Michigan Football: 3 Potential Breakout Players on Defense

Syndication: Detroit Free Press
Syndication: Detroit Free Press /
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The Michigan football defense has plenty of rising stars.

Earlier this week, I talked about three potential breakout players for Michigan football on offense, and why they’re a good bet to break out. Today, I’ll be doing the same with the defense, which may have more rising stars than the offense.

Michigan football is in a great spot on the defensive side of the ball. It returns the majority of the secondary and linebacker corps, has plenty of depth on the defensive line, and made some huge additions through the transfer portal.

The Wolverines don’t necessarily need players to break out, but a couple of breakout players could make this the #1 defense in the nation.

There are plenty of candidates to have breakout seasons on the defense, but in this article, I’ll be talking about the three I think are most likely. Without further ado, let’s get right into it.

EDGE Braiden McGregor

Miichigan football
Nov 20, 2021; College Park, Maryland, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive end Braiden McGregor (17) during the second half H| at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

Braiden McGregor is a player I’m extremely excited about. I mean, he’s been compared to Aidan Hutchinson ever since he arrived on campus. At 6’6, 260 lbs, he has a nearly identical build as Hutchinson and is extremely hardworking by all indications.

McGregor was one of Michigan’s highest-rated recruits in the 2020 class but was plagued by injuries up until last season. By the end of the season, it was hard not to take note of McGregor’s immense potential.

He really seemed to be hitting his stride late in the season. He was consistently getting pressure on CJ Stroud and nearly had a pick-six as well. He showed that he can not only get to the quarterback but also has the intelligence to make a smarter play, such as taking a step back to bat down a ball.

With a full year of being healthy under his belt, I expect McGregor to take a leap this season. While I doubt he’ll be an Aidan Hutchinson-level player, he can be a very important piece for a Michigan football EDGE group that needs an alpha.