Michigan football edge defender declares for draft

Another Wolverine is off to the NFL.

This time, the pledge comes from edge defender Jaylen Harrell. Harrell enrolled at Michigan as part of the 2020 recruiting class and was a top 300 player on the 247Sports composite. He chose to sign with the Wolverines over offers from Alabama, Florida State, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State and others.

Michigan fans likely first took note of Harrell during the 2021 matchup with Ohio State when he delivered a crushing blow on Ohio State running back TreVeyon Henderson in the Buckeye backfield. He made a name as a consistent run defender and technically sound pass rusher during his career in Ann Arbor.

Harrell has been a productive member of the Wolverines defense for the majority of his time with the program. In 2023, he registered 31 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, and led the team with 6.5 sacks. He has 78 total tackles, 19 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in four seasons with Michigan.

Wolverine fans may remember the emotional moment following the national title game when Harrell found a crying Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. in the tunnel and wished him well. Both Penix and Harrell hail from the Tampa area, so it was fitting to see Harrell find him after the game.

The national championship game will not be the last time Harrell wears a winged helmet, however. He has accepted an invite to the 2024 Reese’s Senior Bowl and will compete alongside some of the top talent in college football in an attempt to improve his draft stock.

Michigan is now waiting on a decision from Josiah Stewart to determine the depth of the position in 2024. Harrell and Stewart rotated in the same role for much of the 2023 season with success, and losing both would be devastating for the defensive line rotation. The projection is that Stewart stays, but there is always a chance he decides to cash in his chips and make a run at the NFL. The most likely replacement currently on the roster is T.J. Guy, who has not yet seen consistent playing time in his career.

Keep on the lookout for transfer portal offers in the coming days.

Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire