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Top Michigan Prospects to Watch in 2022

An in-depth look at the best prospects on the Wolverines' roster heading into the 2022 season

The Wolverines had a fantastic season, beating Ohio State en route to their first college football playoff appearance. With a historic season, it meant the Wolverines would lose a lot of players to the NFL, including three top 50 selections this past April. On the bright side for Wolverine fans, Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and his staff have done an excellent job of recruiting. Michigan should compete for a Big Ten title again and they have the talent to have even more players drafted next year. Here are the top prospects to keep an eye on this fall for the Wolverines (Alphabetical):

Erick All TE:

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There is an argument to be made that All is the top senior tight end in the nation. He runs in the 4.5s, is extremely quick for a tight end and is a solid blocker. All is effective after the catch and can play all over the field. The Wolverines deployed him as a big slot, in-line and as an H-Back. He was effective everywhere and played at such a high-level dealing with an ankle injury last season. All is the perfect modern tight end who will be a starter early on in his NFL career.

Ronnie Bell WR: 

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It feels like Bell is a forgotten man in next year’s class after an injury in week one sidelined him for the entire season. Bell is a gamer who doesn’t have any standout traits but always plays well. If Bell comes back healthy and returns to be Michigan’s top wideout, he’ll get drafted next April.

Blake Corum RB: 

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In terms of his next-level projection, Corum will outplay where he is drafted. He is undersized and won’t be a traditional back but there is a role for Corum on every team. On film, Corum is quick and a big play waiting to happen. Donovan Edwards sharing the backfield with him next year will prevent Corum from really breaking out but he is going to be a solid NFL player with limited tread on his tires.

Ryan Hayes OT: 

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The size is there for Hayes to stick at left tackle. He is also a former tight end and that athleticism translates on the field. Hayes is one of the most intriguing tackle prospects for next year’s draft. Hayes is still inexperienced, as last year was his first season as a starter and he needs to get much stronger. If he does that, Hayes will skyrocket up draft boards. It is hard to find high-level athletes at his size. Right now, he is a developmental tackle prospect and this will be a make-or-break year for Hayes.

Mike Morris DE:

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If there is a player who could vault himself into the top ten in next year’s class, it is Morris. He has phenomenal size at six-foot-six, 280 pounds and is an incredible athlete. Michigan has him drop into coverage and he looks like a linebacker; he is just a rare player. Morris has pop in his hands and can win with power but he also has very good bend. The versatility is there for Morris to be a Cam Jordan at defensive end, play 3-4 defensive end or kick inside as a 3-tech. If it weren’t for star pass rushers Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo, Morris would be talked about as a first-round pick. He is a breakout candidate with special upside.

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Mazi Smith DT: 

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Flashes of excellence are littered throughout Smith’s film. He has a very quick first step and moves really well for his size. Smith uses violent hands and a high football IQ to consistently win his matchups. Smith also had very good play strength and he was able to stack shed interior offensive linemen with ease. If he increases his sack total, Smith will be one of the higher-rated defensive tackle prospects in the 2023 class.

DJ Turner CB: 

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The Wolverines' top cornerback, Turner was really impressive last season. He progressed as the season went on and was a shutdown cornerback, facing some of the top receivers in the Big Ten. If he improves on what he did last season, he'll solidify himself as a day two pick.

Taylor Upshaw DE: 

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It is a good senior defensive class but Upshaw has the chance to be a big-time riser. He is versatile, has power and can get after the quarterback in a multitude of ways. When on the field, Upshaw looked like an NFL player and his tape is somewhat reminiscent of Josh Paschal’s, who just went in the second round. Upshaw could go even higher than that, as he has better size.

Zak Zinter OG: 

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There isn’t a clear-cut top guard in next year’s draft but with another good season, Zinter could easily be OG1. He was the youngest starter on the Joe Moore Award winning Michigan offensive line and he was their best player. Zinter is just extremely consistent. No matter the opponent, he was never overwhelmed and never gave up pressures. Zinter will check every box teams are looking for in a guard and he should test very well. There isn’t a weakness in Zinter’s game, making him such an enticing prospect for next year’s draft.

Other Players to Keep an Eye On:

  1. Kris Jenkins DT: He hasn’t played a ton but flashed really good potential in the spring game.
  2. Roman Wilson WR: Speed, speed, speed, is the best way to describe Wilson right now. With a bigger role next season, teams could fall in love with his ability to take the top off the defense.
  3. Olu Oluwatimi C: Experience and NFL size are the two things evaluators will really like with Oluwatimi. Better consistency in pass protection will help him improve his stock.
  4. Luke Schoonmaker TE: The athleticism, play strength and high-level blocking will get Shoonmaker drafted. A good pre-draft process could make Schoonmaker a solid day three draft pick.
  5. Mike Sainristil CB: Right now Sainristil is a projection moving to the defensive side of the ball from wide receiver but he has the speed and fluidity to be a really good cornerback in the slot or the outside.
  6. Cornelius Johnson WR: The size and upside is there with Johnson, he just hasn’t put it all together yet. The traits are still there for him to break out this season.
  7. Jaylen Harrell DE: Harrell is probably two years away but he has great get-off and bend. He is a similar prospect to Josh Uche and Harrell could definitely be a solid contributor for the Wolverines next season.
  8. RJ Moten DS: In a weak draft class for safeties, Moten could be a candidate to declare early. He has NFL size and traits, Moten just needs more experience, which he should get with the departures of Daxton Hill and Brad Hawkins.

Down the Line Prospect to Watch:

  1. Junior Colson LB: The tape Colson put together as a true freshman was phenomenal. He has the makings to be a first round pick and potentially the best linebacker in the 2024 draft. Colson is already an All-American candidate.
  2. Andrel Anthony WR: If there was any indication Anthony would be a future star, it was his 93 receiving yards and two touchdown game against Michigan State on the road. He doesn’t have a starting spot for next season but he should be circled as one of the top prospects to watch for when he is a junior. His speed, body control and playmaking ability were extremely impressive for a freshman. 

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