Rece Davis has a preseason pick his College GameDay colleague Desmond Howard would appreciate.

The ESPN host is out with an “early lean” for his preseason No. 1 team, and Davis has pegged Michigan at No. 1.

“Michigan has a proven quarterback that I think is going to improve greatly this year,” Davis said. “They’ve got the best cornerback in America, in Will Johnson. They’ve got some transfers on both lines of scrimmage, including a pass rusher that should shore up some of the things they’ve lost. They’ve done a really good job in the transfer portal for the last couple of years, particularly on the lines of scrimmage.”

Davis also mentioned running backs returning, wide receivers who might be bigger threats and a transfer tight end.

“I think if I had to fill out the ballot right now based on what I know, the type of production I know I’m going to get,” Davis said, “I think I’d put Michigan No. 1.”

Michigan optimism

This adds to the preseason buzz for the Wolverines, and offers a media validation of something Jim Harbaugh said at the end of spring practice.

“As we sit here April 1st, 2023, it’s gonna be the best team … it’s the best version of a Michigan football team on April 1st, 2023 than we’ve ever had,” Harbaugh said. “A great roster of players, tremendous coaches all pulling in the same direction. That doesn’t mean we’re not going to have a letdown as the months go on, but this is the best version of football that I’ve seen since I’ve been here the last 8 years.”

The Wolverines were already ranked in the top 5, and some top 3, in many Way Too Early Top 25s for the 2023 season. The issue is Michigan’s postseason performance in the last several years. However, there’s plenty to get excited about around the Blake Corum return and developing JJ McCarthy.