DJ Turner says Mike Sainristil ‘will make noise this year’ on the defensive side of the ball

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — On November 4th, 2018 a three-star recruit would commit to Michigan and he was listed as a cornerback by 247Sports. Mike Sainristil, from Everett (Massachusets), was ranked as the 595th player in the country and the 59th corner by 247Sports composite.

Since signing with Michigan, Sainristil — who played both ways in high school — has played receiver with the Wolverines. In his three seasons playing at wide-out, the 5-foot-10 speedster has compiled 36 career catches, 532 yards, and five touchdowns.

The maize and blue return just about every major skill player at the position in 2022, so the Wolverines have been doing some tinkering with the former corner. Jim Harbaugh said back in March that Sainristil was playing corner and nickel. But Harbaugh said back then that he could play one, two, or three ways. Harbaugh elaborated back in March that it was due to the skill set that Sainristil has.

“He is right now, yeah,” Harbaugh said. “Mike has been playing corner and nickel corner for the start of the spring ball. Project him as a two-way player, maybe a three-way player. His skill set. He’s got the skill set for it. He’s got the skill set for receiver. He’s got the skill set for corner, for nickel corner. Skill set reminds me a lot of Jimmy Ward and what he had in college. Yeah, skill set.”

In April, when the Wolverines took the field for the spring game, we could see what Harbaugh was talking about. Sainrsitl looked natural at the position and had great closing speed.

During Big Ten media days on Tuesday, fellow corner DJ Turner was asked about a surprise player this upcoming season. He didn’t hesitate at all when he said Sainristil.

“I said Mike Sainristil moving on the defense,” said Turner on Tuesday. “He will make noise this year. I’m confident on that. So I said Mike.”

Did it shock Turner how quickly Sainrsitl picked up the position? Not at all. Turner noted that he played the position back in high school and the hardest part about learning corner — or re-learning in this case — was the playbook. But Turner says that Sainristil has that down now, so it’s just a matter of getting comfortable.

“I mean, he played DB in high school,” said Turner during Big Ten media days. “And I mean, he always jokes around with me that he’s a DB but I mean, it didn’t surprise me at all. He got in there. He just got comfortable. I mean, the hardest part for him was just getting the playbook. I mean, he got it now. So now just getting comfortable with and going into the season. It didn’t surprise anybody though. No, that’s why we did. It was like now you can do it.”

Quarterback Cade McNamara had similar sentiments. McNamara talked about the possibilities of Sainristil playing both ways and noted how smart of a player he is. McNamara says that the athlete knows a lot about every position and his role on the team is going to be really big this year.

“Yeah, Mike, he’s a really smart player, he is,” said McNamara. “He knows coverage, he knows how to affect man coverage. He knows. He knows a lot about just about every position. And I think because of that, he’s able to balance it so well. And I think his role on the team this year is gonna be big. And I’m just excited to see him shine through.”

It will be interesting to see how Michigan decides to utilize the skill set of Sainristil this year. Really, the possibilities are endless for Jim Harbaugh and his staff. It would seem that Sainrsitl is going to have a major impact on the defensive side of the ball, but he also has the potential to be a major contributor on the offensive side of the ball.

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Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire