- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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It's (un)officially summertime, but we're still talking about football. We're taking a look this week at the most indispensable players on each Big Ten team -- and as a reminder, indispensable doesn’t necessarily mean best.
The goal is to identify players who would be hardest to replace between now and the start of the season if they suffered an injury, were lost to suspension, got stranded at a hippie retreat, etc. Whether it’s from a particular player’s individual value or lack of depth at a position, we’re picking two guys from each team that fit the bill -- usually offense and defense, but not always.
Up next: the Michigan Wolverines
WR Amara Darboh: The Maize and Blue are in an odd place right now, as you can look up and down the roster and not find any bona fide, truly established star players at really any position. At questionable spots like quarterback and running back, there is a lot of depth and seemingly not a lot of separation. That's how you get a guy like Darboh on this list. Though no one would confuse him for a star, he has shown flashes of big-time ability and is easily Michigan's top returning receiver (36 catches for 473 yards in '14). With Devin Funchess off to the NFL and Dennis Norfleet gone, Darboh is one of the very few, semi-reliable pass-catching options.
S Jabrill Peppers: OK, this might be a crazy choice for a guy who has played in three career college games. But the Wolverines have nice options up front on defense, especially at defensive line, which should be the strength of the team. What they need is a leader in the secondary, even more so after Blake Countess transferred to Auburn. Perhaps that's way too much to put on Peppers' shoulders, but he has that kind of elite playmaking potential at safety. If Michigan's defense is going to be an elite unit, it probably can't afford for its expected emerging star to be on the sidelines for a second straight season.