Michigan Football: Good news on recovery of Braiden McGregor

Michigan football’s top incoming defensive recruit for 2020 has been hampered by a knee injury but in a recent interview, Braiden McGregor offered good news.

Michigan football is going to have to replace its top pass rusher from the 2019 season and one guy that could help with that is incoming freshman Braiden McGregor, a four-star defensive end that ranked as one of the top players at his position in the 2020 class.

McGregor is a 6-foot-6 defender that could play multiple roles with Michigan football. It’s easy to compare him to Aidan Hutchinson, however, McGregor is more athletic and has more pass-rush potential on the edge.

Hutchinson has developed into one of the better defenders on the defense last season and he’s a legit pass rusher, but he is a hand-in-the-dirt defensive lineman. McGregor might not be that for the Wolverines. Here’s what he told Sam Webb of the Michigan Insider ($) in a recent interview:

“(Michigan’s coaches) see me playing either at Aidan’s position, Kwity’s position, or Uche’s position, depending on how much weight I gain. I’m 260 right now, but they said, ‘we’ll see how your body develops in the first six months what position you’ll play in the fall.’”

At 260 pounds, McGregor is a beast, yet he’s also very athletic, just watch him play tight end and you will realize he has some major upside. He certainly could provide some depth behind Kwity Paye and Hutchinson. He’s also the No. 4 strong-side end and 108th player overall in 2020.

But with no certain replacement for Uche, it would be good to have another edge rusher and if McGregor can play that role, the Wolverines should give him every opportunity.

Of course, a huge question about his ability to contribute next season is his health. McGregor suffered a knee injury late in his high school career and needed surgery.

That created doubt about whether he would be ready for the fall, yet in the same interview with Webb, McGregor offered up some positive news ($):

“(Rehab) is great. I think I’m a month ahead of schedule right now. But it’s going really well. I’ve been hitting rehab really hard. They’re telling me that I’ll be back for spring ball. When I got injured they were like, ‘let’s plan on hopefully you being ready for fall or summer camp.’ And now they’re telling me, ‘you’re going to be ready for spring ball. Maybe not contact, but you’ll be able to do drills and run with us.’

The idea that McGregor could be back for the spring is huge. He has enrolled early but it was sort of assumed that he wouldn’t be back until fall camp, which obviously put his availability, at least early in the season, in question.

But if he is able to get through some drills in the spring, even if it’s non-contact, there’s a chance he could be 100 percent or close to it by fall camp.  That could possibly give him a chance to get his feet under him enough to have a shot at making an early impact.

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Michigan football needs more pass rushers and while it’s more likely McGregor will make a bigger impact as a sophomore, don’t rule him out in terms of making the two-deep early in his career.

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