Who could be next? Eight hypothetical position switches for current Michigan football players

This spring, the buzz in Ann Arbor has been about Amorion Walker being a two-way player. He is getting the nod as the starting cornerback opposite Will Johnson. Last season, the buzz was similar for Mike Sainristil, who switched from wide receiver to play nickel, and it had fantastic results.

Earlier, we chronicled all of the players who have made position switches under Jim Harbaugh since he arrived in 2015, and we’re taking it upon ourselves to expand the board. Either as full-time position switches, part-time or just players we’re curious to see how they’d look at other positions, here is a list of who we think could be good candidates to play elsewhere on the team.

Alex Orji

Photo: Isaiah Hole

Current position: Quarterback
Proposed position: Running back/linebacker

Orji is currently at quarterback, but if he doesn’t get traction with the others in front of him, there are a couple places he could go. Considering he’s a dual-threat, it would make sense for him to be either a running back or even a fullback. Considering he’s listed at 6-foot-3, 235-pounds, Orji also has the requisite size to play linebacker, should Michigan feel so inclined.

Junior Colson

Photo by: Isaiah Hole

Current position: Linebacker
Proposed position: Running back

Let’s get one thing straight here: any movement for Colson wouldn’t negate him as a linebacker. He’s the Wolverines’ best at the position. But the former high school running back strongly advocated to get some time on offense before he arrived in Ann Arbor, and it’s something he brought up as recently as bowl prep after watching his teammate Kalel Mullings play tailback. Could Colson also be a two-way player? Certainly, it’s something he’ll advocate for, but it’s doubtful that Michigan will pull the trigger here.

Michael Barrett

Photo: Isaiah Hole

Current position: Linebacker
Proposed position: Quarterback

This is another one where he’s best left at his current position, especially because there’s no chance he’ll supplant J.J. McCarthy. But, could Michigan put in a package where he throws the ball?

Certainly Barrett has the skill, as a former quarterback at the high school level. He even made a throw on special teams to returner A.J. Henning at Maryland in 2021 that resulted in a touchdown on a kickoff. Michigan certainly could get deeper in its bag of tricks and have Barrett throw the ball in a different situation.

Likewise, we’ve seen his running ability on his two interception returns at Rutgers last year. He could also play either a dual-threat role or even get in on a running play if the coaches were so inclined.

Will Johnson

Photo: Isaiah Hole

Current position: Cornerback
Proposed position: Wide receiver

There’s an adage that says all cornerbacks are wide receivers who can’t catch, but given what we’ve seen from Johnson in the latter half of the 2022 season, it appears that hasn’t afflicted him. This move, again, wouldn’t be one we’re advocating as a full-time move, but the sophomore who wears Charles Woodson’s No. 2 jersey does have the capability and athleticism where he could play a factor on offense if Michigan was so inclined.

Zak Zinter

Photo: Isaiah Hole

Current position: Right guard
Proposed position: Defensive tackle

This one is easily our biggest stretch because there’s zero chance of this ever happening, but Zinter is a bruiser and abuser up front. It would be interesting to see what he could do on the other side of the ball if he was put in that position. At 6-foot-6, 315-pounds, he could probably rip through offensive linemen the same way he does defensive linemen. However, this one will remain on our fantasy list.

Donovan Edwards

Photo: Isaiah Hole

Current position: Running back
Proposed position: Wide receiver

This one is the most feasible, especially if another running back, such as CJ Stokes or Tavierre Dunlap, takes a big step forward this offseason. It’s already been surmised that Edwards might be Michigan’s best receiver given how good his hands are. We just haven’t seen it much since he was nursing a broken hand through the latter half of the season. Regardless, he will not make a full-time switch because he’s too valuable at tailback to fully move. But will we see him split out wide more in 2023? Absolutely, as he was already there in 2022.

A.J. Henning

Photo: Isaiah Hole

Current position: Wide receiver
Proposed position: Cornerback

An athlete in space who used to be utilized heavily on jet-sweep action, we didn’t see much of Henning on offense in 2022. But given how versatile he is, it would be curious to see him on the defensive side of the ball, making a similar-type of switch as what Mike Sainristil did a year ago. We’re not counting on it, but it would be interesting to see what the results would be.

Trente Jones

Photo: Isaiah Hole

Current position: Right tackle
Proposed position: Tight end

This one is something of a redux of what we saw with Joel Honigford, who had a similar role in 2020 to what Jones had in 2021. Jones got the nod as the starting right tackle to begin 2022, but after his injury, he lost his starting job to Karsen Barnhart. Given how talented the depth is across the offensive line, could Jones slim down like Honigford and become a permanent tight end? Never say never, and though we’re not counting on it, there’s certainly precedent here.

Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire