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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Michigan
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  Ronnie Bell looked forward to the day he could return to the practice field for Michigan. The former all-Big Ten honorable mention wideout missed most of the 2021 season, sidelined in the team's opener with a torn ACL suffered on a freak incident returning a punt. Now, nearly 11 months later, Bell said he's healthy and back practicing at full speed with the Wolverines. "I feel blessed. I feel beyond excited about every single day," Bell told reporters on Friday. "I feel really good. My body feels great making plays. It's a lot of fun."

Bell described the first couple of practices in camp as rusty, with the 6-foot, 190-pound receiver still trying to get his bearings around him. He had worked out for months by himself, running routes and catching balls with no one defending him. The last couple of weeks have allowed him to shake the anxiety. "I don't know what day it was, but I finally jumped up and made a play on the ball in one of the early days of camp," Bell said. "And it was like the biggest weight was lifted off my shoulder that I think I've ever had. "Since then, I feel like I've been back and rolling." Michigan really missed Bell's expertise and influence in the passing game last season. He was the Wolverines' oldest and most productive option at the position, evident by the first play he made last season (before the injury) - a 76-yard touchdown catch and run against Western Michigan. - Ann Arbor News


rSr/2023 WR Ronnie BellMichigan
News Source: Ann Arbor News
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  They're not seeing stars yet. But the way Jim Harbaugh sees it, that's just fine. In fact, Michigan's head coach seems to think his "no-star" defense will be a constellation worth watching this fall. Maybe even more so than the lights-out unit that helped lead the Wolverines to their first Big Ten title since 2004 last season. "When you lose players like (David) Ojabo and Aidan Hutchinson, Dax Hill, Josh Ross, that's gonna be the first question: How are you going to replace those guys?" Harbaugh said earlier this week on Michigan's "In the Trenches" podcast. "I really think that our defense could be better as a 'no-star' defense. I've been a part of many of those that were great defenses and it creates more competition. … Guys are more hungry." And so far, at least, his players seem to be eating up that idea, along with the opportunities that come with it. Nine days into fall camp, and barely three weeks from the season opener at Michigan Stadium, the Wolverines are rallying around the promise that a "more cohesive unit" will be their best defense in the face of understandable skepticism.

"When our guys buy into that, and they play really hard, they're not worried about who makes the play," said Jesse Minter, the new defensive coordinator replacing Mike Macdonald, who returned to the Baltimore Ravens after just one season in Ann Arbor. "When somebody makes a play, we all make a play. I've been very, very pleased with the mentality in that regard." That mentality certainly has been embraced by Mazi Smith, the 337-pound senior defensive tackle whose gravitational pull as a leader is just as impressive as his explosive athletic traits in the trenches. Earlier this week, fellow senior Mike Morris found himself repeatedly quoting Smith when he talked about some of these issues. And when asked why, he laughed, "Oh, I have to." "Because we've been separated in the past," Morris added, "and Mazi wants us to be one unit...There's no defense running through just a couple guys. It's 11 men on the field getting to the passer. It's 11 people working together to be the best defense it can be." - Detroit News


rJr/2024 DT Mazi SmithMichigan
News Source: Detroit News
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  Mike Morris isn't backing down from his comments in spring, when he publicly said he wanted to be Michigan's next standout defensive end. The Wolverines set out this offseason to try and find replacements for Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo, a pair of All-American defensive ends who set records and went drafted by NFL teams. Coaches have done their best to dampen the pressure, saying the production from those two will need to be spread out. And while that might be the case, don't tell that to Morris. He wants to be the new leader of the group and says he's ready to shoulder the spotlight.

"I feel like a lot of eyes are on me," said Morris, who recorded 16 tackles (one for a loss), a sack, pass breakup and had an interception in a reserve role. "Not only by the coaches, but by my teammates as well. That means a lot more to me because I have a lot of younger guys now in my position group that are looking at me like, 'What is Mike Mo doing?' "I want that light on me." To help illustrate his dedication, Morris returned to campus in May after practice and classes wrapped up to meet with team nutritionist and dietitian Abigail O'Connor. He wanted to add weight so he can play comfortably at all four levels of Michigan's defensive line. "I wanted to put on more weight in order to be that dominant," Morris said. "Because at 280 (pounds) last year, I felt like I was making an impact - but I wasn't really very physical in that middle. But now I feel like I'm a lot more physical, a lot more capable, of doing that kind of stuff." - Ann Arbor News


rJr/2024 DE Mike MorrisMichigan
News Source: Ann Arbor News
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  08/14/22 - Erick AllSr/2023, Michigan + More +

  This is the time of year for some blustery talk from college football coaches in the weeks leading to the start of the season. You know it when you hear it and chalk it up to coachspeak. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has been known to use a few superlatives here and there in describing players and coaches and sometimes has gone over the top talking up the prospects of a player who then never gets on the field. During Big Ten media days last month, Harbaugh spoke highly of tight ends Erick All and Luke Schoonmaker, and this felt like real talk based on their performances last season. All had 38 catches for 437 yards and two touchdowns, including the winning 47-yard score at Penn State despite running on a bum ankle.

