LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Michigan must replace 18 starters, but don’t expect the Wolverines to fade away.

Stewart Mandel of Fox Sports doesn’t. He has Michigan ranked No. 16 in his post-spring top 25, revealed Tuesday.

That’s about the same position Mandel had the Wolverines in January, when he ranked them at No. 15 in his way-too-early rankings.

“Jim Harbaugh’s team spent spring visiting Rome and attempting to replace a whopping 18 starters — 11 of whom got drafted,” Mandel writes. “DE Rashan Gary, the former No. 1 recruit, takes over the spotlight on defense, and sophomore LB Devin Bush could become a star. Incumbent QB Wilton Speight should be a steadying presence as Michigan retools on offense. Running back could be a strength for UM with Chris Evans and Ty Isaac.”

Michigan is one of five teams from the Big Ten in Mandel’s post-spring rankings. Ohio State (No. 2), Penn State (4), Wisconsin (13) and Nebraska (23) are the others.

Alabama is ranked No. 1. Defending champion Clemson checks in at No. 5.