The Wolverine

Sept 2023

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 21 of 67

22 THE WOLVERINE ❱ SEPTEMBER 2023 BY CHRIS BALAS F ootball history books include many guys whose impacts can't be measured by sta- tistics. Many of them do the selfless work in the defensive trenches to "build the run wall," as head coach Jim Harbaugh always likes to say, oc- cupy offensive linemen and keep the linebackers clean to make plays. Two guys — one on the interior and one on the edge — played those roles beautifully last year for Michigan's outstanding run defense. Tackle Mazi Smith parlayed his performance into a first-round draft pick with the Dallas Cowboys, while Michigan senior edge Jaylen Harrell's next step has yet to be determined. He's back for a fourth sea- son with high hopes and a fantastic junior year behind him, but only look- ing forward. "Last year is last year. This year is this year," Harrell said during fall camp. "What we did last year doesn't matter. Each day, we just come up with that mentality — we've always got to keep staying hungry. "We've got our goals in mind, but we just take it day by day. Keep stacking days and we'll be right where we want to be." He's off to a great start. Harbaugh singled Harrell out as perhaps the best of the four potential starters at edge through two weeks of camp Aug. 15, noting he'd taken his game to another level. His next step — to get his pass rush up there with his ability to set the edge against the run. Harrell notched 3.5 sacks last year but has higher goals in 2023. He'll be competing with Coastal Carolina transfer Josaiah Stewart — an outstanding pass rusher — for third- and-long reps, so he'll have to up his game. He's making progress, Harbaugh said. "He's just really becoming a com- plete player in terms of edge players," the coach said. "He plays our Sam edge, which is more the athletic pass rusher. We expect him to be really proficient in coverage, but he's going to get to the quarterback and set the edge. "Braiden McGregor, Derrick Moore … they're that bigger edge that can rush. I think both of them fit the bill in that regard. Josaiah Stewart, like Jay- READY TO READY TO DOMINATE DOMINATE Senior Edge Jaylen Harrell Is Poised To Take His Game Up Another Notch Harrell compiled 30 total stops, including 7.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in 2022. He has his sights set on posting even bigger numbers this season. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN PHOTOGRAPHY

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - Sept 2023