The Wolverine

February 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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38 THE WOLVERINE FEBRUARY 2022   MICHIGAN FOOTBALL DAVID OJABO, DAXTON HILL ARE POTENTIAL FIRST-ROUND PICKS Defensive end Aidan Hutchinson isn't the only Michigan star who has decided to forgo his remaining eligibil- ity. His edge-mate, David Ojabo, also announced plans in early January to en- ter the NFL Draft. Ojabo had been projected as high as No. 10 overall, but he's slipped in recent weeks. CBS Sports' Ryan Wilson has him going No. 16, while Wilson's col- league Josh Edwards has him at No. 29. "Prior to the semifinal loss to Geor- gia, Ojabo was a lot of fun to watch this season, where he took advantage of ev- ery opportunity playing opposite Aidan Hutchinson," Edwards wrote. "But don't get it twisted — he's a twitchy edge rusher who will only get better with experience." Added Wilson, who predicted the Chiefs to pick Ojabo: "Melvin Ingram has been a suitable option on the edge, which allowed Chris Jones to move back inside to a more natural role. Ingram will turn 33 years old in the spring, so Ojabo would be a welcomed youthful infusion as Kansas City looks for a suit- able future." "The only thing standing between him and dominance as an edge rusher is more experience — finding a secure path to getting that experience will de- pend on his pro landing spot," The Draft Network's Kyle Crabbs noted. "I would consider that variable to be the biggest, most serious threat that could contrib- ute to any variance in outcomes he'll see as a pro player. "I think there's a lot of untapped po- tential for David Ojabo as a pure athlete and the potential exists for him to be- come a very diverse defensive weapon. But with that said, I would ultimately prefer to see him land in a place that will offer stability and a clear, single role in the defense before adding a larger menu of responsibilities to his plate. In time, I see an every-down rush linebacker with the potential to play to the field or boundary, to or away from the run strength, and play forward or backward. But build him up methodically and with purpose." Safety Daxton Hill has appeared on a few lists, as well, but only one as a first rounder. Luke Easterling of USA Today has him going No. 34 overall (second- round pick) to the Detroit Lions, while The Draft Network's Keith Sanchez be- lieves he could go much higher — No. 14 to the Philadelphia Eagles. "The Eagles need speed and versatil- ity on the defensive side of the ball, and that's exactly what defensive back Dax- ton Hill will provide," he wrote. "Hill is a versatile defender that can play safety and slide down into the nickel position and cover slots man to man. "The Eagles seem to have good play- ers in the trenches but now it's time they work on the edges of their defen- sive backfield." — Chris Balas Ojabo could join fellow edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson as a first-round pick in this April's NFL Draft. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL FRESHMEN THAT BURNED THEIR REDSHIRTS IN 2021 Michigan football brought in 22 freshmen in the class of 2021 — six of which burned their redshirts and made significant contributions to the team's success. Linebacker Junior Colson and safety Rod Moore were the two first-year Wol- verines to burn their redshirts on defense, while wide receiver Andrel Anthony, offensive lineman Greg Crippen, running back Donovan Edwards, quarterback J.J. McCarthy did so on the other side of the ball. The rest of the freshmen played in four or fewer games, allowing them to keep the year of eligibility. Unique to the 2021 season, there was also a crop of Michigan players who were in their second collegiate season but had freshman-level eligibility, due to the NCAA deeming the 2020 campaign a free year. All but five of those 19 athletes participated in more than four outings and burned their redshirts. Here is a look at both Michigan's first- and second-year freshmen, and how many games each played in. — Clayton Sayfie FIRST-YEAR FRESHMAN Player Games Played LB Junior Colson 14 RB Donovan Edwards 12 WR Andrel Anthony 11 QB J.J. McCarthy 11 S Rod Moore 11 OL Greg Crippen 6 CB Ja'Den McBurrows 3 DT Rayshaun Benny 3 DL George Rooks 3 RB Tavierre Dunlap 2 DE TJ Guy 2 OL Raheem Anderson 1 DE Kechaun Bennett 1 OL Tristan Bounds 1 WR Cristian Dixon 1 OL Giovanni El-Hadi 1 DL Dominick Giudice 1 TE Louis Hansen 1 LB Jaydon Hood 1 LB Tyler McLaurin 1 K/P Tommy Doman 0 DT Ike Iwunnah 0 SECOND-YEAR FRESHMEN Player Games Played WR A.J. Henning 14 OLB Jaylen Harrell 14 LB Nikhai Hill-Green 14 DL Kris Jenkins 14 S R.J. Moten 14 LB Kalel Mullings 13 WR Roman Wilson 13 OL Zak Zinter 13 RB Blake Corum 12 OL Reece Atteberry 10 DE Braiden McGregor 9 S Makari Paige 9 TE Matthew Hibner 8 S Jordan Morant 8 QB Dan Villari* 4 DB Eamonn Dennis 3 OL Jeffrey Persi 2 CB Andre Seldon* 1 CB Darion Green-Warren* 0 * Andre Seldon, Darion Green-Warren and Dan Villari entered the transfer portal following the season.

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