4 Michigan players named to BTN.com's all-B1G freshman team
Michigan lacked depth at tight end. It had good depth at linebacker.
Freshmen found a way to contribute in a big way at both positions, as well as kick returner. And they were rewarded for it by being named to BTN.com's all-Big Ten freshman team.
Tight end Devin Funchess, kick returner Dennis Norfleet and linebackers James Ross and Joe Bolden were key players for Michigan this season, and each made Tom Dienhart's all-freshman team.
Funchess' contributions were most critical because Michigan had lost top tight ends Kevin Koger and Steve Watson from last season, then starter Brandon Moore to injury in the opener.
The freshman from Farmington Hills Harrison stepped in and proved to be a dynamic pass-catching threat. He finished with 14 catches, five of which scored touchdowns. That led the team.
At linebacker, Michigan returned all three starters this year, but Bolden and Ross were impressive enough to still see the field. Ross, showing athleticism on the weak side, made two starts and recorded 34 tackles, including 2.5 for loss.
Bolden had 28 tackles, three for loss, and recovered a fumble.
Norfleet invigorated Michigan's lackluster kick return unit this year. His long was only 38 yards, but his 23.4 yards per return ranked third in the league. His 795 total kick return yards led the league.