Schoonmaker had 17 catches for 165 yards and three touchdowns. Schoonmaker (6-foot-6, 250 pounds) and All (6-5, 260) were All-Big Ten honorable mention selections for their play during the 2021 season. They are both on the preseason watch list for the Mackey Award, which is given to the nation's most outstanding tight end. Jake Butt won the Mackey in 2016 and is the only Michigan player to do so, but Harbaugh believes he has two tight ends capable of being the nation's best. "Erick All, in my opinion, his biggest competition for being the best tight end in the country will be Luke Schoonmaker. And I think Luke Schoonmaker's toughest competition to be the best tight end in America will be Erick All," Harbaugh said at media days. - Detroit News


Sr/2023 TE Erick AllMichigan
News Source: Detroit News
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  When Michigan football players arrive on campus as freshman, they get their picture taken to see where they stand physically entering their college career. They also get photographed after the season to see how much progress they have made. Fifth-year tight end Luke Schoonmaker, who strutted to the podium inside Schembechler Hall on Tuesday sporting an athletic black tank top, said he barely recognizes the photo he took as a freshman. "He does a great job with everybody," Schoonmaker said of director of strength and conditioning Ben Herbert. "I came in around I think 220-ish. I'm like 250 (pounds) now and I feel great with where I'm at. I feel fast and physical at the same time. "We do those before and after pictures, and everybody just looks like a monster after you go through what he puts us through." Not only has Schoonmaker added muscle in the weight room, but he's also polished his skills on the field.

The Connecticut native had a minimal role in Michigan's offense his first three seasons with tight ends such as Sean McKeon, Zach Gentry and Nick Eubanks perched ahead of him on the depth chart. But while that trio was in the public eye playing on Saturday's, Schoonmaker was working behind the scenes waiting for his opportunity. He and senior Erick All earned more responsibility last season and didn't disappoint. Both played more than 48% of offensive snaps and were vital blockers in Michigan's potent run game. - Ann Arbor News


rSr/2023 TE Luke SchoonmakerMichigan
News Source: Ann Arbor News
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  Michigan edge rusher Mike Morris feels like all eyes are on him entering this season, and that's exactly what he wants. As the Wolverines enter their first season without Aidan Hutchinson, who had a program single-season record with 14 sacks and was the No. 2 overall NFL Draft pick by Detroit and second-round draft pick David Ojabo who added 11 sacks, there's been a lot of talk about who will replace them. Players during the offseason have said it's not about being "another Aidan" or another "Jabo" as they refer to Ojabo. In the spring and since preseason camp began Aug. 3, it has been about finding new ways to get pressure on quarterbacks without trying to be someone else. After spring practice, Morris said he felt he had to be the next player to fill those shoes. "I want it to be me," Morris said at the time.

Now, a week into camp, Morris has doubled down on that approach. "I feel like who else will?" Morris said Tuesday night after practice. "I want that light on me. I never said I didn't want the light on me. I wanted to be in that light, and now I'm in that light."With that light comes expectations. Morris is more than aware of that. "I feel like a lot of eyes are on me," Morris said. "Not only by the coaches but by my teammates as well, which means a lot more to me because I have a lot of younger guys now in my position group that are looking at me like, 'What is Mike Mo doing? Let me see if I can apply what he's doing to my game and make it better.' That's the difference right now." Taking on greater expectations, wanting the spotlight and the pressure of filling in the gaps in the post-Hutchinson-Ojabo world, the 6-foot-6 Morris decided in May he needed to add weight without disrupting his speed. Last season he played at 278-280 pounds. He entered this camp weighing 292 pounds. - Detroit News


rJr/2024 DE Mike MorrisMichigan
News Source: Detroit News
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  Through Michigan's strength staff, Bruce Feldman found out that: Mazi Smith has benched 22 reps of 325 pounds (not the typical 225), close-grip benched 550 pounds, posts a 44-inch vertical jump, and broad-jumped 9 feet, 4 1/2 inches. And that's just his power and agility. As for speed, well, Smith has that, too. The Grand Rapids, Mich., native has clocked a shuttle time of 4.41 seconds, which Feldman notes would've tied any defensive tackle at the NFL Scouting Combine this year; a 3-cone drill time of 6.95 seconds, which would have been the fastest; and a 60-yard shuttle of 11.90 seconds.

