Michigan football continues to prepare for the start of the 2023 season and here is more fall camp buzz about the Wolverines after Thursday’s practice.
Earlier this week, Michigan football put on the pads as the Wolverines take their next step in their preparation for the 2023 season.
Michigan football is incredibly careful about allowing media to attend practices, so there isn’t much information other than videos, some reports, and interviews with the media. There has been some information about fall camp though and it’s been positive.
On Thursday, Michigan football offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore and defensive coordinator Jesse Minter met with reporters, and here as some things we learned.
LaDarius Henderson is making an impression
"“I’m very excited about LaDarius and the progress he’s made just in the seven practices that we’ve had with him. It’s something that you’re going to have your ups and downs. It’s something that you’re going to have to keep working at. But he’s definitely made a great transition to us, just being here in the summer, and now just excited to have him and excited for where he’s at right now.”"
Henderson is competing with guys like Karsen Barnhart, Myles Hinton, Jeff Persi, and Trente Jones right now. Barnhart was the starting right tackle last season and it’s been presumed that he would start on the right side, with Henderson on the left.
Moore also echoed what Jim Harbaugh said at Big Ten Media Days about Michigan football having 10 starters for five spots. Moore went further, saying Michigan has “11 or 12.” He also said the Wolverines have four starting tackles via The Wolverine:
"“We’ve got four starting tackles, and we’ll see who the first two are in the first couple games, the first game, and we’ll see there. But very excited about where they’re all at and the steps they’re taking to be dominant players.”"
Kris Jenkins is ‘obsessed’. with being an elite pass rusher
Kris Jenkins is one of the Michigan football players talked about as a potential first-round pick in the 2024 NFL draft. He could have entered the draft after last season and would have easily been a day-two pick, at worst.
Jenkins has bulked up to over 300 pounds. He’s also “obsessed” with becoming an elite pass rusher according to what Jesse Minter said on Thursday:
"“He came back with a mission of, ‘these are the things I want to get better at.’ No. 1 was to really, really, hold up, I need to get my weight up to a certain amount. No. 2, to really, really be a guy they really want high up in the draft. Not at a 325 [pounds] maybe like Mazi Smith, but at a 300, 305. You need to also be an elite pass rusher. I heard him say the obsession our guys have with it, but that is real. Kris has been obsessed with being better as a pass rusher since the day he stepped back on here on campus, and it’s showing up.”"
Jenkins was a beast last season and if he becomes an elite pass rusher, he could be as good a defender as just about anyone in the Big Ten conference.
Minter also praised Jaylen Harrell and others in the front seven, but it’s clear that Michigan football’s pass rush is going to be lights out in 2023.
Josh Wallace is a ‘pro’
Minter also talked about Josh Wallace, the transfer portal cornerback added from UMass. While Amorion Walker is said to be having a strong camp, here’s what Minter said about Wallace:
"“He’s a pro, No. 1. He’s a pro. You can tell he’s played a lot of football. He’s played against really good competition. Everyone was like, ‘oh, coming from UMass … but they’re an independent team, so every year playing 2, 3, 4 way up there, money type games for them. So, he’s played against good competition. He’s added a great value to that competition so far.”"
It seems like Wallace will have a good shot to start game one for Michigan football, but Walker is going to play a lot and it sounds like the competition is bringing out the best in both cornerbacks.
Will Johnson is one of the best cornerbacks in college football and I believe he would have been a first-round pick last April if he was eligible. But Michigan football needs another solid starter opposite of him (and alongside Mike Sainrsitil in the slot) and Minter’s words seem to indicate that the Wolverines have at least one.