The Wolverine

October 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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30 THE WOLVERINE OCTOBER 2022 BY JOHN BORTON I t's tough for Michigan wide receiv- ers to gain separation these days — not from defenders, but from the sizable aggregation of talent in the wideouts room. Junior Roman Wilson certainly found a way. In Michigan's season opener, he raced away with a 61-yard touchdown catch before a revved-up sellout crowd in The Big House. A week later, playing against his home state school, Hawai'i, Wilson said aloha to the defense again. This time, he raced behind slick-faking sophomore quarter- back J.J. McCarthy, took a pitch in stride and scored from 21 yards out, after open- ing the scoring on a 42-yard TD pass from McCarthy. Through three games, Wilson has now posted 6 catches for 171 yards and 2 re- ceiving touchdowns. He also added 21 rushing yards on 1 carry, which was the touchdown scamper versus the Rainbow Warriors. Message sent, and most certainly re- ceived. "It's been super visible, right?" head coach Jim Harbaugh marveled. "You can see it in everything — his focus, his physi- cality. It really jumps out. He's gotten very strong. He's gotten faster — a guy that's already really fast. His game is locked in and very good. "It's been visible in all areas. He's taking it to a new level. Very much an ascend- ing player, from a player that was already playing at a very high level." It's not as if Wilson just arrived on the scene. The 6-foot, 185-pound Honolulu native had 19 games under his belt coming into this season. He snagged 25 passes for 420 yards on the way to a Big Ten champi- onship last year, finishing second among the U-M receivers behind only senior Cornelius Johnson. Wilson also brought about a Charles Woodson-like moment of intensity in the most intense game of the 2021 champion- ship season. He mixed it up with Ohio State cornerback Cameron Brown, grabbing at Brown's ankles from a prone position while Brown tow- ered over him after a play near the OSU end zone. Brown reached down and ripped Wilson's helmet off, tossing it aside. That lit the fuse, several huge Michigan linemen backing Brown down without drawing a penalty, while the Buckeye got flagged for un- sportsmanlike conduct. Wilson laughed and waved follow- ing the near melee, while the Wolverines waved goodbye to years of frustration against the Buckeyes. The third-year Wolverine is back for more, and he's off to a blazing beginning. "Great speed, and it's evident," Michi- gan radio play-by-play man Doug Karsch said in assessing what Wilson brings to the table. "J.J. McCarthy predicted that Roman would have a big game against Hawai'i, and it's no surprise that he did. It just feels like years of being in the pro- gram, getting bigger and stronger, to complement the speed, is going to make him a weapon this entire season." "Roman got us going early," Harbaugh said after the Hawai'i game. "The way he's been running and playing all camp, he's off to a heck of a start for the season. Great to see him get the touchdown on the reverse, as well. He's getting just bet- ter and better yards after the catch. I'm super happy." It's quite a stretch to imagine a Hawai'ian in a Michigan uniform. That's until you realize he didn't just sail in on the latest outrigger. Wilson's father was born in Kalama- zoo. His mother, a native of St. Ignace, attended Western Michigan University. So, it's not as if he chose Ann Arbor on a complete whim. "It really helped that both mom and dad had Michigan ties," Harbaugh said. "Mom is from the U.P. originally, same ROAMIN' THE END ZONE Wide Receiver Roman Wilson Races Off To A Hot Start

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