The Michigan Wolverines have historically had big-bodied wide receivers that are physical in their route running and punishing blockers in the run game. You think of names like Braylon Edwards, David Terrell, Derrick Alexander, Marquise Walker, Anthony Carter and the tradition of the #1 jersey.
That all changed during the Rich Rodriguez era as he recruited smaller, quicker players to fit his spread offense. Holdovers Jeremy Gallon (5-8, 187 lbs.) and Drew Dileo (5-10, 177 lbs.) return for their senior years with Gallon a potential All-Big Ten selection, but neither of them fit the profile that Brady Hoke is looking for as the Wolverines shift back to a pro style offense. With the graduation of Roy Roundtree, there’s an opening in the starting lineup and look for sophomore Amara Darboh to emerge.
At 6-2, 213 pounds, Darboh offers the kind of size that Michigan hasn’t seen since Lloyd Carr was in charge. He’s also is very athletic at that size as he lettered in basketball and track and field in high school. The former four star prospect out of Des Moines, Iowa saw playing time in 10 games as a true freshman, mostly on special teams where he registered five tackles. Darboh has yet to record a catch in his career, but reports out of spring practice have been encouraging. He hauled in a 30-yard catch on the opening play of the spring game and reportedly made some impressive catches during practice sessions.
I’m not ready to anoint Darboh as the next Braylon Edwards, but he should provide a big target for quarterback Devin Gardner. He has this summer to work on fine tuning his route running skills and getting more familiar with the playbook. It would not surprise me to see Darboh finish second on the team in catches and yards behind Gallon in the 2013 season and establish himself as promising young receiver in the Big Ten.