INDIANAPOLIS — While Michigan sent nine players to the NFL Scouting Combine last week, that means there are gaps to be filled in 2023.
And while the Wolverines seem to have most of that figured out, some key cogs and blueprint hopefuls have their own take on what lies ahead this fall.
Speaking to reporters in Indianapolis, defensive end Mike Morris declared Michigan an “Edge Rush U” before imploring outsiders to keep an eye on the returners Jaylen Harrell And Braiden McGregor.
“Jaylen is a SAM (linebacker) who can rush the passer in third. Braiden is an athletic freak,” Morris said. “I think both of them will do really, really well. Jaylen performed when I got hurt in the Purdue game. Braiden had a lot of great snaps too; came into the clutch with a sack in the Michigan State game.
Elsewhere on defense, Michigan All-American center Olu Oluwatimi, a Rimington Award and Outland Trophy winner, says one should keep an eye on the defensive line — especially returning tackles Chris Jenkin And Mason Grahamalong with Josaiah Stewartthe incoming transfer from Coastal Carolina – and Amorion Walkerwho recently switched to secondary school.
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“The front is full of talent,” said Oluwatimi. “The front seven are littered with talent. The backend is littered with talent. I think defense has a real chance, a good chance, to be great again in Year 3 of the same system.
All signs point to defensive coordinator Jesse Minter returning for his sophomore year at Michigan, which had a top-five session last season.
Meanwhile, all the talk at the combine seemed to be focused on offense, and rightly so. The Wolverines are bringing back starting quarterback JJ McCarthy, running backs Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards, a deep, experienced offensive line and some familiar faces at receiver.
“Obviously my two guards, Trevor Keegan And Zak Zinterbut also Karsen Baernhartsaid left tackle Ryan Hayes. “I think he’s going to surprise a lot of people next year and he’s going to be a big name to watch.
“I expect more from our running attack from last year. Obviously all these guys are coming back together with another year of experience, they’re just going to keep excelling. I’m pretty excited to see it.
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Receiver Ronnie Bell praised Wideout’s return Cornelius Johnsonwho has 31 starts in four outdoor seasons and says he has the skills and talent to be “the top receiver in the Big Ten.”
“Nothing but smooth sailing,” said Bell. “I think this team will be even better. I just think this is a juggernaut of a program coach Harbaugh put together and these guys are going to carry on.
Oluwatimi took it a step further, calling it “on paper they probably have one of the best teams in Michigan history right now.”
“You just have to put in the work, trust the process, attack every day and not look forward to what’s coming,” he continued. “Just stay in the moment. Good things always happen when you work hard and have talent like her.”
Michigan has had its best season ever under Jim Harbaugh, with a 13-1 record in which the Wolverines defeated rivals Michigan State and Ohio State, won a second straight Big Ten title and made the college football playoffs.
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