Perhaps even more impressive, however, is Smith's performance in some of the drills Herbert and his staff ask the players to take part in. In one specific drill, players attempt to jump up a series of seven 26-inch high stairs as fast as they can. The program record is apparently 2.21 seconds, and Smith did it in 2.82 seconds. (For comparison, Aidan Hutchinson, who was No. 2 on Feldman's 'freaks' list last year and is 60 pounds lighter than Smith, did it in 2.57 seconds.) Smith even dominated Michigan's combo-twist machine aimed to measure resistance in the trenches, forcing the strength staff to call the manufacturer to have more weight added to the machine. "Mazi's rotational strength is ridiculous," Herbert told The Athletic, touting Smith as the strongest defensive lineman he's seen in his 25 years in football. "He is an incredible combination of rare traits packaged into one player. He is just ridiculously strong and powerful." - Ann Arbor News


rJr/2024 DT Mazi SmithMichigan
News Source: Ann Arbor News
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  One of the potential stars in the defensive secondary is Mike Sainristil, who has played receiver and special teams during his Michigan career. During spring practice, Harbaugh decided to give him a look on defense at nickel and cornerback. He also took offensive reps and is going to factor into special teams, giving him the potential to be a three-way player. In June, Harbaugh said he knows Sainristil is going to stick on defense this season because he stood out defensively in the spring. Several players during Big Ten media days said he's going to be a player to watch this season. Camp will go a long way toward establishing Sainristil as a significant factor in the defensive secondary. - Detroit News

rJr/2024 WR Mike SainristilMichigan
News Source: Detroit News
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  2022 PRESEASON CHUCK BEDNARIK AWARD WATCH LIST: Mazi Smith, Michigan, Senior DT,...Started all 14 games along the defensive line in 2021...made 37 tackles including 2.5 for loss, four pass breakups, and four quarterback hurries to earn his third varsity letter. - Michigan Football

rJr/2024 DT Mazi SmithMichigan
News Source: Michigan Football
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  2022 PRESEASON PAUL HORNUNG AWARD WATCH LIST: Blake Corum, Michigan,...Appeared in 12 games at running back and also returned kickoffs in 2021...carried 143 times for 952 yards with 11 touchdowns and added 24 receptions for 141 yards and one touchdown; also returned 12 kickoffs for 304 yards to earn his second varsity letter. - Michigan Football

Jr/2024 RB Blake CorumMichigan
News Source: Michigan Football
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  M Den unveils Michigan football trading cards in latest NIL effort...A 10-pack of cards is $16.95 and the majority of profits will go to a pool that will be equally distributed among all of the players, according to Valiant Management founder Jared Wangler. The cards, revealed Friday, currently are on pre-order through the M Den website with expected delivery in late August from the M Den. Last year, Valiant and the M Den worked together to unveil official Michigan jerseys with player names and numbers with a significant portion of jerseys-sale profits going to those players. The trading cards feature members from the 2022 football roster. There will be limited-edition autographed cards in some of the packs. In an interesting twist, Wangler said that eventually they'd like to add former Michigan players into the set. - Detroit News

rJr/2024 WR Cornelius JohnsonMichigan
News Source: Detroit News
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  2022 PRESEASON WALTER CAMP PLAYER OF YEAR PLAYER TO WATCH: Blake Corum, RB, junior, Michigan,...All-Big Ten selection (third team, coaches, honorable mention, media; 2021)...Appeared in 12 games at running back and also returned kickoffs; carried 143 times for 952 yards with 11 touchdowns and added 24 receptions for 141 yards and one touchdown; also returned 12 kickoffs for 304 yards to earn his second varsity letter...Paul Hornung Award semifinalist...Three times, shared Offensive Player of the Week honors after his performances against Western Michigan, Washington, at Nebraska. - Michigan Football

Jr/2024 RB Blake CorumMichigan
News Source: Michigan Football
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  2022 PRESEASON OUTLAND TROPHY WATCHLIST: C Olusegun Oluwatimi, Michigan,...Earned three varsity letters at Virginia (2019-20-21), making 32 straight starts at center...Started all 12 games at center, playing the most snaps of any ACC center (910)...One of three Rimington Trophy finalists, the first in UVA's history...A second-team All-American by the FWAA, the second in school history at his position. - Michigan Football

rSr/2023 C Olusegun OluwatimiMichigan
News Source: Michigan Football
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  08/02/22 - Zak ZinterJr/2024, Michigan + More +

  2022 PRESEASON OUTLAND TROPHY WATCHLIST: G Zak Zinter, Michigan,...All-Big Ten selection (second team, media, honorable mention, coaches; 2021)...Appeared in 13 games with 12 starts at right guard to earn his second varsity letter...Part of the unit that was honored with the Joe Moore Award, given to the top offensive line in the nation. - Michigan Football

Jr/2024 OG Zak ZinterMichigan
News Source: Michigan Football
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  2022 PRESEASON RAY GUY WATCHLIST: Brad Robbins - Michigan,...Robbins (6-1, 203) Attended Westerville South High School (Ohio) where his punts averaged 41 yards with an average hang time of 4.36 seconds. At Kohl's Kicking 2017 Senior Showcase, Robbins averaged over 5.0 seconds on his charts with several 5.2-plus second punts. He also scored a touchdown on a 90-yard run off a punt against Olentangy Orange. As a graduate student and second season senior last season he handled the team's punting and place holding duties in all 14 games, totaling 45 punts for 2,085 yards (46.3 average), the No. 2 single-season average in program history, with 21 forced fair catches, 17 punts inside the 20 and 12 at 50 yards or longer. He was a Ray Guy semifinalist. - Michigan Football

rSr/2023 P Brad RobbinsMichigan
News Source: Michigan Football
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