The Wolverine

Sept 2023

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 36 of 67

SEPTEMBER 2023 ❱ THE WOLVERINE 37 Wolverines with 627 receiving yards in 2021 and finished second with 499 last season. He's hauled in 13 touchdown catches in his career, including 6 last fall. GEORGE JOHNSON III CB/WR ★★★ Began his career as a wide receiver, before switching to cornerback before the 2020 season. He appeared in just four career games — all in 2021 — in a winged helmet before transferring to UMass for 2022. He excelled at wideout for the Minutemen last season, racking up 28 catches for 402 yards and 1 touchdown. QUINTEN JOHNSON S ★★★★ Played in 30 career contests, with the bulk of his contributions coming on special teams, totaling 11 tackles with 1 for loss. He projects to rotate in at safety this fall. TRENTE JONES OL ★★★★ Jones was a reserve for Michigan in 2020 and 2021, playing in 15 games his first three seasons, before starting six games with 11 total appear- ances in 2022. He's battling for the starting right tackle job during fall camp. TREVOR KEEGAN OL ★★★★ Redshirted in 2019 and played in five games as a backup in 2020, before becoming the man at left guard the past two seasons, making 22 starts. Keegan was selected first-team All-Big Ten by the coaches and second team by the media last sea- son, after earning an honorable mention nod from both the prior campaigns. The 6-6, 320-pounder is one of the leaders on the line this year. QUINTEL KENT WR ★★★ A medical condition ended his playing career, but the Wolverines still honored his scholarship even though the NCAA does not require programs to do so. He's listed as an alum in U-M's student directory. CADE McNAMARA QB ★★★★ From starting quarterback and Big Ten champion in a winged helmet to conference foe, McNamara has had quite a journey. He transferred to Iowa last December after he lost the starting signal-caller battle to junior J.J. McCarthy and a knee injury held him out for most of the 2022 campaign. Mc- Namara completed 210 of his 327 passes for 2,576 yards and 15 touchdowns with 6 interceptions as Michigan's starter in 2021, leading the team to a 12-1 record, Big Ten championship and CFP berth. McNamara is the Hawkeyes' starting quarterback heading into this season, though he did go down with a non-serious knee injury Aug. 12. MIKE MORRIS EDGE ★★★★ Morris stayed patient throughout his career, and it paid off with him being named Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2022 and becoming a fifth- round NFL Draft pick by the Seattle Seahawks. He finished second in the conference with 7.5 sacks and added 23 tackles (11 for loss), earning consensus first-team All-Big Ten honors. Prior to 2022, Morris played in 15 games with four starts, recording 14 tackles. GABE NEWBURG DE ★★★ Medically retired before the 2022 season, after making only four appearances in three seasons at U-M (all in 2020). He graduated from U-M in May 2022. DAVID OJABO LB ★★★★ Going from relatively unknown to breakout star and second-team All-American in 2021, Ojabo made just 1 tackle in six appearances his first two years. The Nigeria-born, Scotland-raised player started six of 14 outings in 2021, logging 35 tackles (including 12 for loss), 11 sacks and 8 quarterback hurries. He also set the program's single-season record with 5 forced fumbles. He was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the second round in 2022. JALEN PERRY CB/S ★★★★ Played in 20 games during his career, tallying 6 tackles, and he moved out of the program after the 2022 campaign. NOLAN RUMLER OL ★★★★ Played in two career games in three seasons. He transferred midseason in 2021 and wound up at Kent State, where he has served as a backup. MIKE SAINRISTIL DB/WR ★★★ Having made an impact in all three phases, Sain- ristil is a returning captain and key piece of the secondary this fall. A projected starter at nickel back, he opened 11 of 14 games and racked up 58 tackles (6.5 for loss, 2 sacks) in 2022, earning hon- orable mention All-Big Ten after making the move from wideout. In three years as a receiver, Sainristil posted 36 catches for 532 yards and 5 touchdowns. MAZI SMITH DL ★★★★ Smith became Michigan's first defensive tackle to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft since Kevin Brooks in 1985. He started all 28 games the last two championship seasons and was a con- sensus first-team All-Big Ten honoree in 2022 and honorable mention in 2021. He totaled 85 tackles with 5 for loss and a half-sack in 2021-22. Smith had only seven appearances and 3 tackles with 1 for loss his first two seasons. ANTHONY SOLOMON LB ★★★★ Played in six games on special teams in his first season with the Arizona Wildcats last year, after making 23 appearances in three seasons at U-M, mostly on special teams. JACK STEWART DL ★★★ Didn't see any game action in three years at U-M and transferred to Connecticut ahead of the 2022 season. He did not play for the Huskies last year but is still on the roster as an offensive lineman. CHARLES THOMAS LB ★★★ Appeared in two games in 2019 and left before the 2020 season began. He did not join another football program. DJ TURNER II CB ★★★★ Scored second-team All-Big Ten recognition from the coaches and a third-team nod from the media in 2022, and he was a second-round NFL Draft choice by the Cincinnati Bengals this spring. He played in four games each of his first two seasons, prior to starting 22 of his final 28 outings, totaling 69 tackles and 3 interceptions in that span. JOEY VELAZQUEZ LB ★★★ A dual-sport athlete, Velazquez, also an out- fielder for the baseball team, played in one game in 2019, none in 2020, eight in 2021 and 11 in 2022, primarily on special teams. He'll contribute on special teams and as a reserve linebacker this season. ❏ REPORT CARD Players In Class: 26 On3 Team Industry Ranking: 7th Players Still At Michigan: 7 The Athletic re-ranked the 2019 recruiting class, and U-M's haul checked in third behind Georgia (originally No. 2 per the On3 Industry Ranking) and Ohio State (No. 15). This group, filled with impact players, has had six players drafted to the NFL, including two first-rounders in Hill and Smith, 13 others transfer and seven stick around for a fifth year. A TOP CONTRIBUTOR TO DATE S Daxton Hill Hill was an impact freshman, stud sopho- more and star junior before declaring for the NFL Draft in 2022. Others, like Trevor Keegan, Mazi Smith and Cornelius Johnson have a case here, but Hill gets the nod. UNSUNG HERO DT Mazi Smith It took Smith a couple years to be ready for the big time, but by the time he was done with college football he was The Athletic's No. 1 freak in the sport and a rare U-M defensive tackle picked in the first round of the NFL Draft. It wasn't always glamorous, and his stats weren't gaudy, but Smith gladly ate up double teams and was a tremendous leader in helping Michigan win back-to-back Big Ten titles. READY TO MAKE AN IMPACT THIS FALL OL Karsen Barnhart Barnhart has already made major contri- butions, but he's primed to break out even further, with head coach Jim Harbaugh saying he has performed the best among the deep and talented group of tackles in the first half of fall camp.

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