 yards and seven touchdowns, ranking second on the team.
Michigan wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones became the latest player to plunge into the NFL draft waters, announcing his intent to forgo his final season in Ann Arbor on Saturday.
Plenty of early entrants find those waters frigid and punishing, but the thought here is Peoples-Jones will find easier swimming at the professional level than he ever did at Michigan.
The junior caught 34 passes for 438 yards and six touchdowns, and the feeling here — and across college football, to be sure — is that Peoples-Jones could have easily doubled those numbers had he played in an offense more suited to his talents.
Though Michigan seemed to go through annual spurts where the Wolverines struggled to move the ball, Peoples-Jones and his cohorts Tarik Black and Nico Collins seemed to always be open. The trio combined to catch 96 passes for 1,490 yards and 14 touchdowns this season.
With Peoples-Jones officially gone, it will be interesting to see if Collins and Black follow their ex-teammate’s lead.
Should all three go, Michigan’s next leading wide receiver behind rising junior Ronnie Bell (who led the team with 48 grabs this season) would be rising sophomore Giles Jackson, who caught all of nine passes this season.