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Fresh faces: Michigan

The fresh faces series marches on with Michigan, as we take a look at three players pegged to take on bigger roles this season. These are incoming freshmen, redshirt freshmen, transfers or returnees who should see their playing time increase when the games begin.

OFFENSE: Thomas Rawls, RB, freshman, 5-10, 219

Already a favorite among many Michigan fans, Rawls should be a factor in a wide-open race at running back. His size fits in well with Michigan's new offense, as coordinator Al Borges wants to have a downhill rushing attack where a power back could thrive. Rawls rushed for 1,585 yards and scored 19 touchdowns as a senior at Flint Northern High School, as he played for the son of longtime Michigan assistant Fred Jackson. He stood out at Michigan's first preseason workout, and while he has several older players to pass on the depth chart, he should be part of the mix.

DEFENSE: Frank Clark, LB, freshman, 6-2, 228

There's plenty of competition at linebacker for the Wolverines, and Clark could work his way into the rotation. He impressed coordinator Greg Mattison during the first week of practice and boosts Michigan's speed in the defensive midsection. The Cleveland product also has good size for a freshman and might push older players for playing time at outside linebacker.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Matt Wile, K/P, freshman, 6-2, 208

Wile should be a crucial piece for Michigan after the Wolverines' struggles in the kicking game last season. He's the front-runner to take over the place-kicking duties and could also punt during Will Hagerup's four-game suspension to begin the season. Michigan clearly needed more options in the kicking game after 2010, and it would be a surprise if Wile doesn't play a key role this fall.

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