The Wolverine

Sept 2023

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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SEPTEMBER 2023 ❱ THE WOLVERINE 31 Michigan's defense is anchored by seven returning starters. Like their counterparts on offense, the Wolverines' talent level is deep and features a number of highly competitive battles for playing time. EDGE No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. Remaining 32 Jaylen Harrell 6-4 242 Sr./2 5 Josaiah Stewart 6-1 245 Jr./2 Note: Harbaugh said the position battle at both edge spots will likely go into the season, potentially using the "Michigan Method" with one player starting one game and the other the next in order to gauge their compete level when it matters most. Harrell is better against the run and Stewart against the pass — with their skill sets complementing each other. EDGE No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. Remaining 17 Braiden McGregor 6-6 267 Sr./2 8 Derrick Moore 6-3 258 So./3 Note: McGregor and Moore are competing at this position, and both are projected to have big roles this season regard- less of who winds up being the starter. Defensive line coach Mike Elston likes to rotate heavily to keep fresh bodies on the field. NOSE TACKLE No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. Remaining 55 Mason Graham 6-3 318 So./3 78 Kenneth Grant 6-3 339 So./3 Note: Graham was a role player last year and now is set to take over the starting job as the head of the snake in the middle of the line. Grant, meanwhile, is someone "everybody is going to know about," according to defensive coordinator Jesse Minter, indicating that he will make an impact, too. Graduate student Cam Goode should see time here as well. DEFENSIVE TACKLE No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. Remaining 94 Kris Jenkins 6-3 305 Sr./2 26 Rayshaun Benny 6-4 296 Jr./3 Note: Jenkins is looking to make the leap from good to great, and some of his teammates have called him "elite." Benny, meanwhile, is thought of to be one of the most improved players on the team and a rotational piece. MIKE LINEBACKER No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. Remaining 25 Junior Colson 6-3 247 Jr./2 34 Jaydon Hood 6-1 225 Jr./3 Note: Colson played last season banged up but is healthy now, and there's much more depth at linebacker than in 2022. Hood is one of the biggest depth chart risers this offseason. Sophomores Jimmy Rolder and Micah Pollard are also push- ing for two-deep status. WILL LINEBACKER No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. Remaining 23 Michael Barrett 6-0 239 Gr./1 15 Ernest Hausmann 6-2 237 So./3 Note: "Competitive, not combative" is how Minter described the healthy competition between Barrett and Hausmann. The latter is considered to be third at linebacker, with all of the players there having the flexibility to play at either Mike or Will. NICKEL BACK No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. Remaining 0 Mike Sainristil 5-10 182 Gr./1 1 Ja'Den McBurrows 5-11 200 Jr./3 Note: Both players listed have the ability to line up here or at outside cornerback, but the Wolverines are at their best when Sainristil is a nickel, Harbaugh said. Minter revealed that he has a slew of safeties and corners who can also slide to nickel. CORNERBACK No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. Remaining 2 Will Johnson 6-2 202 So./3 36 Kechaun Harris 5-11 192 Gr./2 Note: As long as he's healthy, Johnson is locked into a starting position. Harris was listed by Harbaugh among the top players at cornerback, competing with a group of others for the start- ing job opposite Johnson and for rotational snaps. CORNERBACK No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. Remaining 12 Josh Wallace 6-0 190 Gr./1 1 Ja'Den McBurrows 5-11 200 Jr./3 Note: It's too early to tell who Michigan's starter at this corner- back spot will be, but Wallace has the lead in a competition that could go into the season. Sophomore Amorion Walker was spotted on crutches and missed practice time, but he'll factor into the rotation when healthy, too. STRONG SAFETY No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. Remaining 7 Makari Paige 6-4 208 Sr./2 10 Zeke Berry 5-11 192 So./4 Note: Berry is one who emerged as a two-deep player in the spring, and Paige is a returning starter. Both can play nickel situationally, Minter explained during fall camp, as can the safeties listed below. FREE SAFETY No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. Remaining 9 Rod Moore 6-0 198 Jr./2 3 Keon Sabb 6-1 208 So./4 Note: Moore is a guaranteed starter, and Sabb is another younger player who has risen in this fall camp, with Minter saying he's "pleased" with his progression. Graduate Quinten Johnson is right there, too, and he has the edge in experience. — Clayton Sayfie The Wolverine's 2023 Projected Depth Chart — Defense

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