UM coach Jim Harbaugh on his team's progress in preseason camp. Angelique S. Chengelis, The Detroit News
Ann Arbor — Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh made clear last season he has no reservations about playing freshmen, so bank on seeing several of them this fall, particularly at receiver.
Harbaugh raved about freshman receivers Donovan Peoples-Jones, Tarik Black and Oliver Martin while meeting with media Friday night after practice.
“The receivers are doing really well,” Harbaugh said. “DPJ and Oliver Martin and Tarik Black are making a lot of plays. They’re making superb athletic-types of plays. I’ve never really seen freshmen do it the way they’re doing it.”
Freshman receiver Nico Collins also will factor in once he gets more practice time.
On both sides of the ball, freshmen will see playing time.
“Oliver and DPJ and Tarik are going to be out there, probably Nico, too, at some point,” Harbaugh said. “(Fullback) Ben Mason and then those defensive linemen are going to be in the mix for sure.
“(Cornerback) Ambry Thomas, he’s been sensational, I love him. Not too many guys on the team I get along better with than Ambry Thomas. He’s mature beyond his years and I love that about him. There’s no softness whatsoever. He’s a real ball player.”
He spoke highly of linebacker Drew Singleton and defensive ends Luiji Vilain and Kwity Paye.
Also impressive in camp has been linebacker Josh Ross, the younger brother of former Wolverine James Ross. Harbaugh accidentally referred to Josh, a standout at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, as James.
“I call him James half the time. To his face,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a real hitter. It’s hard to imagine what was he like in high school. He’s hitting guys here in the college game like that. The other guy giving everybody a run for their money is Ben Mason. Just a wonderful, physical football player. He will help us win games this year. He was made to be a fullback.”